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Chris Buescher continues to move up the power rankings after his back-to-back victories as drivers continue to make a push toward the playoffs.
The top two spots on this list stay the same as Martin Truex Jr. and Denny Hamlin finished second and third at Michigan. They consistently are among the five top cars week in and week out.
Here’s a look at how I rank them after Michigan with just three races remaining until the playoffs begin:
1. Martin Truex Jr. (Last week: 1): Truex, who announced Saturday he would remain in the seat of the Joe Gibbs Racing No. 19 car for next year, now has six top-three finishes in his last 10 starts. No one is close to matching his consistent strength over the last two months.
2. Denny Hamlin (LW: 2): A first, second and third in the last three weeks should be enough to put him on top of this list if it weren’t for the even more impressive numbers put up by Truex. Hamlin appears to be finding his groove.
3. Kyle Larson (LW: 4): Larson had a stretch of three top-five finishes in four races followed by just one top-15 finish in four races. He got back into the top-five world at Michigan with a fifth.
4. Christopher Bell (LW: 6): A 13th-place finish typically wouldn’t result in a driver moving up in the rankings, but the way Bell and his team rallied from a crash Sunday into having a respectable day Monday was impressive. That persistence will be rewarded down the road.
5. Kyle Busch (LW: 3): Busch crashed out early at Michigan as part of a feast-or-famine last few months. He has just one top-10 finish in the last four races but his string of seven consecutive top-10s prior to that is still telling of how he likely will perform in the playoffs.
Kyle Busch says he put himself in a bad position that resulted in his wreck at Michigan
6. William Byron (LW: 5): Also a victim of a crash Sunday that ended his race early, Byron does need to find his mojo back. After his win at Atlanta, he has just one top-20 finish.
7. Chris Buescher (LW: 9): If Buescher wins this weekend at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway road course — he has been close to winning there before — he might vault to the top of this list. Few drivers have as much confidence as Buescher at the moment.
NASCAR Cup Series at Michigan highlights
8. Kevin Harvick (LW: 7): Harvick continues to get the most out of his day as he finished eighth at Michigan. Considering he qualified 22nd, he probably can’t ask for much more than that.
9. Ross Chastain (LW: 8): While he didn’t make much noise in a race where he started on the front row, Chastain finished a much-needed seventh at Michigan. How much needed? He had one top-20 finish in his previous five races since his win at Nashville.
10. Brad Keselowski (LW: 10): Keselowski has four top-six finishes in his last five starts. He had just three top-six finishes in the first 18 races of the year. If his team continues to improve and grow, he will be dangerous.
On the verge: Ryan Blaney, Chase Elliott, Ty Gibbs, Joey Logano, Tyler Reddick, Bubba Wallace
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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