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Power Rankings After Daytona

2021 Driver Ratings

Pete Pistone’s NASCAR Cup Series Power Rankings after the 2021 season-opening Daytona 500 at Daytona International Speedway.

1. Denny Hamlin – Top five in the last four Daytona 500s, but came up short in his bid to win three straight editions of "The Great American Race." Led a race high 98 laps, including winning the first two stages of Sunday’s race.

Driver Rating: 119.6
Point Standings: 2nd
Previous Ranking: 2nd

2. Chase Elliott – Elliott followed-up his second-place finish last August at Daytona with another runner-up finish in the Daytona 500. Both those runs were his career best performances on the Daytona tri-oval.

Driver Rating: 103.4
Point Standings: 4th
Previous Ranking: 1st

3. Austin Dillon – The 2018 Daytona 500 winner was in the mix again on Sunday. Dillon, who won his Duel qualifying race on Thursday, came up short in that bid but did post his second career top-five finish in the 500.

Driver Rating: 108.5
Point Standings: 1st
Previous Ranking: NR

4. Michael McDowell – Scored his first career NASCAR Cup Series win in start number 358 as McDowell took the checkered flag in the 63rd running of the Daytona 500. He is the eighth driver in history to score his first Cup win in the 500. McDowell led one lap Sunday, the final one, to go to Victory Lane.

Driver Rating: 94.2
Point Standings: 5th
Previous Ranking: NR

5. Kevin Harvick- Harvick was again a presence at the front of the field Sunday in Daytona. He crossed the start-finish line with his second straight top-five, and 10th overall, in the Daytona 500, including his win in 2007.

Driver Rating: 107.7
Point Standings: 3rd
Previous Ranking: 3rd

6. Joey Logano – He was in position to add another Daytona 500 trophy to his collection leading on the last lap. But Logano could not avoid contact from others as he was caught up in the wild Turn 3 accident to eventually finish 12th.

Driver Rating: 104.4
Point Standings: 9th
Previous Ranking: 4th

7. Brad Keselowski – Looked as if he was in perfect position to have a real shot at ending his now 0 for 12 Daytona 500 winless streak. However, Keselowski was in the middle of the final lap crash and ended up with a 13th-place finish.

Driver Rating: 90.3
Point Standings: 16th
Previous Ranking: 5th

8. Kyle Busch – The Joe Gibbs Racing driver had a good car certainly of capable of challenging for the win but Busch was one of several victims of the violent accident in Turn 3 on the final lap.

Driver Rating: 114.6
Point Standings: 13th
Previous Ranking: 7th

9. Kyle Larson – Larson’s return to NASCAR Cup Series competition was very solid. The now Hendrick Motorsports driver recorded finishes of fourth and eighth in the first two stages and ended up with 10th-place Daytona 500 finish.

Driver Rating: 96.4
Point Standings: 7th
Previous Ranking: NR

10. Bubba Wallace- A very impressive debut for Wallace and the 23XI Racing team as the No. 23 Toyota was a fixture near the lead for a great deal of the race. A vibration sent Wallace to pit road late and that ended any hopes of a better finish than 17th.

Driver Rating: 87.5
Point Standings: 8th
Previous Ranking: NR

Dropped Out: Alex Bowman, Ryan Blaney, Kurt Busch