Larson dominated the early portion of the Food City 500 before sliding back. He overcame a pit road speeding penalty to score another top 10 finish. He keeps his points lead and looks like this early success will continue through the season.
Joey Logano, +1
Outside of a blown tire at Phoenix, Logano hasn’t finished worse than sixth-place this season. That consistency will eventually pay off with a win for the No. 22 team.
Chase Elliott, +1
We keep asking when will Elliott break through and win a race. It’ll happen eventually, but until then, he’s posting great results week after week.
Bristol hasn’t been kind to Truex over the years but he led 116 laps on Monday and scored an eighth-place finish. The No. 78 Furniture Row Racing Toyota continues to dominate on the 1.5-mile tracks but their true gauge of success will be how they fare on the full variety of NASCAR tracks.
Jimmie Johnson, +5
The seven-time champion proved he still knows how to win at Texas and on Monday at Bristol, he showed that he’s still the champion until someone dethrones him.
Clint Bowyer, no change
We saw this success coming for Bowyer and the No. 14 Stewart-Haas Racing team when the season started. He’s on the verge of grabbing his first win since 2012.
Brad Keselowski, -5
A rough day for Keselowski at Bristol as he had several issues, including his power steering going. His 34th-place finish is his worst of the season but he’s in good shape with two victories.
Kevin Harvick, -1
Harvick finished third but still drops a spot in our power rankings. This is a result of Jimmie Johnson’s climb. The finish was Harvick’s best of the season, which is a surprise for the driver who has seemed to live at the front of the field the past few years.
Jamie McMurray, +2
Another strong performance for McMurray who sits seventh in the points standings. The Chip Ganassi Racing cars are serious contenders. Expect McMurray to contend for a win sooner than later.
It’s been a confusing year for Joe Gibbs Racing across the board. They’ve shown speed in spurts but haven’t had consistent finishes. Hamlin heads to his hometown track this weekend and once again we’ll say “Is this the weekend JGR turns it around?”
Ryan Newman, +2
A solid effort by Newman at Bristol. The Richard Childress Racing Chevys are still looking for a bit more speed on a consistent basis.
Kyle Busch, -4
The biggest issue for Busch this season? It isn’t Joey Logano anymore, it’s Goodyear tires. Busch blew two tires at Bristol and finished 35th. He’s had issues with tires a few times this year. If he could get that fixed, he’ll likely grab a win soon.
Ryan Blaney, -4
A rough day for Blaney as it appeared that Team Penske and Wood Brothers Racing had an issue with their power steering pumps. He went to the garage to change the pump in the No. 21 Ford and finished 48 laps down.
Trevor Bayne, +1
Roush Fenway Racing keeps showing a bit more speed each week. Both cars finished in the top 10 on Monday and both sit in position to make the playoffs through eight races.
Erik Jones, -1
Once again, bad luck struck for the No. 77 Furniture Row Racing team. Jones had a top-10 car and finished 17th because of a blown tire. When this team gets everything on the same page, they’ll be a force for some wins.
Matt Kenseth, +4
The mix of great finishes and DNFs continued for Kenseth who has four top-10s to go with three finishes of 36th or worse. Expect Kenseth to get away from those DNFs and start racking up the top 10s.
Ricky Stenhouse Jr., +2
Stenhouse scored his third top 10 of the season, which is halfway to his total from last season. Roush Fenway Racing almost has enough speed to consistently put their cars in the top 10.
Austin Dillon, +3
The ship seems to be back on course for Dillon and the No. 3 RCR Chevy. He finished 13th which is right around where we expect him to be on a weekly basis.
, LAT Images www.latphoto.co.ukRussell LaBounty
Kasey Kahne, -1
Once again, Kahne found himself in position to score a solid top-10 finish late in the race and ended up having an issue that put him in 20th. He has to get back to closing out races with solid finishes or another disappointing season is in store.
Kurt Busch, -3
In five of the last six races, Busch has finished 25th or worse. Good thing he got that Daytona 500 win to secure a spot in the playoffs. He’s fallen back to 18th in the points standings.
Dale Earnhardt Jr., -5
We now know that Dale Jr. will retire at the end of the 2017 season. The farewell tour starts at Richmond, a track he's had success at. He tweeted #FinishStrong yesterday, which is exactly what he needs to do.
The learning curve continues to be steep for Suarez. He usually rides near the back early and then slowly climbs through the field for a top-20 finish. An 18th-place finish at Bristol kept that narrative alive.
Aric Almirola, +1
The No. 43 Richard Petty Motorsports Ford has consistently run near 20th in the past six races this season. That’s a solid effort for the single-car operation. A couple solid finishes at the restrictor-plate tracks and Almirola could flirt with a playoff spot. He’s currently 19th in the points.
Ty Dillon, new
Dillon has wheeled the No. 13 Germain Racing Chevy to consistent finishes near the top 20 and has an average finish (19.2) over five spots better than Casey Mears (24.8) had in the car through eight races last year. He’s getting the most out of his equipment as a rookie.
Paul Menard, new
All three RCR Chevrolets finished right near each other at Bristol as Menard scored a 16th-place finish. He’s had a handful of good moments so far this season.