Denny Hamlin Extends Big Lead: NASCAR Cup Series 2021 Drivers’ Standings After Phoenix Race

Published 03/16/2021, 6:30 AM EDT
Mar 14, 2021; Avondale, Arizona, USA; NASCAR Cup Series driver Denny Hamlin (11) drives during the NASCAR Instacart 500 at Phoenix Raceway. Mandatory Credit: Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports


The fifth round of the 2021 NASCAR Cup Series season has officially concluded. Martin Truex Jr won the race ahead of Joey Logano and Denny Hamlin. Speaking of Hamlin, his third-place finish was enough to help him extend his championship lead over his rivals. In fact, he has amassed 236 points and is the only driver in the 200s.

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Meanwhile, Penske duo, Brad Keselowski and Joey Logano, are on 197 and 192 points, respectively. Truex Jr’s win vaulted him up to fourth place with 180 points. Las Vegas winner Kyle Larson is in fifth place and tied with reigning champion Chase Elliott on 179 points.

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Kevin Harvick stand in seventh place with 176 points, with a nine-point buffer to Christopher Bell. William Byron is another 15 points behind, and 10th-placed Kurt Busch has an eight-point gap to make up. Making up the top 16 are Michael McDowell, Austin Dillon, Ryan Blaney, Ryan Preece, Kyle Busch, and Ricky Stenhouse Jr.

How does the rest of the NASCAR Cup Series pack stack up behind Denny Hamlin?

Admittedly, Alex Bowman will be a little disappointed to be in 17th place. In addition to the Hendrick Motorsports driver, Bubba Wallace will be desperate to move up the order from 19th. Another disappointed driver will be Aric Almirola, who finds himself all the way down in 26th place.

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Feb 21, 2021; Daytona Beach, Florida, USA; NASCAR Cup Series driver Denny Hamlin (11) during the O’Reilly Auto Parts 253 at Daytona International Speedway. Mandatory Credit: Jasen Vinlove-USA TODAY Sports

On the bright side of things, there is plenty of time for everyone to continue improving. As mentioned before, just five races are complete, out of a potential 36. With the season being hugely unpredictable, and producing different winners, this is anybody’s game.

Of course, Denny Hamlin is still on top of the standings, despite not having a 2021 win under his belt. In the coming races, he will be hoping to rectify that statement. Even if he cannot, the Joe Gibbs Racing driver will try his hardest to score as many points as possible. This also includes racking up stages wins, of which he has at least three, which has been a huge help.

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DIVE DEEPER

“Trying Not to Overload Bubba” – Denny Hamlin Explains How He Is Helping Bubba Wallace, NASCAR Team 23XI Racing

about 2 months ago

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Dhruv George

11427 articles

Dhruv George is a senior Formula One and NASCAR analyst for EssentiallySports, having authored nearly 12000 articles spanning different sports like F1, NASCAR, Tennis, NFL, and eSports. He graduated with a PG Diploma in Journalism from the Xavier Institute of Communications. Dhruv has also conducted interviews with F1 driver Pierre Gasly and Moto2 rider Tony Arbolino.

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