NASCAR Cup Series: Power rankings entering the 2021 season

Chase Elliott, Hendrick Motorsports, NASCAR (Photo by Brian Lawdermilk/Getty Images)
Chase Elliott, Hendrick Motorsports, NASCAR (Photo by Brian Lawdermilk/Getty Images) /
11 of 18
Matt DiBenedetto, NASCAR
Matt DiBenedetto, Wood Brothers Racing, NASCAR – Mandatory Credit: Jay Biggerstaff-USA TODAY Sports /

2021 NASCAR Cup Series Power Rankings: #14 and #13

#14. . No. 1. Chip Ganassi Racing, Chevrolet. KURT BUSCH

An upset win at Las Vegas Motor Speedway in the round of 12 of the playoffs netted Kurt Busch his fourth round of 8 appearance in the last six seasons and preserved his winning streak, sending it to seven seasons. But don’t let that win and Busch’s solid 10th place in the championship standings fool you. Chip Ganassi Racing struggled for much of the 2020 season, and Busch benefited from the fact that his win came when it did. That win came as a result of a late pit strategy call, and it came after he survived the round of 16 to put himself in a position where it would automatically send him to the round of 8. While Busch did have a solid enough season with seven top five finishes and 19 top 10 finishes, the four powerhouse teams of Hendrick Motorsports, Stewart-Haas Racing, Joe Gibbs Racing and Team Penske consistently outperformed Chip Ganassi Racing, and changing that in 2021 will be a challenge.

#13. . No. 21. Wood Brothers Racing, Ford. MATT DIBENEDETTO

Matt DiBenedetto’s solid first season with Wood Brothers Racing ultimately led to Team Penske changing their minds and keeping him behind the wheel of the #21 Ford for another year while holding Austin Cindric back for another season in the Xfinity Series as the reigning champion. While DiBenedetto didn’t secure his first career victory in 2020 like many expected him to, he did qualify for the playoffs for the first time in his career and finished in a career-high 13th place finish in the championship standings with a career-high three top three finishes, including two second place finishes at Las Vegas Motor Speedway and a third place finish at Kentucky Speedway. Additionally, only four drivers finished the year with three straight top 10 finishes. Those drivers were DiBenedetto and the three Team Penske drivers (Brad Keselowski, Joey Logano and Ryan Blaney). Coincidence?