NASCAR power rankings: Major shuffle after a wild day of dirt racing at Bristol Motor Speedway(2)

NASCAR power rankings: Second-tier drivers looking for a turnaround

11. Kyle Busch (Previous Ranking: 10) – (Standings: 13)

NASCAR drivers rankings: Kyle Busch
Jul 18, 2020; Fort Worth, TX, USA; NASCAR Xfinity Series driver Kyle Busch (54) celebrates winning the My Bariatric Solutions 300 race at the Texas Motor Speedway. Mandatory Credit: Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports
  • 2021 statistics: Zero wins, two top-5 finishes, three top-10 finishes, and an average finishing position of 15.6.

Kyle Busch’s day was a disaster from the start when mud clogged up the front of his car and he had to come to pit road to fix the issue. Busch’s day was pretty much done from that point and only got worse in Stage 2 when he was involved in an accident caused by dust. Busch finished in 17th place after a frustrating day and he’ll look for his first win and better luck at Martinsville.

  • 2021 ride: No. 18 Toyota (Joe Gibbs Racing)

12. Alex Bowman (Previous Ranking: 12) – (Standings: 16)

NASCAR drivers rankings: Alex Bowman
Jun 10, 2020; Martinsville, VA, USA; NASCAR drive Alex Bowman (middle) walks to his car before the NASCAR Cup Series at Martinsville at Martinsville Speedway. Mandatory Credit: Steve Helber/Pool Photo via USA TODAY Network
  • 2021 statistics: Zero wins, one top-five finish, three top-10 finishes, and an average finishing position of 17.0.

Alex Bowman had one of the better cars in practice, but his day was derailed after it was diagnosed that his car wasn’t going to have a fourth gear for the rest of the day. Bowman ran in third gear and brought it home in 22nd place after a very disappointing day. Many of the best cars didn’t finish in the top-10 positions, so Bowman isn’t alone in his frustrations as he looks to get his first win of the season.

  • 2021 ride: No. 48 Chevrolet (Hendrick Motorsports)

13. Ricky Stenhouse, Jr. (Previous Ranking: 16) – (Standings: 14)

NASCAR Power Rankings
Feb 14, 2020; Daytona Beach, Florida, USA; NASCAR Cup Series driver Ricky Stenhouse Jr. (47) during practice for the Daytona 500 at Daytona International Speedway. Mandatory Credit: Mike Dinovo-USA TODAY Sports
  • 2021 statistics: Zero wins, one top-five finish, one top-10 finish, and an average finishing position of 12.3.

Ricky Stenhouse Jr. has been the model of consistency outside of Denny Hamlin this season. Stenhouse has zero finishes outside of the top-20 positions and almost won his first race of the season at Bristol on Dirt with a second-place finish. Stenhouse has shown speed and maybe with another restart, he would’ve gotten a shot to steal the win away from Joey Logano. Stenhouse looks to continue his streak of consistent runs in two weeks.

  • 2021 ride: No. 47 Chevrolet (JTG Daugherty Racing)

14. Michael McDowell (Previous Ranking: 13) – (Standings: 12)

NASCA Power Rankings: Michael McDowell
Feb 14, 2021; Daytona Beach, Florida, USA; NASCAR Cup Series driver Michael McDowell (34) celebrates winning the Daytona 500 at Daytona International Speedway. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports
  • 2021 statistics: One win, one top-5 finish, three top-10 finishes, and an average finishing position of 12.3.

Michael McDowell had a solid day and stayed out of trouble to bring home a 12th place finish at a track you may not expect him to finish that high. McDowell was quiet throughout the day, but a solid day is good for the No. 34 crew since they want to show that they can contend for top-10 finishes on a weekly basis. McDowell goes into the off-weekend in the best shape of his career thus far.

  • 2021 ride: No. 34 Ford (Front Row Motorsports)

15. Austin Dillon (Previous Ranking: 14) – (Standings: 11)

NASCAR drivers rankings: Austin Dillon
Nov 8, 2020; Avondale, Arizona, USA; NASCAR driver Austin Dillon (3) during the NASCAR Cup Series Championship at Phoenix Raceway. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports
  • 2021 statistics: Zero wins, one top-5 finish, two top-10 finishes, and an average finishing position of 15.0.

Austin Dillon surprisingly was not that great on Monday evening and only finished in the 21st position. Dillon was pegged as one of the dark horses coming into the event after he won a race at Bristol on Dirt the night before the Atlanta race last weekend. Dillon’s poor finish may come as a surprise to some as that was his second-worst finish of an otherwise consistent year.

  • 2021 ride: No. 3 Chevrolet (Richard Childress Racing)

16. Kurt Busch (Previous Ranking: 15) – (Standings: 15)

NASCA Power Rankings: Kurt Busch
Feb 14, 2021; Daytona Beach, Florida, USA; NASCAR Cup Series driver Kurt Busch (1) waves to fans during driver introductions before the Daytona 500 at Daytona International Speedway. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports
  • 2021 statistics: Zero wins, one top-five finish, two top-10 finishes, and an average finishing position of 17.6.

Kurt Busch was another driver to have a quiet day after only finishing in the 16th position. Busch isn’t known to be a dirt racer, so a finish like this shouldn’t surprise anyone. However, Busch has been very quiet the last month was his best finish being 15th place in the last four races. Busch needs the off-weekend as he looks to turn it around for a top-10 finish in the next race.

  • 2021 ride: No. 1 Chevrolet (Chip Ganassi Racing)

NASCAR power rankings: Teams looking to make the playoffs

17. Chris Buescher (Previous Ranking: 17) – (Standings: 17)

NASCAR power rankings: Chris Buescher
Feb 21, 2021; Daytona Beach, Florida, USA; NASCAR Cup Series driver Chris Buescher (17) during the O’Reilly Auto Parts 253 at Daytona International Speedway. Mandatory Credit: Jasen Vinlove-USA TODAY Sports
  • 2021 statistics: Zero wins, zero top-five finishes, one top-10 finish, and an average finishing position of 16.3.

Chris Buescher had a solid day at Bristol and kept the car out of trouble, which resulted in a decent 14th place finish. Buescher has been seeing better finishes as of late with only one finish outside of the top-20 at the Daytona 500. Buescher could be setting himself up for a possible playoff push if he can continue to string along good finishes and contend as he did at Homestead earlier this year.

  • 2021 ride: No. 17 Ford (Roush Fenway Racing)

18. Daniel Suarez (Previous Ranking: Unranked) – (Standings: 20)

NASCAR power rankings
Oct 18, 2020; Kansas City, Kansas, USA; NASCAR Cup Series driver Matt DiBenedetto (21) races during the Hollywood Casino 400 at Kansas Speedway. Mandatory Credit: Jay Biggerstaff-USA TODAY Sports
  • 2021 statistics: Zero wins, one top-5 finish, one top-10 finish, and an average finishing position of 19.3.

Daniel Suarez had his best race of the season on Monday and it definitely showed that he and Trackhouse Racing Team are starting to turn a corner. Suarez led 58 laps and earned 16 stage points on the day with his best finish of the season in fourth-place. It is Trackhouse’s first top-5 and top-10 finish of the season and if Suarez can continue how he has been driving the last two weeks, there will be many more to come.

  • 2021 ride: No. 99 Chevrolet (Trackhouse Racing Team)

19. Bubba Wallace (Previous Ranking: 19) – (Standings: 21)

NASCAR Power Rankings: Bubba Wallace
Mar 14, 2021; Avondale, Arizona, USA; NASCAR Cup Series driver Bubba Wallace (23) drives during the NASCAR Instacart 500 at Phoenix Raceway. Mandatory Credit: Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports
  • 2021 statistics: Zero wins, zero top-five finishes, zero top-10 finishes, and an average finishing position of 21.7.

Bubba Wallace had a fast car but was yet again the victim of bad luck when he had a left rear tire go down. Wallace spun in the Final Stage and surprisingly didn’t see a caution, which aided his poor finish of 27th place. Wallace has yet to finish in the top-10 positions yet, but he has shown the speed to finish in those positions. Wallace will look to turn his luck around at a track he has run well at before in two weeks.

  • 2021 ride: No. 23 Toyota (23XI Racing)

20. Ryan Newman (Previous Ranking: Unranked) – (Standings: 19)

NASCA Power Rankings
Feb 12, 2020; Daytona, FL, USA; NASCAR Cup Series driver Ryan Preece (37) addresses the media during NASCAR Media Day at the Daytona 500 Club.. Mandatory Credit: Mike Dinovo-USA TODAY Sports
  • 2021 statistics: Zero wins, one top-5 finish, two top-10 finishes, and an average finishing position of 18.4.

Ryan Newman had a rough start to the day but eventually found himself with a fifth-place finish at the end of it. William Byron and Ryan Newman made contact in Stage 1 that sent Newman around, which surprisingly didn’t hurt his ability to earn stage points. Newman has been racing well as of late and his first top-5 finish of the season shows that he will run better than he did after his notable Daytona wreck last season.

  • 2021 ride: No. 6 (Roush Fenway Racing)