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Denny Hamlin moves to second

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Welcome back to Power Rankings for the 2019 Cup Series season. We’re never going to cut horsepower here.

1. Kyle Busch (LW: 1)

Busch stays at No. 1 again after finishing 10th at Texas on Sunday. That 10th-place finish really hurts his average finish for the season. It’s down to 3.7. How will Busch be able to recover from such a big setback?

On a serious note, Busch had one of the fastest cars at Texas. His 66 laps led were the most of any driver. What Busch is doing right now may be better than the start that Kevin Harvick had in 2018 despite Harvick’s three wins in the first four races.

2. Denny Hamlin (LW: 5)

2018 is looking more and more like an aberration in Hamlin’s career. He now is tied with Busch and Brad Keselowski with two wins in 2019. Sunday’s win came after a couple of pit road penalties and an overall rough race when it came to the things that come with trying to pit a race car. But his crew chief Chris Gabehart had a good and adaptable strategy. Couple that with a fast car and you get what happened on Sunday.

“I was just beating my head against the steering wheel thinking, ‘man, we’re going to finish bad with a really fast car,’” Hamlin said. “He just kept digging. Chris kept doing a good job of encouraging us we had a long way to go. We kept passing cars, passing cars. I think at some point we passed everyone for sure.”

“Once we got the clean air in the front, the 20 pulled off for his pit stop, it allowed me to be more aggressive with the way I was driving. Then we made a really good adjustment there at the end that got our car better.”

3. Kevin Harvick (LW: 3)

“Our day was a disaster,” Harvick said. “Our car drove terrible and that pretty much sums it up.”

Harvick finished eighth. Having high expectations can be a blessing and a curse. It was the first time he finished fourth among the four SHR cars since the fall Talladega race.

4. Brad Keselowski (LW: 2)

Keselowski’s day was ruined with a broken part. He ended up 36th and finished more than 60 laps down.

Clint Bowyer finished second on Sunday. (AP Photo/Larry Papke)

5. Clint Bowyer (LW: 11)

Here’s where it gets kind of random this week. Bowyer finished second at Texas so he gets to move up six spots. Here’s a stream-of-consciousness quote from Bowyer to sum up that eventful race.

“All in all, I’m really happy to finish where we were,” Bowyer said. “What a wild race. Just about the time you think you’re gonna have some stage points the caution would come out and then you thought you were back in and it happened again. Then you’re like, ‘Well, damn. What kind of haymakers are gonna be thrown at the end,’ and it just didn’t. Anytime you finish second it’s like, ‘What could I have done?’ When he came out of the pits that far ahead of us I was like, ‘We’re in big trouble,’ but second is not bad for the way our weekend started.”

6. Joey Logano (LW: 4)

Logano drops two spots after finishing 17th. He won the first stage and then an issue with the bracing at the front of the car derailed his day.

“Something came apart in the bracing underneath the hood, I believe, and then the hood started flaring all over the place,” Logano said. “The hood was gonna blow off the car if we didn’t get a caution, so we were able to fix it but went down a lap and there weren’t enough cautions to ever get the lucky dog. We rode around in the lucky dog spot for a while, but never got that. That really altered the handling once we had all the bearer bond on the front.”

7. Ryan Blaney (LW: 6)

Blaney led 45 laps on Sunday. He had one of the best cars. Or at least was really good in clean air. An engine issue derailed his day, so we’re not going to penalize him for that because there’s no other real option to put at No. 7.

“A part broke off and leaked all the water out, so that’s the way it goes,” Blaney said. “It just seems that’s the way this season is going. We’ve had a shot to win pretty much every race and something happens. That’s getting old, but the car is fast. That’s the bright side, but I’m kind of tired of looking at the bright side. I want to actually start finishing where we should.”

Kurt Busch (R) was ninth while Martin Truex Jr. finished 12th. (Photo by Sean Gardner/Getty Images)

8. Kurt Busch (LW: 9)

Busch was ninth after starting 30th. That’s impressive by itself and even more so when you consider that Busch had a flat tire during the race.

9. Aric Almirola (LW: 10)

Almirola was a spot ahead of Harvick in seventh and did that while fighting a stomach bug. He’s now fifth in the points standings, exactly where he finished in the standings a year ago. Maybe 2018 wasn’t a fluke.

10. Martin Truex Jr. (LW: 8)

Truex was never really in the picture on Sunday. That was surprising given the speed that his three teammates showed. He finished 12th after starting 20th.

11. Chase Elliott (LW: 7)

Elliott finished 13th. He probably should have finished higher but a four-tire pit stop with 80 laps to go put him back in the pack.

12. Daniel Suarez (LW: NR)

Suarez finished third on Sunday. It’s the first time all season that he’s finished in the top half of SHR cars.

“I’m happy. The entire weekend was strong for us,” Suarez said. “We had the speed all weekend long. I feel like we had for sure a top five car and at times probably the best car out there on the long run.”

Lucky Dog: Erik Jones was fourth after spinning early in the race. After a recent run of poor results, a top-five finish is a nice bounceback.

The DNF: Kyle Larson ended up finishing last because of the tire problem he had.

Dropped out: Larson

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Nick Bromberg is a writer for Yahoo Sports

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