Race Weekend Central

Power Rankings: Hotlanta Edition

One thing we can say about last Sunday’s (June 7) race at Atlanta Motor Speedway is that it will be most remembered for what happened during pre-race. But it would have been impossible to create a race more memorable than the words and imagery we saw from NASCAR over the weekend.

While I have always been one of those people that wants sports separated from politics, this was the right messaging for NASCAR to show to the world. Like with everything in our troubled nation right now, we have become so divided: there will be some people who will pick apart one thing or another they didn’t like instead of all coming together united in a righteous cause. Maybe once we all get on the same page of justice for all, we can finally live up to that motto and have a more perfect Union. 

With that said, let’s look at this week’s Power Rankings.

  1. Kevin Harvick – Is there anyone in the NASCAR fan base who isn’t just in the tank for their favorite driver who doesn’t think Harvick is the fastest guy right now? Most laps led, tied for the most wins, best average finish by over four positions, the No. 4 team is hitting on all eight cylinders. 
  2. Kyle Busch – The cream appears to be rising to the top of the NASCAR charts earlier this season than most. While Harvick is the undisputed top do,g there is no doubt Rowdy is close behind. 
  3. Chase Elliott – Since the sport returned from its shutdown caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, the son of Million Dollar Bill has been in the hunt for the win every week. How he has managed to only win one race this season is the mystery. 
  4. Brad Keselowski – After the top three, which appeared to be solidly locked into their spots on the Power Rankings, once you get to Bad Brad the debate begins. Other than Harvick, nobody else has more top-10 finishes (Keselowski has seven, tied with Kurt Busch).  
  5. Denny Hamlin – It’s very easy to make a case for Hamlin in fourth place after another strong outing. If NASCAR added in the fake racing he would be even higher in the ratings. 
  6. Joey Logano – It was yet another solid but not spectacular race for Sliced Bread. Logano had two wins in the first four races of the season, but has only been able to finish as high as sixth place (twice) since NASCAR returned. 
  7. Alex Bowman – Every time I think there is an argument for dropping Bowman the Showman in the rankings, he shows that he definitely deserves a spot entrenched in the top 10. His 12th-place finish kept him from falling for another week. 
  8. Martin Truex Jr. – While Bowman’s stock might be falling, it appears the No. 19 team is figuring things out rather quickly. Not having practice time has to hurt a team with a first-time crew chief more than most, but they are showing they are quick learners. 
  9. Jimmie Johnson – Admittedly, I am a big statistical geek. When the rankings are put together every week in my charts, I show a variance of the high and low I can justify for rating a driver. Seven-time has a very low floor right now but a strong effort at Atlanta keeps him in the top 10 for now. 
  10. Ryan Blaney – There is no doubt that the team and driver love these intermediate-style tracks in 2020. His average finish on mile-and-a-half tracks is just over fifth place, while on other non-superspeedway tracks, his average is worse than the Dillon boys combined. 
  11. Kurt Busch – The one driver that has been soaring upwards consistently since the return from the pandemic timeout is the other Busch brother. He would be fine without ever having practice and qualifying again! 
  12. Clint Bowyer – Bowyer’s favorite old television show has to be Hee Haw. Pain, despair and agony on me … if it weren’t for bad luck, Bowyer would have no luck at all. How did they mess up his setup, causing tires to wear badly when his identical-looking Busch car had such a higher yield? (That’s a corny joke folks.)
  13. Matt Kenseth – This is a guy who came back wanting to race! After starting off with a top 10 finish, the luck has not been forever in his favor since. But he has still fought and clawed to get higher finishes than he had any right to achieve. 
  14. William Byron – Did you know young Will got his start in iRacing? I know that joke is getting old, but I am not sure the announcers can say his name without reminding us of that fact each and every race. 
  15. Tyler Reddick – The lack of qualifying has not been kind to Reddick, but once again at Atlanta, he managed to race his way to the top 10. Even though he faded a bit back into the middle-teens for his finish, it was another good day for the rookie. 
  16. Aric Almirola – What has he done to justify his position in the power rankings? It isn’t so much a compliment for Almirola’s performances which have lacked luster at times, but more of an indictment for others who have been super inconsistent. 

Do you have any complaints about the Power Rankings? Do you think another driver is more worthy of making the cut? Include your ranking in the comments section and your comment might make the article next week.

About the author

Dennis a.k.a. DMIC has been covering NASCAR racing since 1998. After spending 23 years as a professional weather forecaster, Dennis still didn't know what he wanted to be when he grew up, so he started covering auto racing full time. He is the moderator of the Race Track Business Conference - an all-day educational seminar covering the business of speed - and is the owner of DMIC Media & Marketing where he spends his time mouthing off about all kinds of sports. He is also the play-by-play voice for the professional Ultimate Disc team the Chicago Wildfire of the American Ultimate Disc League. Dennis can be heard every Saturday on The Final Inspection on 105.7FM The Fan in Milwaukee, Wis. talking NASCAR, and you can listen on the Radio.com app.

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