NASCAR Race Weekend Central
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Power Rankings: Someone Woke Up Joey Logano Edition

The 2020 NASCAR Cup Series season has been a weird one for Joey Logano. He managed to win two of the first four races this season, but those were also his only top-10 finishes, too. Sliced Bread has been either very good or very average all season. 

As he often does, Logano managed to irritate many of his fellow competitors by blocking early and often during races, often causing mayhem on the track. In Sunday’s (Oct. 18) Hollywood Casino 400 at Kansas Speedway, the No. 22 car led the final 45 laps, but only gained that lead on pit road. By winning, he became the first driver to punch his ticket to the Championship 4 despite being sixth best in average finish.

Let’s take a look at the Power Ratings after Kansas.   

  1. Kevin Harvick – “The Closer” couldn’t quite close out the win on Sunday, but he once again showed he is the guy to beat this year. It’s sad that the format comes down to one race where anything can happen, when Harvick has been 140 points better than the rest of the field this year. 
  2. Denny Hamlin – Hamlin got this elimination round of the playoffs off to a great start with finishes of first and third in the opening two stages. But at the end of the day, it will take a flawless race at Phoenix Raceway to beat Harvick.    
  3. Joey Logano – This round of the playoffs will now be much less pressure-packed than the last round. Logano has his ticket punched to the championship race at Phoenix, which is great news for the No. 22 team since consistency has not been its strong point at times this year.  
  4. Chase Elliott – The good news is that only Harvick and Hamlin have more top-five finishes than Elliott on 1.5-mile tracks this year. The bad news is that Elliott is tied with seven other drivers.    
  5. Martin Truex Jr. – Since two of the final eight have a huge advantage in playoff points, it might take a win for the No. 19 team to get a chance to race for the title again. Texas Motor Speedway has never been a great track for him, with an average finish of 14th.  
  6. Brad Keselowski – Bad Brad is another driver with a bad track record at Texas. His average finish of 17.3 is one of his worst records at any speedway.  
  7. Kyle Busch – This has been the worst year in the career of Rowdy Busch. If you would have placed a bet in Las Vegas at the beginning of the year that he would be winless after 33 races, you could have made a fortune!   
  8. Kyle Larson – What in the Wide Wide World of Sports is Yung Money doing in the Power Rankings when he isn’t even racing in NASCAR!? He is eligible for racing in NASCAR again next season, and I can’t name eight more racers better than he is. Can you? 
  9. Alex Bowman – Eleven drivers have more top-five or top-10 finishes than Bowman the Showman this season, but he has been a survivor in the playoffs so far. Still, he would need an improbable win at Texas or Martinsville Speedway to race for a title.  
  10. Kurt Busch – The other Busch’s chance to pull off the upset championship might have gone up in smoke in Kansas. It would take a huge upset win this week or next to keep Cinderella’s season going.  
  11. Clint Bowyer – NASCAR’s funny man is ready for the announcing booth. It was great to see fans at his home track give him a nice send off with an impromptu “14” display.  
  12. Aric Almirola – All season, it appeared that Almirola and Bowyer were racing for one job next season. Now with Bowyer’s retirement, one has to wonder if Stewart-Haas Racing wouldn’t be smart to have another new driver after Almirola’s deal is up.  
  13. William Byron – Did you know Little William got his start in iRacing? Byron has come a long way this season, getting his first win, but needs that first non-superspeedway win added to his resume to move to that next level.   
  14. Ryan Blaney – The lack of consistency shown by Blaney this season is why he is not running for a championship right now. He has been strong in almost every race but unable to close the deal too often. That’s how you only win one race a year. 
  15. Austin Dillon – There are always rising stars and falling stars in NASCAR. Dillon is part of a third group that is just holding on to a decent but not fantastic career.  
  16. Cole Custer – This rookie has shown tremendous growth this season and has to be one of the early favorites to make the playoffs again next year. Can he make that leap to winning more consistently, or will he be another one-win a year driver like Blaney?   
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About Dennis Michelsen

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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.