Loading scores...
Show category column on Sport Landing Pages. Only works if category has a value.
Yes
Show Warren Sharp on Betting Pages. Only works if category is Warren Sharp.
No
Power Rankings

Power Ranking After: Kansas 2

by Dan Beaver
Updated On: October 21, 2020, 12:05 am ET

The Hollywood Casino 400 at Kansas Speedway was enlightening. It proved that (for the most part) the strongest drivers are in the Round of 8 and nothing can be taken for granted among the playoff contenders in the next two weeks.

Playoff contenders took the top four spots, and yet the future of most of them is still unclear. Joey Logano won the race and punched his ticket to the Championship 4. He is the only driver truly safe from elimination.

Kevin Harvick finished second and has a 41-point cushion on the current bubble, but that is less than a full-race worth of the maximum points (60) and subject to change if any of the drivers below him wins.

Alex Bowman finished third and still lost ground in the points. Fourth-place Brad Keselowski held onto his position in the points, but falls to the bubble with Logano’s win.


The driver who finished sixth, Chase Elliott earned the second-most points during the afternoon with solid runs in both stages – and still he is on the outside looking in. Martin Truex Jr. finished ninth and finds himself 31 points below the cutline.

Meanwhile after finishing 15th, Denny Hamlin gave up half his bonus point advantage after slapping the wall midway through the Hollywood Casino 400 and is now only 20 points ahead of the elimination position. Bowman and Truex were the only two playoff contenders who failed to lead laps at Kansas.

Expect the same performance this week at Texas. One of these eight will win and collectively they are going to dominate the top five.

Top 10

1. Chase Elliott (last week: 1)
Weeks in the top 10: 30
Weeks as #1: 7
Power Average: 5.83
Elliott was able to dominate last week at Kansas when he had track position, but ultimately poor restarts proved to be his nemesis once again. He scored the second-most points in the race with strong runs in all three stages, but with Joey Logano’s victory he is now below the bubble and in desperate need of winning at either Texas or Martinsville.

2. Kevin Harvick (last week: 6) +4
Weeks in the top 10: 29
Weeks as #1: 15
Power Average: 8.30
After back-to-back weeks outside the top 10, Harvick was at the front of the pack in Kansas battling for a win. He had the faster car in the closing laps, but aero-dependence robbed him of an opportunity to formally clinch his spot in the Championship 4. The good news is that his second-place finish – coupled with a bad run for Denny Hamlin – virtually guarantees he will be the top points’ earner once the next two races are in the books.

3. Joey Logano (last week: 2) -1
Weeks in the top 10: 30
Power Average: 8.42
Logano picked a great time to get his first victory since the series returned to action after the COVID-19 break. On the heels of a second-place finish two weeks ago on the Roval, this Hollywood Casino 400 victory locks him into the Phoenix 4. He did not get a chance to defend his 2018 title last year and will be hungry this time around. Notably, he won the spring Phoenix race. With his win, Logano also improved his PointsBet Sportsbook odds of winning the championship to +425.

4. Alex Bowman (last week: 3) -1
Weeks in the top 10: 16
Weeks as #1: 1
Power Average: 8.75
Bowman improved his Power Average by three-quarters of a point and still fell a spot because of a stronger run by Harvick. That also illustrates just how difficult it is going to be to get into the Championship 4. Strong runs and top-three finishes won’t get the job done; a driver is going to have to win in order to advance unless he is either Harvick or Hamlin.

5. Martin Truex Jr. (last week: 4) -1
Weeks in the top 10: 26
Weeks as #1: 3
Power Average: 10.06
Teams are looking for every advantage they can find and occasionally step over the line. Truex was penalized and sent to the back of the Kansas pack for failing inspection multiple times. This is not the first time this has happened to Truex. “We have done it a lot this year,” Truex said at NBC Sports. “It is what it is. We will deal with it.” He climbed to ninth at the checkers and is 31 points below the playoff bubble.

6. Kyle Busch (last week: 5) -1
Weeks in the top 10: 21                         
Power Average: 10.77
And then there were three. Busch is running out of time to snap his 2020 winless streak after finishing fifth at Kansas. That was his sixth top-five in the past 18 races (a rolling half season). Bettors can expect the top-10s to continue at Texas, Martinsville, and Phoenix – but if he does not get track position in the closing laps of any of those races, it is going to be a longshot for him to win.

7. Kurt Busch (last week: 7)
Weeks in the top 10: 19
Power Average: 11.13
Busch knew that he probably needed to win in order to advance to the Championship 4, but after blowing an engine at Kansas and finishing 38th, that is a certainty now. He pulled out an improbable win at Vegas once already during the playoffs, so he may be worth a modest wager at Texas and Martinsville in the next two weeks. Busch has the worst odds of winning the championship at PointsBet with a +5000.

8. Brad Keselowski (last week: 10) +2
Weeks in the top 10: 29
Power Average: 11.38
Keselowski did what was needed last week with a fifth-place finish. He stayed ahead of Elliott in the points’ standings while both drivers watched Logano leapfrog them into the top-ranked spot with his victory. The No. 2 team will have to repeat that feat at Texas and Martinsville as this becomes a highly-contested battle for the final transfer spot. As good as his Kansas effort was, however, it was the first time in nine weeks that he scored a top-five.

9. Erik Jones (last week: 8) -1
Weeks in the top 10: 6
Power Average: 11.45
Jones entered the Hollywood Casino 400 with four top-fives and an eighth in his previous six races. He has been one of the hottest drivers on the circuit since the playoffs began and was just as strong in last week’s race before he scraped the wall and damaged his Toyota. That will not slow him at Texas because this Young Gun is still racing for his NASCAR life.

10. Ryan Blaney (last week: 11) +1
Weeks in the top 10: 20
Weeks as #1: 2
Power Average: 11.93
Blaney fell out of the top 10 last week only to rebound at Kansas. His last four races have featured three results of seventh or better. If not for his poor showing in the Round of 16, he might still be one of the playoff contenders, but all he can do now is race for pride. At Kansas, he raced his teammates harder than the competition; the battle to be the best Penske mate is intense.

Dropped from the Top 10

9. Denny Hamlin (last week: 4) -5
Weeks in the top 10: 24
Weeks as #1: 3
Power Average: 12.44
Last week was a worst-case scenario for Hamlin. He not only lost points to the leader, but a driver below him in the standings won the race. If that happens in two more events, he will not be part of the Phoenix 4 despite being one of the two most-dominant drivers in the regular season. Luckily for him, the next two tracks on the schedule are perfectly matched to his driving style. Hamlin can win either the Autotrader 500 at Texas or the Xfinity 500 at Martinsville and deserves to be part of your betting strategy.

Big Movers outside the Top 10

15. Aric Almirola (last week: 18) +3
Weeks in the top 10: 10
FPR#: 16.92
Almirola ran better than he finished last week but it still wasn’t enough for a top-10. After a solid showing in the Round of 16 with three consecutive top-10s, he fell out of contention in the Round of 12 without a single top-15. He split the difference at Kansas and finished 13th.

17. Matt DiBenedetto (last week: 15) -2
Weeks in the top 10: 4
Power Average: 17.27
DiBenedetto crossed under the checkers second in back-to-back races at Vegas and Talladega. Unfortunately, he was penalized for pushing another car under the yellow line on the plate track and was scored 21st. He stumbled again on the Charlotte Roval before finishing respectably in 12th at Kansas.

Winners, Last 45 Days (Outright Odds to win)
Hollywood Casino 400, Kansas: Joey Logano (+1400)  
Roval 400k, Charlotte Roval: Chase Elliott (+290)
YellaWood 500, Talladega: Denny Hamlin (+900)
South Point 400, Las Vegas: Kurt Busch (+4000)
Night Race at Bristol: Kevin Harvick (+625)
Federated Auto Parts 400, Richmond: Brad Keselowski (+900)
Southern 500, Darlington: Kevin Harvick (+260)

PointsBet is our Official Sports Betting Partner, and we may receive compensation if you place a bet on PointsBet for the first time after clicking our links.

Power Average, Last 45 Days

This
Week

Driver

Power
Avg.

Avg. Odds
Rank

Last
Week

Difference

1.

Chase Elliott

5.83

4.14

1

0

2.

Kevin Harvick

8.30

2.29

6

4

3.

Joey Logano

8.42

5.29

2

-1

4.

Alex Bowman

8.75

11.29

3

-1

5.

Martin Truex Jr.

10.06

4.43

4

-1

6.

Kyle Busch

10.77

5.57

5

-1

7.

Kurt Busch

11.13

8.86

7

0

8.

Brad Keselowski

11.38

5.00

10

2

9.

Erik Jones

11.45

12.71

8

-1

10.

Ryan Blaney

11.73

6.00

11

1

 

11.

Denny Hamlin

12.44

2.29

9

-2

12.

Clint Bowyer

12.94

11.71

12

0

13.

William Byron

14.69

13.71

13

0

14.

Austin Dillon

15.38

15.14

14

0

15.

Aric Almirola

16.92

11.71

18

3

16.

Tyler Reddick

16.98

16.29

17

1

17.

Matt DiBenedetto

17.27

16.00

15

-2

18.

Jimmie Johnson

17.44

12.29

16

-2

19.

Cole Custer

17.48

19.00

20

1

20.

Chris Buescher

19.25

22.83

19

-1

21.

Christopher Bell

19.57

18.43

21

0

22.

Ryan Preece

20.38

27.25

22

0

23.

Matt Kenseth

22.20

21.00

23

0

24.

Ryan Newman

22.66

22.29

24

0

25.

Bubba Wallace

23.50

23.29

25

0

26.

Michael McDowell

23.89

25.14

27

1

27.

JH Nemechek

24.00

26.43

26

-1

28.

Ty Dillon

24.03

27.71

28

0

29.

Ricky Stenhouse Jr.

24.15

21.29

29

0

30.

Cody Ware

28.29

 

32

2

31.

Ross Chastain

28.91

 

30

-1

32.

Daniel Suarez

28.97

30.00

31

-1

33.

Corey LaJoie

29.64

31.14

33

0

34.

Gray Gaulding

29.86

 

35

1

35.

Brennan Poole

31.30

32.00

34

-1

36.

JJ Yeley

32.77

33.00

39

3

37.

Garrett Smithley

33.09

 

37

0

38.

Quin Houff

33.41

32.71

36

-2

39.

Timmy Hill

33.56

33.57

38

-1

40.

Josh Bilicki

34.00

32.00

40

0

41.

James Davison

34.98

31.20

42

1

42.

Joey Gase

35.09

33.14

41

-1

43.

Reed Sorenson

36.57

33.00

43

0

44.

Chad Finchum

39.00

 

44

0

 

Dan Beaver

Dan Beaver has been covering fantasy NASCAR for more than 20 years with a little help from his >650,000 record database. He can be found on Twitter @FantasyRace.