NASCAR Power Rankings: Can William Byron reclaim top spot after fifth win?

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Denny Hamlin most likely won’t win the regular-season title as Martin Truex Jr. enters the regular-season finale at Daytona with a 39-point edge.

Even if Truex doesn’t earn any stage points, he’d clinch the regular-season title with just a 15th-place finish Saturday. The regular season pays playoff points (points added to a driver’s total when points are reset for the first three playoff rounds) to the top 10 at a 15-10-8-7-6-5-4-3-2-1 scale. 

Here are this week’s power rankings with a look at where they could finish in the standings. A driver can earn a maximum of 60 points if the driver sweeps both stages and wins the race. 

1. Denny Hamlin (Last week: 3): Hamlin will finish in the top three in the standings. He most likely will finish second as he sits 39 points behind Truex in first and 37 points ahead of William Byron in third.


2. Martin Truex Jr. (LW: 1): Truex will finish first or second in the standings and as mentioned earlier, he just needs a 15th-place finish with no stage points to clinch the regular-season title. And it likely will only take a finish in the 20s unless Hamlin can finish near the front of both stages combined with Truex not finishing top-10 in either stage.

3. William Byron (LW: 5): Byron is third in the standings and can finish as high as second or as low as fourth. He most likely will finish third as he has a 33-point edge on Christopher Bell.

William Byron earns the checkered flag at Watkins Glen

William Byron earns the checkered flag at Watkins Glen

4. Christopher Bell (LW: 4): Bell is fourth in the standings and can finish as high as third or as low as sixth. He most likely will be fourth as he has a 31-point edge on Kyle Larson. There are five drivers who are 55-60 points behind Bell but only one could mathematically catch him in the standings (because then the others wouldn’t have enough points to get to him).

5. Kyle Larson (LW: 2): Larson is fifth in the standings and has a 24-point edge on Brad Keselowski, 26 points on Chris Buescher and Ross Chastain, 27 points on Ryan Blaney, 28 on Kevin Harvick, 33 on Kyle Busch, 38 on Tyler Reddick and 55 on Joey Logano. As long as he finishes Daytona, he’ll likely be fifth or sixth. If he doesn’t, he could drop closer to 10th.

6. Chris Buescher (LW: 6): Buescher is seventh in the standings, just two points behind his teammate Keselowski. From Keselowski in sixth through Reddick in 12th, they are separated by just 14 points. 

7. Ty Gibbs (LW: NR): Gibbs is 16th in the standings and he hopes his late regular-season surge can vault him into the playoffs. He most likely will need to win Daytona as he is 32 points behind Bubba Wallace for the current final playoff spot on points. If there is no new winner and he can pass Wallace in the standings, he gets in.

Brad Keselowski discusses the progress that he and Chris Buescher have made to get into the playoffs

Brad Keselowski discusses the progress that he and Chris Buescher have made to get into the playoffs

8. Brad Keselowski (LW: 8): As with Buescher, Keselowski is part of this group whose regular-season finish will be determined when they cross the finish line at Daytona. He’s in sixth at the moment with six drivers within 14 points. 

9. Ryan Blaney (LW: NR): Blaney is ninth in the standings, just three points behind sixth-place Keselowski and 11 points ahead of 12th-place Reddick. He’ll likely need to finish in the race to stay in the top 10.

10. Kyle Busch (LW: 7): Busch is 11th in the standings but just nine points out of sixth. His main priority at Daytona, though, could be to push teammate Austin Dillon to the win and into the playoffs.

On the verge: Ross Chastain, Chase Elliott, Kevin Harvick, Joey Logano, Michael McDowell, Tyler Reddick.

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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