NASCAR Cup Series
NASCAR Power Rankings: Kevin Harvick stays on top despite Atlanta wreck
NASCAR Cup Series

NASCAR Power Rankings: Kevin Harvick stays on top despite Atlanta wreck

Updated Mar. 21, 2023 1:47 p.m. ET

The uniqueness of Atlanta Motor Speedway as a high-banked 1.54-mile track doesn't translate to many other tracks. It's even different from Daytona and Talladega, as those high-banked ovals are a mile longer and wider with sweeping turns.

So we'll take the Atlanta results from Sunday for what they are, especially for those who were involved in wrecks, when evaluating these drivers.

Here are the power rankings following Atlanta and heading to the first road course of the season at Circuit of the Americas (Sunday, 3:30 p.m. ET on FOX).

1. Kevin Harvick (Last week: 1)


Harvick was leading on Sunday when he was involved in a wreck as Ross Chastain was right on his bumper and Harvick got loose. Harvick didn't just lose the lead, he finished 33rd in the race. He won't lose his spot at top of these rankings based on Atlanta.

2. Ross Chastain (LW: 2)

Chastain keeps his spot. It just seemed maybe a little wrong to move him ahead of Harvick after that tangle, even if they never touched. Chastain also got shuffled back and finished 13th in the race. So that would be hard to lift him to the top spot after that finish as well.

3. Alex Bowman (LW: 6)

Bowman finished 14th but being 20th in the standings with a 100-point penalty is impressive. He was in the battle for the win at COTA last year, so this week could be telling on just where Bowman ranks.

4. William Byron (LW: 3)

Byron got collected in a wreck and finished 32nd at Atlanta. For the season, he has two wins and three finishes of 25th or worse. He has earned stage points in every race, which shows he is running in the top 10 every week. But it's been feast or famine for sure.

5. Kyle Busch (LW: 5)

Busch was collected in the Harvick-Chastain accident and rallied back to finish 10th. As he said on the telecast, his finishes in the lower half of the top 10 are going to get frustrating, and he wants more. 

6. Joey Logano (LW: 10)

Logano's victory Sunday can settle down at least any fears after two less-than-inspiring weeks at tracks where he normally runs well. Logano said his team needed to take advantage of the tracks such as Atlanta where the team is strong. They'll have to be perfect at other tracks, and that likely includes COTA coming up this weekend.

7. Christopher Bell (LW: 9)

Bell was a little frustrated after Atlanta on his choice of lanes and moves late in the race. But he still wound up third, a solid day considering a spin in qualifying forced his team to make repairs and he had to start at the rear. He now has four finishes of sixth or better in five races.

8. Kyle Larson (LW: 4)

Larson was the victim of Aric Almirola's tire failure. It certainly wasn't anyone's fault, and he was running behind the leader at the time. So why so low considering his speed? The 100-point penalties to the Hendrick drivers have impacted Larson the most as he has had a season sort of like Byron. He sits 32nd in the standings.

9. Ryan Blaney (LW: 8)

A self-inflicted speeding penalty put Blaney in a hole at Atlanta he eventually dug himself out of to earn a top-10 finish. It would have been interesting to see what he would have done without having to worry about making up laps during the race.

10. Denny Hamlin (LW: 7)

Hamlin earned stage points in both stages and finished sixth Sunday. He couldn't necessarily dictate anything with moves at Atlanta and it appeared he got the best finish possible. It was just his second top 10 of the season despite earning stage points in each of the first two stages in the past four races.

On the verge: Austin Cindric, Brad Keselowski, Corey LaJoie, Tyler Reddick, Daniel Suárez, Martin Truex Jr.

Bob Pockrass covers NASCAR for FOX Sports. He has spent decades covering motorsports, including the past 30 Daytona 500s, with stints at ESPN, Sporting News, NASCAR Scene magazine and The (Daytona Beach) News-Journal. Follow him on Twitter @bobpockrass, and sign up for the FOX Sports NASCAR Newsletter with Bob Pockrass.

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