Team Penske flexed their muscle at Richmond and continue to dominate on a weekly basis. Their numbers through the first nine races boost their two drivers to the top of our rankings.
Check out how the power rankings changed after a scorching hot day at Richmond:
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The numbers Team Penske have posted this season are daunting for the competition. Logano scored his first win of the season but has been knocking on the door every week. He’s finished sixth or better in eight or nine races in 2017.
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Keselowski has two wins and near identical stats to his teammate. He’s scored finishes of sixth or better in seven of nine events. The field should be scared of what the No. 2 and No. 22 are doing right now.
Larson made some comments about being the only ‘true racer left’ because of how much he loves racing in anything with wheels on it. He keeps the points lead after a decent day at Richmond.
Martin Truex Jr., no change
Truex was one of several drivers to get busted by a commitment line violation late in the race but rebounded for a top 10. The No. 78 Furniture Row Racing team remains extremely consistent.
It’s time to reward Harvick for his strong showings in recent weeks. He’s finished in the top five in the last three races and seems to have things figured out after a shaky start to the season.
After winning back-to-back races, Johnson wasn’t much of a factor at Richmond. He also slammed into his teammate Dale Earnhardt Jr., which didn’t help his cause.
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Another one of the commitment line violators, Bowyer battled back to 15th after having a top-10 ride most of the day. He’s still much better off than he was a year ago.
For the first time this season, Elliott didn’t have a competitive No. 24 Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet and finished 24th. When he’s had a great car, he wasn’t able to close out races and get the win, anyway.
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Jamie McMurray, no change
McMurray’s great start should only get better in the month of May as he races at some of his best tracks: Talladega (2 wins), Charlotte (2 wins), and Kansas (home track). Don’t be surprised if he’s locked into the playoffs in a few weeks.
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Denny Hamlin, no change
Hamlin didn’t have enough to hold off Team Penske but Joe Gibbs Racing continues to improve and should start winning races soon.
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Ryan Newman, no change
Another solid day with some pit strategy moves and a top-10 finish for Newman. With a spot in the playoffs locked up, Newman should continue to race boldly.
If Bayne runs a solid race, then his No. 6 Roush Fenway Racing Ford can finish around 13th every week. He’s finished 13th or better in seven of nine races this year.
Ricky Stenhouse Jr., +4
While Bayne has consistently finished near the top 10, the highs and lows of his RFR teammate have been a bit more extreme. Stenhouse has four top-10 finishes along with three results outside of the top 20.
If it isn’t a blown tire, it’s a tire on the orange commitment line that cost Busch a shot at a win. Once again, it was Joey Logano who cut into the pits just in time, forcing Busch to cross the line. He’s had the fastest JGR Toyota most weeks, but keeps running into bad luck…and Logano.
Kenseth had the fastest JGR Toyota for most of the race and then he blew a tire late. Kyle Busch knows a bit about being fast and blowing tires that he can share with his teammate. Overall, this is the best Kenseth has looked all season.
Busch battled technical issues with lacking power all weekend long but rebounded from a lap down early to score a top-10 finish on Sunday. The Daytona 500 winner has still finished 24th or worse in five of the last seven races, though.
Another rough day for Blaney. After such a strong start, he’s finished 25th or worse in three of four races and dropped from sixth to 12th in the points standings in that time.
After Saturday practice at RIR, it looked like Jones had one of the best cars for Sunday. He blew a tire after four laps so we’ll never know if that’s true. Hard luck for the rookie for the second week in a row.
Dillon started at the back at Richmond because of a penalty from inspection issues at Bristol. He made it halfway to the front but didn’t get any further than that. RCR keeps looking for a little more speed to be competitive.
Another great run by the No. 43 Richard Petty Motorsports Ford. Almirola scored a ninth-place finish and sits 19th in the standings. They don’t have front-running speed but are getting the most out of what they have.
Almost every race, it seems like Suarez battles back from a lap or two down early for a decent finish. He was three laps down at Richmond and ended up finishing 12th.
After six races, Kahne fans had to feel good about their driver. He’d been up front almost every race and finished 20th or better each week. Then, the last three races happened. Kahne hasn’t finished better than 20th and its starting to shape up as another season of missing the playoffs.
The younger Dillon brother looks strong in the middle portion of the race, running in the top 10 at the end of Stage 2. He slid back late and ended up 26th. He’s getting the most out of his No. 13 Germain Racing Chevrolet so far this season.
Dale Earnhardt Jr., -3
After announcing his retirement at the end of 2017, Richmond didn’t go very well for Earnhardt. He kept making adjustments all day but then blew a tire after his teammate Jimmie Johnson slammed into him off of Turn 2. Good news for JR Nation is that we’re heading to Talladega.
With an average finish of 21.6, Menard has put together some decent top-20 finishes this season and has had less bad luck than the other guys who could replace him on this list.
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