Monster Energy NASCAR Cup
POWER RANKINGS: O’Reilly Auto Parts 500
1. Brad Keselowski (—)
Keselowski remains at the top after scoring points in both stages and finishing sixth on Sunday.
2. Kyle Larson (+1)
Larson, back at it again with the second-place finishes. After coming home 17th at Martinsville, he rebounded at Texas and earned his fourth runner-up of the season.
3. Chase Elliott (-1)
The No. 24 driver did not have a stellar day, but he made up a lot of ground in the 500-mile event. He finished fifth in Stage 2 and ended up ninth on the day after starting 33rd.
4. Joey Logano (+1)
Logano started and finished in the top-five leading 38 laps. It feels like I write this every week about him — he’s consistent but has not visited Victory Lane in 2017, yet.
5. Martin Truex Jr. (+1)
Truex continues to shine on the 1.5-mile tracks. He led 49 laps and finished eighth.
6. Kyle Busch (-2)
It was an uncharacteristically quiet day for Busch. He started 34th and ran top-15 most of the race. He earned one point in Stage 1 and ended up 15th-place.
7. Kevin Harvick (+2)
After a mediocre STP 500, Harvick bounced back at Texas by qualifying on the pole, leading 77 laps, and finishing fourth.
8. Ryan Blaney (+2)
Sunday’s race was a career best for Blaney the fastest the No. 21 Wood Brothers Racing Ford has looked since returning to full-time competition. Blaney won Stages 1 and 2, but a pit stop miscue cost him the potential victory and he ended up 12th.
9. Clint Bowyer (-2)
Bowyer had his best qualifying effort of the year. He started third and earned his sixth consecutive top-15 by finishing 11th.
10. Jimmie Johnson (+5)
The seven-time NASCAR Cup Series champion is also now a seven-time Texas winner. After rumblings about the No. 48 team not running up to par, he quieted the naysayers with his first win of 2017.
11. Jamie McMurray (+1)
McMurray has started every race from inside the top-10. He finished fourth in both stages and seventh when the checkered flag waved.
12. Erik Jones (-4)
Jones started deep in the field and wasn’t particularly strong on Sunday. The No. 77 Toyota finished 22nd — his worst result since the Daytona 500, where he crashed out at halfway.
13. Dale Earnhardt Jr. (Not ranked last week)
Jr. Nation and its driver were happy to finish with a top-five for the first time since Pocono in June 2016. It signaled the No. 88 team’s progress since getting Earnhardt back in the car after his concussion, and probably served as a confidence boost.
14. Ryan Newman (-3)
Since winning at Phoenix International Raceway last month, it’s been easy to forget Newman is even in the field. He’s earned zero stage points the last three races and has one top-10 — eighth at Martinsville.
15. Matt Kenseth (-2)
After seven races, Kenseth is 22nd in the standings. Come again? Since running full-time, he has never finished outside the top-15 in points. There’s no concern yet with the playoffs still 19 races away, but this hasn’t been the Matt Kenseth we’re used to seeing.
16. Trevor Bayne (Not ranked last week)
Bayne has finished in the top-20 in all but one race (Auto Club 400, finished 23rd) and is currently 12th in points. It’s still early, but that is a major improvement from his first two years in the Cup Series.
Dropping out of the top-16 rankings this week: Denny Hamlin (was 14th) and Austin Dillon (was 16th).
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