Tuesday, August 9, 2022

NASCAR Power Rankings: Denny Hamlin, Kyle Busch both move up despite disqualifications at Pocono

NASCAR Power Rankings: Denny Hamlin, Kyle Busch both move up despite disqualifications at Pocono

Disqualifications for Hamlin and Busch and an injury to Kurt Busch complicate this week’s power rankings

NASCAR: Nashville
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Where do I even begin with this one?

Before I even started working on this week’s power rankings, I had one major variable to consider in that Kurt Busch was forced to miss Sunday’s race at Pocono after a hard crash in qualifying left him with concussion-like symptoms. That was no big deal — Chris Buescher missed Gateway due to illness, after all, so I could either harshly penalize Busch in the power rankings for missing a race, or consider his body of work all season as well as his performance on Saturday prior to his crash. So, when I started to write the newest CBS Sports NASCAR Power Rankings, things were still fairly straightforward.

It was business as usual, and I was right in the middle of writing the blurb about Ryan Blaney’s tough outing and eventual DNF. Then, it happened: After I placed Denny Hamlin fourth following his Pocono win and Kyle Busch seventh after a second-place finish, both drivers were disqualified for failing post-race tech inspection.

Though I could very easily have punished both drivers for being credited with 35th- and 36th-place finishes, respectively, I ultimately decided to focus more on the outcome of Sunday’s race itself rather than strictly what the official results say. So, I’ve allowed both Hamlin and Busch to keep the spots I gave them, meaning that both have moved up in this week’s power rankings.

Hamlin gained four full spots, joining Alex Bowman (+4) in being the biggest movers in the right direction this week. Quite a few drivers moved up three spots in the rankings, including Tyler Reddick, Erik Jones, Michael McDowell, Bubba Wallace and Austin Dillon. Kurt Busch lost five full spots after having to sit out Sunday, while Austin Cindric ended up joining him in being the biggest loser in this week’s rankings.

Here’s a look at our updated rankings in their entirety:

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