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Should Kevin Harvick or Kyle Busch be No. 1 in NASCAR power rankings?

Kevin Harvick and Kyle Busch each have a case for top billing in this week’s poll.

Jasen Vinlove-USA TODAY Sports

Three wins in four weeks give Kyle Busch a persuasive case why he should ascend to the No. 1 position in the NASCAR power rankings.

Except Kevin Harvick, who held the top spot last week, did nothing deserving of a demotion. All the defending Sprint Cup champion did was lead 59 laps and finish third Sunday at New Hampshire Motor Speedway. And that's not even taking into account Busch missed 11 races sidelined with leg injuries sustained in a February crash, while Harvick's excellence has lasted all season.

However, if Busch wins this weekend at Indianapolis Motor Speedway ...

NASCAR Power Rankings

1. Kevin Harvick (Last week: 1)

Could Harvick have done more to keep Busch a lap down? He certainly could've thrown a decisive block, but that's assuming Harvick knew the circumstances of Busch having to pit early, dropping a lap and necessitating he make the gutsy three-wide pass of Harvick into Turn 1. And there's no evidence to suggest he knew Busch was right behind him and desperate to get by.

2. Kyle Busch (LW: 3)

When you factor in where Joe Gibbs Racing was competitively earlier this season, it only adds to how remarkable Busch's current run has been. The team lacked horsepower, couldn't sort through its issues with chassis setups and appeared destined to repeat last year, when its three drivers won a grand total of two races. Now, Busch has three victories -- in just eight starts -- while teammates Matt Kenseth, Denny Hamlin and Carl Edwards have each won a race.

3. Jimmie Johnson (LW: 2)

Once Jimmie Johnson got nailed for speeding on pit road while making a green flag stop, his race was effectively over. Especially considering the No. 48 car just wasn't good Sunday, meaning there was little chance of Johnson racing his way back into contention.

4. Kurt Busch (LW: 3)

Quietly, Kurt Busch has finished in the top 10 in six consecutive races, the longest active streak. That run may be in danger of coming to an end at Indianapolis, however, as the track is not one of Busch's best. He owns just a single top-five finish in 14 races there, which came in his first Brickyard start.

5. Joey Logano (LW: 6)

Very good cars with corresponding good finishes to match in each of the past two weeks for Joey Logano, who followed a second at Kentucky Speedway with a fourth Sunday. A clear sign Team Penske is coming out of the doldrums after not having much speed for much of the season, and that Logano should be able to net another win or two before the Chase starts.

6. Dale Earnhardt Jr. (LW: 5)

That was a strong effort by the 88 team Sunday. On a track where passing is difficult, Dale Earnhardt Jr. started 19th and fought to a fifth-place finish. An encouraging performance, which bodes well when the stakes are raised in September for the return trip to New Hampshire and Chase race No. 2.

7. Brad Keselowski (LW: 10)

Were it not for a couple of missteps on pit road and some tactical decisions that didn't coalesce, Brad Keselowski could've easily won Kentucky and New Hampshire. Instead, a lack of track position burned him last week, while Busch's aggressiveness, sound strategy and good fortune prevented a victory Sunday. Adding to Keselowski's frustration is that his chief adversary trumped him on both occasions.

8. Matt Kenseth (LW: 8)

Why was Matt Kenseth able to recover from a green flag pit road speeding penalty to finish sixth, whereas Johnson couldn't? One, Kenseth's infraction occurred nearly 100 laps prior to Johnson's, giving him ample time to rebound. Secondly, having a fast car always provides a significant advantage.

9. Jeff Gordon (LW: 12)

He's not doing it in grand style or anything, but Jeff Gordon has reeled off three consecutive top-10s following a rather woeful stretch through the early summer months. Whether that culminates in a sixth Indianapolis win is doubtful, though. The No. 24 team hasn't yet shown capable of keeping pace with the JGR and Stewart-Haas Racing cars, as evident by the fact Gordon has led all of three laps in the past 11 non-restrictor-plate races.

10. Denny Hamlin (LW: 7)

New Hampshire wasn't a good showing for Denny Hamlin. Not on a track among his best and on an afternoon when teammates Kyle Busch, Kenseth and Edwards all placed seventh or better. Sunday, Hamlin finished 14th with an average running position of 15th.

11. Martin Truex Jr. (LW: 9)

The swoon continues with a 12th at New Hampshire. That represents Martin Truex Jr.'s fourth straight result outside the top-10 after just one such finish in the season's first 15 races.

12. Carl Edwards (LW: Unranked)

Started on the pole, led some laps early and ultimately ended the day in the seventh spot. Considering how ordinary Carl Edwards and the No. 19 team looked a few weeks ago, this represents a successful outing.