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(Photo: Nigel Kinrade Photography)

The 10: NASCAR Cup Series Power Rankings After Michigan

The Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series was at Michigan International Speedway this past weekend for the Consumers Energy 400 where, for the most part, the cream rose to the top. Two of the “Big Three” continued to dominate, much like they have done all year. On the other hand, a few other drivers stated their case for making it the “Big Four.” But despite those drivers attempting to overtake Kevin Harvick, all failed to do so as the 2014 Cup Series champ picked up his career-best seventh victory of 2018.

How did a dominating performance by Harvick change our power rankings? Scroll down to find out!

1. Kevin Harvick (+2)

Harvick without a doubt has been the kryptonite to Kyle Busch this season. On Sunday (Aug. 12), Harvick would give some other drivers a chance to lead some laps, but eventually, he’d take the lead back like a kid taking another kid’s lunch money on the playground. Harvick moves from No. 3 to No. 1 with that dominating performance, but was that the performance that mattered on Sunday?

Nope.

Following the race, Keelan Harvick stole the show. He went up to collect the checkered flag, and then his dad put him in the passenger side of his car and took him around for a victory lap before heading to Victory Lane.

Were their allergies in your house? Yeah, I am pretty sure there were some in mine.

2. Kyle Busch (-1)

Kyle Busch was about the only other driver who could’ve actually beat Harvick on Sunday. Busch has gone without a victory since Pocono Raceway a few weeks ago, and that has to be making him more and more hungry. Bad news for the field, Bristol Motor Speedway is this weekend. We all know that Bristol is Busch’s house, so will he earn his seventh victory of 2018 on Saturday night?

#KidsDriveNASCAR was in full swing this weekend, and Busch made a bunch of kids’ days by doing autographs — see the video below.

3. Martin Truex Jr (-1)

This past weekend will become one of those that Martin Truex Jr will want to forget. The No. 78 team has left a lot on the table in recent weeks, and that just isn’t like them. A 14th-place finish on Sunday was just his third finish outside the top-10 since the last Michigan race in June.

Truex led 25 laps in the race. but the finish overshadows anything good that came out of Sunday’s race. Bristol wasn’t great to Truex in the spring, and it could be concerning that they don’t want to get too far behind before the playoffs kick off.

4. Chase Elliott (+1)

Somehow Chase Elliott was able to push through and earn a top 10 after struggling through much of the weekend. He spun during practice and was just a little off in Sunday’s race. Regardless, Elliott still earned the top-10 finish and is keeping the momentum going as we inch closer and closer to the playoffs.

5. Erik Jones (-1)

Michigan has been very good to Erik Jones in the past, in fact, it was really the race that ignited a fire for the driver of the, at the time, No. 77. It really ignited Jones’ run toward the playoffs, but he came up just a hair short of making it.

This weekend, though, was one that Jones will probably want to forget being as it was everything but great. Jones spun twice, but still, he was able to rebound up to 13th, and that has to be something a little good to come out with, being as two spins relegated him back.

6. Kurt Busch

Another solid, quiet afternoon for Kurt Busch resulted in a sixth-place finish. Busch has been wrapped around the rumor mill all week long that the 2004 champion could be heading to Chip Ganassi Racing in 2019. Much like their IndyCar program, CGR doesn’t make much rumbling about their future drivers, which is different than most other teams.

Busch got to head home this week to promote the upcoming South Point 400 playoff opener in a few weeks. He got to do a little bit of hockey fun with a few of the Las Vegas Golden Knights. I know how proud I am of where I’m from, so I can just imagine how cool it would be to get to hang out in your hometown promoting your work.

7. Daniel Suarez (+1)

Much like Martin Truex Jr, Daniel Suarez left a lot of us scratching our heads and wondering where the momentum went from Watkins Glen International and Pocono. He just barely missed finishing inside the top 10, and it could only make us wonder what he could’ve done had he qualified on Friday.

Suarez just barely missed finishing inside the top 10 at Bristol earlier this year, and he had two top-20 finishes last year, which makes us wonder how he’ll do on Saturday night.

8. Clint Bowyer (-1)

NASCAR fans can be some of the most passionate fans in any sports sometimes. On Sunday, Clint Bowyer replied with about the best thing I’ve seen in a while on how tough it was for him to have a roller coaster day on Sunday.

Bowyer won at Michigan in June — true it was rain-shortened, but still, it was a victory. The one thing that can be noted is that Bowyer was the other half of the Michigan sweep by Stewart-Haas Racing this season, and that has to be “pretty damn cool,” as Bowyer would say.

9. Ryan Blaney (NR)

Ford and Michigan are like that match made in heaven. Ryan Blaney had super fast speed on Sunday, and it’s got to be some sort of light at the end of the tunnel for Team Penske, who has been off lately. Despite failing to lead any laps on Sunday, Blaney still ran up front most of the race.

10. Austin Dillon (NR)

Oh, this is where we’re gonna make some fans pretty irritated. Austin Dillon makes his return to The 10 for the first time since February, and honestly, he earned it Sunday. The organization as a whole has been improving lately. With Dillon battling Harvick at the end — yes we understand strategy played a hand — it shows that something could be brewing under Richard Childress Racing, which we could see by 2020 if not earlier.

Others Receiving Consideration – Brad Keselowski (second), Aric Almirola (seventh), Denny Hamlin (eighth) and Joey Logano (10th) 

Drivers Falling out The 10: Kyle Larson & William Byron

About Christian Koelle

Christian Koelle
Christian Koelle returns to Fronstretch in 2018 after joining the organization in late 2017. He is looking to write full-time this season with Frontstretch. Along with Motorsports Christian also covers Minor League Baseball, with a focus on the Southern League. His second passion is baseball. He and his family reside in Ooltewah, TN, a town just outside of Chattanooga.

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