SiriusXM NASCAR Radio’s Power Rankings

See how Sunday night’s Cookout Southern 500 at Darlington Raceway impacted Pete Pistone’s most recent ‘Power Rankings.’

Pete Pistone
September 7, 2021

DARLINGTON, SOUTH CAROLINA – SEPTEMBER 05: Denny Hamlin, driver of the #11 Offerpad Toyota, drives during the NASCAR Cup Series Cook Out Southern 500 at Darlington Raceway on September 05, 2021 in Darlington, South Carolina. (Photo by Jared C. Tilton/Getty Images)

Pete Pistone will unveil Power Rankings each week of the NASCAR season. Check out this week’s edition of NASCAR Power Rankings below, and listen to SiriusXM NASCAR Radio (Ch. 90) on the SXM App now.

Here’s how Sunday night’s Cookout Southern 500 at Darlington Raceway impacted this week’s Power Rankings:

1. Kyle Larson  – A valiant effort down the stretch came up just a bit short for Larson as he tried all he could to run down Hamlin in the final laps of the Southern 500. He finished second after leading a race-high 156 laps and Larson has now posted runner-up Darlington finishes in his last three starts at “The Track Too Tough to Tame.

Driver Rating: 110.9
Playoff Standings: 2nd
Previous Ranking: 1st

2. Denny Hamlin – He was winless through the entire regular season but Hamlin erased all that with a win to start the Playoffs at Darlington. It was his third Southern 500 victory with Hamlin leading four times for 146 laps on his way to locking himself in the second round.

Driver Rating: 108.1
Playoff Standings: 1st
Previous Ranking: 4th

3. Ryan Blaney – His two-race winning streak came to an end thanks to some brake issues late in the race. Blaney had a good car late but the mechanical challenges added up to a disappointing 22nd-place Southern 500 finish.

Driver Rating: 89.5
Playoff Standings: 5th
Previous Ranking: 2nd

4. Kurt Busch – A solid start to the Playoffs for Busch who posted a sixth-place Southern 500 finish. Busch led 13 laps and was a mainstay in the front half of the field for a good portion of the entire 500 miles and along with teammate Ross Chastain gave Chip Ganassi Racing a solid effort.

Driver Rating: 83.3
Playoff Standings: 4th
Previous Ranking: 6th

5. Chase Elliott – Another one of the Hendrick stable of drivers that would like to forget the way the Playoffs began at Darlington. Elliott was ultimately knocked out of the race with a trip into the wall at lap 327 and ended up 31st.

Driver Rating: 99.9
Playoff Standings: 10th
Previous Ranking: 4th

6. Martin Truex Jr. – The Joe Gibbs Racing driver was forced to rebound from a number of issues including a late race penalty for speeding on pit road. While he only led one lap in sharp contrast to his dominating May Darlington win, Truex Jr. was still able to manage a fourth-place performance on Sunday.

Driver Rating: 97.1
Playoff Standings: 3rd
Previous Ranking: 9th

7. William Byron – His night seemed over before things really began as Byron was one of the three Hendrick Motorsports drivers to suffer through a tough Darlington evening. He was eventually eliminated from the race after 199 laps and credited with finishing 34th Sunday night.

Driver Rating: 96.4
Playoff Standings: 15th
Previous Ranking: 6th

8. Joey Logano  – Back in the rankings after an eighth-place Darlington finish on a night that saw a little more progress from the Ford camp overall. Logano will look to ride that wave through the rest of the opening round.

Driver Rating: 95.4
Playoff Standings: 6th
Previous Ranking: NR

9. Kyle Busch – Miserable doesn’t begin to describe the night for Busch who crashed out of the race after just 125 laps. Busch compounded things by driving into the garage area recklessly and then summing up his feelings in an expletive-laden manner on national television.

Driver Rating: 97.5
Playoff Standings: 14th
Previous Ranking: 7th

10. Tyler Reddick – A rough night to kick off the Playoffs for Reddick who battled through a multitude of challenges at Darlington. He ended up finishing 18th but thanks to problems for others he actually gained ground in the standings.

Driver Rating: 80.1

Playoff Standings: 12th
Previous Ranking: 8th

Dropped Out: Alex Bowman