Following each race, I will rank the top-20 drivers based off of their finish over the weekend, their previous ranking and the momentum they’re carrying into the next race. Below the driver’s name, you can see a ↑ or ↓ that indicates whether they’ve climbed the rankings, fallen down the rankings, or ↔ indicating their ranking did not change. If a driver is new to the top-20 ranking, a “↑NPR” (not previously ranked) will be shown next to the “Change:” indicator.
1. Kevin Harvick
Harvick did it yet again at Charlotte in the All-Star Race as he won his sixth event of the season and took him the million dollars. He took home three different checkered flags throughout the evening, the stage one and three green and white checkered flag and the race ending checkered flag. With five points-race victories and one All-Star Race win, he’s by far the hottest driver in the sport. He has a significant chance to win his third race in a row for the second time this season in the sport’s longest race on Sunday night.
2. Joey Logano
Logano battled for a third-place finish in the All-Star Race. He started the race 10th and was arguably the reason that Harvick was able to grab the win. On the restart to begin the 10-lap final stage, he gave Harvick a HUGE push to get him clear of Daniel Suarez on his inside. Logano also intentionally spun Kyle Larson late in the race after Larson squeezed him into the wall just seconds before. Logano has one career victory at Charlotte that came back in 2015.
3. Kyle Busch
Busch was the only other driver to grab a checkered flag of any sort outside of Harvick on Saturday night. He was able to lead the final 19 laps of stage two to win the stage. Rowdy managed to finish ninth despite being in the center of an eight-car pileup late in the race. Although he won last year’s All-Star Race at Charlotte, he’s never won a points-race at the track. Watch for Rowdy to fight for his first Charlotte win on Sunday night.
4. Martin Truex Jr.
Truex Jr. looked to have a strong car throughout the night as he led 17 laps during the race. Unfortunately for him, he was a victim in the eight-car wreck that took him and several other contenders out of the race with few laps remaining. The defending series champ has two career wins at Charlotte and should battle for a third in the 600 this weekend.
5. Denny Hamlin
Hamlin had a quiet All-Star Race but came home with a solid fourth-place finish. He started the race back in the 14th position but was able to steadily make his way to the front. The driver of the No. 11 has no wins at the track but does have eight top-5s, including two second-place finishes.
6. Kyle Larson
Larson had an eventful night at the All-Star Race but came home with a seventh-place finish. Late in the race he edged Joey Logano into the wall and was promptly dumped right after and sent spinning through the infield grass. Miraculously, he escaped the long spin without a scratch and was able to recover for a top-10. He hasn’t finished better than fifth at Charlotte in his nine starts.
7. Clint Bowyer
Bowyer got caught up in the big wreck and was unable to continue on to finish the few laps remaining. He never really competed near the front and ended up finishing the race 19th out of the 21 drivers in the event. Over his 24 starts in points-races at Charlotte, Bowyer has one career win that came back in October of 2012. His best finish in the 600 was seventh back in 2010 while driving the 33 car for Richard Childress Racing (RCR).
8. Ryan Blaney
YBR had a relatively quiet All-Star Race and had a relatively unimpressive finish of 15th. Blaney didn’t lead any laps and never really even made his way towards the front throughout the evening. He finished behind cars such as Kyle Busch, AJ Allmendinger, and Kasey Kahne who all had a decent amount of damage to their rides. Across his six points-race starts at Charlotte, Blaney has only earned one top-10. The good news is that his only top-10 came the last time NASCAR raced their for points, so hopefully he’s found something heading into the weekend.
9. Kurt Busch
Kurt Busch’s All-Star weekend surely didn’t go as he wanted. On just the second lap of the race his car got loose and he spun into the outside wall. While he sustained damage to the rear end, he was able to continue the race and earn his way back onto the lead-lap. But he wasn’t able to keep the car clean for the rest of the night as he got caught up in the eight-car wreck and was done for the evening. Busch has one win at Charlotte that came back in 2010 when he drove the No. 2 car.
10. Brad Keselowski
Keselowski was another car caught up in the big wreck that collected several big names. His race ended there with a 20th place finish, topping only Alex Bowman who had wrecked out just six laps before. Kes’ has three top-5s, including one win back in 2013, across his 17 starts at Charlotte. His best finish in the Coca-Cola 600 is fifth, which he’s done twice.
11. Chase Elliott
Chase Elliott came oh so close to winning an Open stage to get into the All-Star Race, but for the third consecutive year he won the fan vote to get into it. He finished third in the All-Star Open as he couldn’t figure a way around AJ Allmendinger or Erik Jones. In the All-Star Race he didn’t make much noise til the very end. He kept his head down for most of the race but was in the thick of it towards the end and earned a top-5 finish. In five career starts at the track, he has two top-10s, including a runner-up finish that came in the playoff race last fall.
12. Aric Almirola
Almirola started the All-Star Open race on pole but wasn’t able to finish P1 in any of the four stages of the race. At the end of the Open he finish in the sixth position, not qualifying for the All-Star Race that followed it later that night. Over his 11 starts at the mile and a half track, he has just one top-10, a 10th place finish back in October 2015.
13. Jimmie Johnson
Johnson, although a four-time All-Star Race winner, never held down the top spot at any point throughout the All-Star Race. He avoided the late wrecks and cautions and was nearly able to sneak his way to a top-5 finish, but had to settle for a sixth place. He didn’t look very fast throughout the night but showed life on a late restart that got him closer to the front. The good news for Johnson heading into the 600 is that he’s won at Charlotte eight times, best in the sport. Plus, he’s specifically won the 600 itself four times.
14. Daniel Suarez
Daniel Suarez was the biggest surprise of the All-Star weekend. He won the second stage of the All-Star Open to get into the big race later on. The real All-Star Race is where he shined. He started 19th but finished second only to Kevin Harvick. Although he didn’t lead any laps, he threatened to pass Harvick for the lead several times in the dying laps. For him, he’s hoping to carry this momentum into the 600 this weekend. He has an average finish of 8.50 at Charlotte over his two career starts.
15. Erik Jones
Jones gave it his best run on Saturday night in the Open to make the All-Star Race, but he fell just short. He finished second to Allmendinger in the final stage to end the race. He had great run on the outside with two laps to go but his run was halted as Allmendinger threw a hard block on him and the two made contact. Jones finished seventh in his first every Coca-Cola 600 one year ago.
16. Alex Bowman
Bowman was shot out of a cannon to start the All-Star Open race. He drove away from the pack and was able to hang for the opening stage win as the field tracked him down in the dying laps. In the All-Star Race he didn’t fare quite as well. After making hard contact with the wall he took his car to the garage on lap 68 of 93. In five career starts in points-races at Charlotte, Bowman has an average finish of 32.00. Look for him to improve on that number on Sunday night.
17. Ricky Stenhouse Jr.
Stenhouse Jr. was unimpressive on Saturday night throughout the All-Star Race. He was able to navigate some wrecks and cautions to finish 11th, but he didn’t run much better than that all evening. He was also part of the cause of the big eight-car wreck as he slide up into Martin Truex Jr. and sent him spinning. Stenhouse Jr. has no top-10s over his 12 starts at Charlotte.
18. William Byron
The rookie was unable to get past the All-Star Open and did not race in big event. He did finish seventh at the end of the Open, but Bowman and Suarez had also already won the first two stages and didn’t need to complete the race. In his two starts at Charlotte in the Xfinity Series last season he finished 14th and 16th.
19. Austin Dillon
Austin Dillon didn’t make much noise during the All-Star Race. He just barely avoided getting caught up in the big wreck at the end of the third stage. At the end of the night he finished 12, behind other cars who had taken on damage throughout the race. Dillon earned his first career win at the Coca-Cola 600 in this race one year ago on fuel mileage. Don’t expect him to battle for a win this year unless he pulls off another risky fuel strategy.
20. AJ Allmendinger
The Dinger jumps back into the top-20 after being absent from it for a few weeks. He had a solid evening last Saturday as he won the final stage of the Open to get himself into the main event. He was able to race his way to an eighth place finish in the All-Star Race even with a bit of damage on the right side of his car from hitting the wall. Allmendinger will be hoping that his All-Star Race success will carry over to the 600 on Sunday night. He hasn’t finished in the top-10 since 2011 when he finished seventh. His best 600 finish was a fifth place that was also in 2011.
Falling out of the rankings: — Paul Menard (previously 20th)
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