For a moment in the middle of the race, it looked like Truex had the only car that could contend with Ryan Blaney. The stages and pit strategy jumbled the running order and Truex never rebound, finishing eighth.
Clint Bowyer, +1
Each week, the smile on Clint Bowyer’s face has grown wider. He had a top-15 SHR Ford all race and brought home another solid result.
Kevin Harvick, +2
After a few weeks of lacking speed and having issues, Harvick contended all race but always seemed to be near a third-place car. Stewart-Haas Racing had its most consistent team showing this year.
Kyle Busch, -2
After starting in the back and working his way up to the front, the car seemed to get away from Busch as all the strategy moves started happening at the end of Stage 2. He was the top JGR Toyota in 15th.
Blaney had the best car in the field, hands down. He dominated the first two stages of the race and led 148 laps. After he cycled to the back at the end of Stage 2 because of pit strategy, a late pit road mistake cost him a chance to contend for the win.
Alert: This seven-time champion will have several stretches each season where he doesn’t win or have great finishes for about 5-7 races. It doesn’t mean he forgot how to drive or that Chad Knaus shouldn’t be his crew chief. It means that there are a lot of good teams and it’s hard to win in NASCAR.
Jerome MironJerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports
Jamie McMurray, +4
After a rough weekend at Martinsville, McMurray once again showed that Chip Ganassi Racing has a ton of speed in both its cars this year. There are a few tracks coming up soon that McMurray can grab a win at.
Ryan Newman, -4
The hit-or-miss performance for Richard Childress Racing continued at Texas. After having fast cars in practice, none performed well in the race. Newman finished 26th and despite his win, looks to be about a 16th-place team this year.
Bayne has finished 13th or better in five of seven races this season. He climbed his way through the field in a backup car on Sunday for another 13th-place finish. Roush Fenway Racing hasn’t had speed to win but they’ve elevated their finishing position from 2016.
Dale Earnhardt Jr., +7
Earnhardt makes the biggest leap in our power rankings as a result of his best finish of the season. Will this be a sign of things heading in the right direction or was this the case of Earnhardt being at one of his best tracks.
For one of the few times this season, the rookie driver of the No. 77 Furniture Row Racing Toyota wasn’t a staple in the top 10. A rough day led to Jones’ worst finish since the Daytona 500.
Denny Hamlin, -5
What is going on with JGR? Hamlin has finished 25th or worse three times in seven races this season and has only had a front-running Toyota once. The Coach and his team will likely figure it out in the coming weeks but what a bizarre start it has been to 2017 for Gibbs and Co.
After a rough stretch of racing and issues, Busch posted one of his best results since winning the Daytona 500. Busch has his spot in the playoffs locked up so he could afford this rough stretch, unlike some others who haven’t won yet.
Kasey Kahne, -4
A mechanical failure took Kahne from a solid finish in the top 20 to 38th with 31 laps to go. This could start a bad stretch for Kahne who has trended downward since starting the season strong.
Ricky Stenhouse Jr., no change
As stated earlier about his teammate, Roush Fenway Racing seems to be consistently five or six spots better than they usually were in 2016. Look for Stenhouse to be a contender at Bristol in two weeks.
Dillon’s track bar failed him before the green flag even waved, putting him 12 laps down at the start of the race. For the optimists out there, he didn’t lose any more laps all race.
Daniel Suarez, -2
The reality for Suarez is that he needs to keep learning as much as he can in 2017. Losing crew chief Dave Rogers for an unknown amount of time definitely sets this team back, too.
AJ Allmendinger, no change
The JTG Daugherty Chevys once again hang in our power rankings after solid showings at Texas. Both cars had more speed than their result which is a good omen for the two-car operation.
Aric Almirola, no change
Another solid top-20 finish for Almirola and the No. 43 Richard Petty Motorsports Ford. After finishing fourth at Daytona, Almirola has finished 19th or better in five of the next six races. Good job, Aric.
Chris Buescher, no change
Buescher ran near the front early at his home track and had a better car than his 21st-place finish. Still, the No. 37 JTG Daugherty team keeps heading in the right direction.