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) /
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Joey Logano, Denny Hamlin, NASCAR
Joey Logano, Team Penske, and Denny Hamlin, Joe Gibbs Racing, NASCAR – Mandatory Credit: Patrick Breen-USA TODAY NETWORK /

2021 NASCAR Cup Series Power Rankings: #6 and #5

#6. . No. 22. Team Penske, Ford. JOEY LOGANO

Flashbacks of 2018 filled the minds of NASCAR fans everywhere when Joey Logano, who hadn’t won since he won the final pre-coronavirus pandemic stoppage race at Phoenix Raceway in March, won the round of 8 opener at Kansas Speedway in October to clinch a spot in the Championship 4. In 2018, Logano hadn’t won a race since April and had just one win all year when he won the round of 8 opener at Martinsville Speedway in October to lock himself into the Championship 4, and he went on to win the title. While he didn’t win the title in 2020, he proved that he knows how to show up and win when it matters most, and as long as he can do that, he will continue to be a regular contender down the stretch whether he wins 10 races or none during the regular season.

No. 11. Joe Gibbs Racing, Toyota. DENNY HAMLIN. #5.

Denny Hamlin came up just short of a championship yet again in 2020, much like he did in 2019 and much like he has done several times throughout his career. He is the only driver to compete in both the 2019 and 2020 Championship 4, but he finished in last place among the four title contenders in both seasons and is still seeking his first championship after 15 seasons. But in a season when Joe Gibbs Racing struggled as a whole, Hamlin secured seven of their nine victories, his highest win total since he won eight races in 2010, so he figures to be a factor again in 2021. He has maintained that he won’t judge his career on whether or not he wins a championship considering what the modern playoff format entails, but now 40 years old, he still clearly wants to get that monkey off his back.