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NASCAR power rankings: Here are the best drivers heading to Daytona

Alex Andrejev, The Charlotte Observer on

Published in Auto Racing

NASCAR’s Cup Series has one race remaining in the regular season as drivers battle for points heading into playoffs. The Coke Zero 400 at Daytona is 7 p.m. Saturday on NBC.

Below are The Charlotte Observer’s power rankings for the week of Aug 23. This list is updated each week.

Honorable mention

— Ryan Blaney (previously unranked) scored his second win of the season last Sunday at Michigan. In the last five races, Blaney has finished in the top five in all but one event (14th at Watkins Glen). He’s riding consecutive second- and first-place finishes into Daytona this weekend.

— Kyle Busch (-1) finished seventh at Michigan after winning the second stage of the race. Busch has two top-five finishes and three top 10s in the last five races, which is the same as Joe Gibbs Racing teammate Denny Hamlin, but Busch’s average finish over those events is slightly worse (14) compared to Hamlin’s (11.2).

 

Top 3

— 3. Denny Hamlin (+1) has two top fives and three top 10s in the past five races. He finished fifth at Michigan for his 13th top five this year and is sitting 28 points behind series leader Kyle Larson for the regular-season championship.

— 2. Chase Elliott (no change) finished eighth at Michigan, which is the lowest finish in that race of the top five drivers in our rankings, but he has among the best average finish in the last five races (7.8) behind Larson and won the first stage at Michigan before losing positions on an unscheduled pit stop.

— 1. Kyle Larson (no change) is coming off three consecutive top-three finishes after placing third at Michigan. Larson has five wins and 14 top fives in 2021. He’s looking to defend his points lead over Hamlin this weekend during the regular-season finale.

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