NASCAR

NASCAR Power Rankings: Denny Hamlin climbs back to No. 1 spot

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Denny Hamlin didn’t get the win this past weekend at Richmond, but his runner-up finish moved the points leader back to the No. 1 spot in this week’s NBC Sports NASCAR Power Rankings.

The top 10 features four drivers from Joe Gibbs Racing, three from Hendrick Motorsports, two from Team Penske and one from Stewart-Haas Racing. The top 10 also features two drivers who were not in last week’s rankings.

NASCAR Rankings after Richmond 

1. Denny Hamlin (Last week: No. 2) — Lost the lead with 10 laps to go but scored his eighth top-five finish. He is the fifth driver in Cup history to have as many top fives in the first nine races of the season, but he is the first  to do so without a win. He led a race-high 207 laps at Richmond. His average running position Sunday was 1.7. At tracks 1 mile or less in length this season, Hamlin was third at Phoenix, third in the dirt race at Bristol, third at Martinsville and second at Richmond.

2. Martin Truex Jr. (Last week: No. 1) — Pit road speeding penalty on Lap 294 cost him a shot at the win. He finished fifth. He has six top 10s in the last seven races. He’s led at least 100 laps in two of the last three races.

3. William Byron (Last week: No. 3) — His seventh-place finish at Richmond extends his career-high streak of top-10 results to seven in a row. His average finish during that stretch is 6.0.

4. Joey Logano (Last week: No. 5) — Placed third at Richmond. At tracks 1 mile or less in length this season, Logano was second at Phoenix, won the dirt race at Bristol, finished sixth at Martinsville and was third at Richmond.

5. Kyle Larson (Last week: No. 4) — Never was a factor at Richmond, finishing 18th. It is only the second time in the last seven races that he has not had a top-10 finish.

6. Ryan Blaney (Last week: No. 6) — Has scored back-to-back 11th-place finishes. Has placed 11th or better in each of the last six races.

7. Alex Bowman (Last week: Unranked) — Put himself in position and blitzed Denny Hamlin and Joey Logano on the final restart to score his first win of the season Sunday at Richmond.

8. Christopher Bell (Last week: Unranked) — Fourth-place finish at Richmond is his fifth top 10 this season. His result was his first top five since his win on the Daytona road course in February.

9. Kyle Busch (Last week: No. 8) — Struggled early, bounced back but then a commitment line violation knocked him back again. He went on to finish eighth at Richmond for his third top 10 in the last four races.

10. Kevin Harvick (Last week: No. 7) — Was poised for a top 10 before a cut right rear tire caused him to crash. He finished 24th at Richmond.

Dropped out: Chase Elliott (No. 9), Tyler Reddick (No. 10)

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