Up & Down: 12 drivers with the biggest points swings this year Tom Jensen @tomjensen100 Mar 30, 2017 at 12:26p ET Just five races into the 2017 Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series season, and already there have been a number of huge swings in the points from last season. Following are six top-25 drivers who’ve made the biggest leaps in points from a year ago, along with the six who’ve fallen the most. Matt Kenseth, -10 It was surprising that a driver as talented as Kenseth was 15th in points at this time last year. It’s shocking that he’s 25th now, though none of his three DNFs are his fault. Martin Truex Jr., +8 In 2016, Truex had a solid start to the year. He’s doing even better this year, with a win in Las Vegas that helped lift him to third place in the points. Stephen R. Sylvanie Stephen R. Sylvanie-USA TODAY Sp Austin Dillon, -10 One of the disappointments of early 2017, Dillon finished 18th or worse in four of the first five races of the year. He has no top 10s so far. Ryan Newman, +9 A huge victory at Phoenix broke a 127-race winless streak for Newman and a 112-race winless streak for Richard Childress Racing. Ricky Stenhouse Jr., -10 At Phoenix, Stenhouse finished fourth. Everywhere else, his average finish this season is 24.75. Copyright The Associated Press. All rights reserved. AP Ryan Blaney, +10 Blaney is now in his second full season and the Wood Brothers made some needed improvements over the winter. Both factors have helped lift this team. © Nigel Kinrade/LAT Images www.latphoto.co.uk Nigel Kinrade AJ Allmendinger, -11 Last year wasn’t a good season for Allmendinger and JTG Daugherty Racing, but this year is much worse, as Allmendinger is 30th in points. © Barry Cantrell/LAT Images www.latphoto.co.uk Barry Cantrell Chase Elliott, +14 One of the three Hendrick Motorsports drivers on this list, Elliott is the only one doing better — a lot better, in fact — than he did in the first five races of 2016. Second in points is impressive. Dale Earnhardt Jr., -13 It hasn’t been an awful start to 2017 for NASCAR’s 14-time most popular driver, but it hasn’t been a great one, either. AP Clint Bowyer, +23 When Bowyer was with a backmarker team, he got lousy results. When he joined a championship-caliber team this year he started running a lot better. Imagine that. Jimmie Johnson, -15 In 2016, Johnson won two of the first five races in his No. 48 Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet. Now, he has only one top-10 finish so far. Presumably, he’ll get better. © Barry Cantrell/LAT Images www.latphoto.co.uk Barry Cantrell Kyle Larson, +23 With one victory and three runner-up finishes in the first five races, it’s hardly surprising that Larson has made the largest gain. He leads the points heading into Martinsville after being 24th at this time last year. © Nigel Kinrade/LAT Images www.latphoto.co.uk Nigel Kinrade Next Gallery 13 Active drivers with Monster Energy Cup victories at short tracks Start Gallery » FOX Fantasy Auto Form a Racing Team, Compete for Prizes Play Now!