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NASCAR Power Rankings: Chase Elliott back at the top

Kyle Petty calls the racing he saw at Atlanta the best all season, Steve Letarte gives praise to Chase Elliott's domination en route to the win, and Jeff Burton joins the debate about Elliott's block on Ross Chastain.

Following his third win of the season Sunday at Atlanta Motor Speedway, Chase Elliott has reclaimed the top spot in our NBC Sports NASCAR Power Rankings.

Elliott has won two of the last three Cup races, also winning at Nashville Superspeedway on June 26. He followed that with a second-place finish at Road America.

Ross Chastain, the previous No. 1, slips to No. 2 on the Power Rankings. His second-place finish Sunday continues a run of strong results for him, but it didn’t come without more controversy.

Ryan Blaney stays pat at No. 3. While continuing to seek his first win of the season, the Team Penske pilot is stringing together solid results.

The Cup Series season continues Sunday at New Hampshire Motor Speedway (3 p.m. ET, USA Network).

NBC Sports NASCAR Power Rankings

1. Chase Elliott (Last week: No. 2) — Elliott swept both stages, led the most laps (96), and fended off Corey LaJoie’s last-lap attack to preserve the win. Sunday’s triumph continues an impressively consistent run for Elliott in 2022.

2. Ross Chastain (Last week: No. 1) — Chastain’s second-place finish was his third consecutive top-five finish and his fifth in the last 10 races dating back to his win April 24 at Talladega Superspeedway. Over that same 10-race span, he’s posted eight top-10 finishes.

3. Ryan Blaney (Last week: No. 3) — Blaney only led two laps Sunday, but came away with a 46-point haul (second-highest of all drivers) on his way to finishing fifth. He still holds the biggest points cushion (+133) among the three drivers currently in the 16-driver Playoff field on points.

4. Kyle Larson (Last week: No. 4) - The reigning Cup champion did well to salvage a 13th-place finish Sunday. Larson suffered from early handling problems, then after those were sorted out, he was also involved in Sunday’s two major wrecks at Lap 91 and Lap 170. It could’ve been much worse.

5. Joey Logano (Last week: No. 5) — An innocent bystander in the Lap 91 wreck, Logano was able to climb back onto the lead lap and was inside the top 10 late in the final stage. But another accident with eight laps to go - this time with Denny Hamlin - ended his day and handed him a 26th-place finish.

6. Christopher Bell (Last week: No. 7) — Bell scored points in both stages, but his day went south at the worst possible time. He spun out of the top 10 with 25 laps to go, and then during pit stops on the ensuing caution, his left-rear tire came off while exiting his stall. Bell, whose pit crew had been revamped entering Sunday, finished 19th.

7. Kevin Harvick (Last week: No. 8) — A poor-handling car in traffic hindered Harvick, but his 12th-place finish still cut his gap to Christopher Bell for the 16th and final Playoff spot by one point (-20 to -19).

8. Kyle Busch (Last week: No. 6) — Tough day at the office for Busch, who slammed into Logano during the Lap 91 pileup and was later involved in another incident with Cody Ware and Landon Cassill at Lap 189. He got the car home, finishing 20th.

9. Martin Truex Jr. (Last week: Unranked) - After getting turned by Chastain to start the major crash at Lap 91, Truex Jr. rallied back and was on the front row for Sunday’s final restart with 3 laps to go. But contact with Corey LaJoie sent Truex out of the pack and out of contention. Truex finished 11th.

10. Denny Hamlin (Last week: No. 9) — A potential top-five finish for Hamlin was dashed when Chastain came up the race track and clipped him with 14 laps to go, spinning him out. Hamlin wound up finishing 25th.

Dropped out: Tyler Reddick (Last week: No. 10)