The post-Daytona 500 power ranking is the result of a wild and crazy NASCAR Cup Series season opener at Daytona International Speedway with all the highs and lows of victory and defeat.
In a race as crazy as the 2021 Daytona 500, it seems only fitting a driver such as Michael McDowell should come out on top.
Following an early wreck that claimed contenders such as Aric Almirola, Alex Bowman, Martin Truex Jr., Matt DiBenedetto, and William Byron, the race went into a rain delay that lasted over five hours. The early wreck brought about a lengthy run of single-file racing, with the remaining drivers just trying to maintain position and conserve their cars.
If consistency was the metric to determine the NASCAR champion, Aric Almirola would have been firmly in contention last season. During the middle part of the season, the Stewart-Haas Racing driver set career highs in top-five finishes, top-ten finishes, and laps led with a stretch of five consecutive top-five finishes. However, a string of poor finishes and some bad luck at Talladega doomed Almirola in the Round of 12. He was unable to push for a championship.
Pre-season power ranking for Daytona International Speedway is before the non-points paying Cup Series Clash for the first time on a road course this Tuesday.
With the Daytona 500 right around the corner, after the Clash, it’s time to put together the first 2021 edition of the NASCAR Cup Series power ranking. Deciding on the top-20 is a difficult task. This season is shaping up as one of the more competitive seasons in recent memory. New teams such as Trackhouse Racing and 23XI Racing joining the Cup Series and young drivers such as Tyler Reddick and Christopher Bell are primed for a breakout. The top of this ranking will get the most attention, but the middle and bottom are the sleepers who could find their way to the top as the season progresses.
Kevin Harvick tosses his career-best season with nine victories upside down during the playoffs and ends his chance to run for the NASCAR Cup title.
COMMENTARY—The No. 4 team’s elimination was their fault, not NASCAR, not the points format, or the actions of any other team
The elimination of the NASCAR Cup Series regular-season champion Kevin Harvick after the Xfinity 500 at Martinsville Speedway sure is sparking a lot of hand-wringing and discussion among NASCAR fans. NASCAR Twitter and Reddit saw a flood of posts on the subject ranging from well-reasoned analysis to outright ranting and raving.