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Week 18 - StatChat Power Rankings after Iowa


Photo Credit: Meg Oliphant/Getty Images

By Adam Carabine


We've ranked all 34 full-time drivers in the Cup Series (there are 36 charters, but the Rick Ware 15 and Kaulig 16 have rotating drivers, so they're excluded).


Rankings are determined using a large number of statistical inputs.

 

Zane Smith – This week: 34th – Last week: 34th

Where has Zane Smith been? Has anyone seen him?

 

Harrison Burton – This week: 33rd – Last week: 33rd

A top-25 at Sonoma and a Top-20 at Iowa are decent, but I want to see more improvement before he moves up the power rankings.

 

Austin Dillon – This week: 32nd – Last week: 32nd

He did well at Gateway, and then undid all of his progress with a 36th at Sonoma.  19th at Iowa is fine, but he should be better in this equipment.

 

Corey LaJoie – This week: 31st – Last week: 31st

LaJoie will keep you on your toes from week-to-week.  You never know what you’re going to get.  You might’ve expected a step back at a road course – P11 at Sonoma.  But then back to earth with a 21st at Iowa.

 

Austin Cindric – This week: 30th – Last week: 28th

After his win, it’s been not much fun for Cindric fans.  Topped off with a P30 at Iowa, this team needs a boost.

 

Michael McDowell – This week: 29th – Last week: 29th

He moved up a spot after a P2 at Sonoma, but a fairly uninspired 23rd at Iowa won’t keep that momentum going.

 

Carson Hocevar – This week: 28th – Last week: 30th

Hocevar has suddenly taken over as the leading Spire driver, at least over the last two weeks.  Is he starting to get used to driving the Next-Gen car?

 

Daniel Hemric – This week: 27th – Last week: 25th

I think Hemric has joined Zane Smith in the upside down.  We haven’t seen much from him.

 

John Hunter Nemechek – This week: 26th – Last week: 24th

Just when you think it’s been a rough couple of weeks for the 42 team, you realize the results have been better than the two previous weeks. 

 

Erik Jones – This week: 25th – Last week: 22nd

Misery loves company at Legacy MC it seems.  Jones qualified 32nd, finished 32nd at Iowa.  What else is there to say?

 

Ryan Preece – This week: 24th – Last week: 21st 

I’ve said it before, it’s crunch time for the SHR drivers.  This is your audition for a ride next year.  Everyone is watching.  27th at Iowa isn’t sparking joy.

 

Justin Haley – This week: 23rd – Last week: 23rd  

Haley’s stock is on the rise.  Talk about auditioning, though it seems Haley is happy at Rick Ware Racing for now.  That’s three Top-15s in a row now.

 

Ricky Stenhouse Jr. – This week: 22nd – Last week: 26th

Stenhouse returned to an old favourite track of his in Iowa and came up with a Top 5.  Solid effort that’s rewarded by a jump in the Power Rankings.

 

Josh Berry – This week: 21st – Last week: 27th

Another jump in the Rankings, Berry had a stellar day at Iowa.  It even looked like he might take the win at one point, as he led 32 laps.  He settled for a P7, but that’s a start.

 

Chase Briscoe – This week: 20th – Last week: 18th

Briscoe had a strong qualifying effort at Iowa, but unfortunately finished 28th.  That’s a couple of rough races in a row, but if the rumours are to be believed, he should be getting an upgrade next year…

 

Noah Gragson – This week: 19th – Last week: 20th

Gragson has been the best performer at SHR for a few weeks now.  A P16 at Iowa is probably not as good as it should be with this team, but who knows how checked out everyone is.

 

Todd Gilliland – This week: 18th – Last week: 19th

He continues to rise after getting his contract extension a few weeks back.  P12 at Iowa, P10 at Sonoma too.  Those are wildly different tracks, and yet he’s excelling. 

 

Daniel Suarez – This week: 17th – Last week: 17th

By the time you read this, he’s officially become an American citizen!  He’s had a couple of decent finishes to go with it, though this week he stays static on the Rankings.

 

Bubba Wallace – This week: 16th – Last week: 16th

He wasn’t pleased with his road course racing in Sonoma, even though he cracked the Top 20.  It’s a discipline he’s wanting to get better at.  Iowa had him come home 17th.  He can do better, but it’s also about managing the weeks where you’re not your best.

 

Kyle Busch – This week: 15th – Last week: 13th

Despite a P12 for Busch at Sonoma, it’s been an absolutely horrid stretch for the veteran driver.  DNF and 35th at Iowa, he’s not happy.

 

Joey Logano – This week: 14th – Last week: 15th

His streak of winning at new environments came to a close when he didn’t win the inaugural Iowa Cup race, but P6 is nothing to scoff at.  He’s still 6 points out of a playoff spot, heaven forbid another non-playoff driver wins…

 

Alex Bowman – This week: 13th – Last week: 14th

Again, he’s quiet, but he’s putting up solid numbers.  He finished 8th at Iowa, and certainly has a sizeable lead on the playoff line for now.

 

Chris Buescher – This week: 12th – Last week: 11th

It was a solid finish at Sonoma for Buescher, which we’re accustomed to seeing, but a lousy 18th at Iowa bumps him down a spot this week.

 

Ross Chastain – This week: 11th – Last week: 10th

A couple of decent weeks in a row, including a top-5 at Sonoma, but the competition within the Top 10 of the Power Rankings is so fierce, you’ll need to do better to move up.

 

Ty Gibbs – This week: 10th – Last week: 9th

It’s been a couple of rough weeks in a row for Gibbs.  It will be interesting to see how the 54 team bounces back after what is essentially some of the worst adversity they’ve faced all season long.

 

Ryan Blaney – This week: 9th  – Last week: 12th 

A win certainly helps move you up the standings, but a win in such a dominating fashion like Blaney’s at Iowa?  That’ll get you into the Top 10.   Plus that’s after a P7 at Sonoma too.

  

Christopher Bell – This week: 8th – Last week: 8th

Watch out for this guy.  He’s got fast cars, he’s on a mission to prove he belongs, and he’s had some decent playoff experience for a driver on the younger side. 

 

Chase Elliott – This week: 7th – Last week: 7th

Two straight finishes within the Top 5, including a day filled with quality passes in Iowa… Is Chase Elliott back, guys?

 

Brad Keselowski – This week: 6th – Last week: 5th

Speaking of people who are ‘back,’ Keselowski and RFK are cooking these days.  Brad isn’t the best road course racer, but managed to pull out a Top-15 at Sonoma, followed by a Top-10 at Iowa.  I’m not ready to put him in my Final Four just yet, but he’s making a hell of a case.

 

William Byron – This week: 5th – Last week: 5th

Following up a disappointing weekend in Sonoma with a P2 in Iowa is a solid way to stay in the Top 5 of the Power Rankings.  A few wins in the bag doesn’t hurt either.

 

Tyler Reddick – This week: 4th – Last week: 3rd

A Top-10 at Sonoma, but then a P22 at Iowa (a lap down, too).  He falls back a spot this week, but look to see him rebound at New Hampshire.

 

Martin Truex Jr. – This week: 3rd – Last week: 4th

The finish wasn’t what it should’ve been in Sonoma, but the underlying stats pointed to a Top-5 day.  A P15 in Iowa after a speeding penalty shows some resilience.  He’s still motivated, despite the big retirement announcement.

 

Denny Hamlin – This week: 2nd – Last week: 2nd

Having me question my entire scoring metric, Hamlin remained in 2nd after a blown engine on lap 2 in Sonoma.  He followed it up with a P24 in Iowa, 2 laps down.  He’s built up a lot of cache, but maybe not enough for that.  Perhaps back to the drawing board.

 

Kyle Larson – This week: 1st – Last week: 1st

A rough Iowa finish couldn’t completely halt the momentum he carried after a win in Sonoma on a strategy call.  He’ll remain the top dog this week, but the competition is getting fierce with the playoffs on the horizon.

 

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