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NASCAR Power Rankings: Martin Truex Jr. takes over No. 1

Kyle Busch celebrates his 36th birthday in victory lane after winning the NASCAR Cup Series race at Kansas Speedway to follow up his victory in the Truck Series at the same track.

Two races without a top-10 finish by Denny Hamlin has changed the top of the NBC Sports NASCAR Power Rankings.

Martin Truex Jr. is the new No. 1 as the series heads to its throwback weekend at Darlington Raceway (3:30 p.m. ET Sunday on FS1). William Byron is second, while Hamlin falls to third.

Kansas winner Kyle Busch returns to the top 10.

NASCAR Power Rankings after Kansas

1. Martin Truex Jr. (Last week: No. 3) — His sixth-place finish is his seventh top 10 in the last nine races, including two wins. The only times he didn’t finish in the top 10 during that stretch are when he had a tire go down in the final laps while in the top 10 at Bristol and when he was collected in a crash at Talladega. He has an average finish of 10.7 and has led 360 laps this season. Truex also has 97 stage points, which ranks behind only Denny Hamlin (156) and Ryan Blaney (109) this season.

2. William Byron (Last week: No. 2) — Has scored nine consecutive top-10 finishes. The 23-year-old is the youngest driver to accomplish that in Cup history. He has an average finish of 10.2 and has led 150 laps this year. He has 86 stage points, which ranks tied for sixth this season.

3. Denny Hamlin (Last week: No. 1) — Has finished outside the top 10 in back-to-back races for the first time this season. Still, his eight top-five finishes are the most in the series, and he’s led a series-high 744 laps. He also has scored points in 15 of the last 16 stages.

4. Ryan Blaney (Last week: No. 4) — Was in position for a top-five finish at Kansas but a shove from Kyle Larson caused Blaney to get out of shape and off the gas at the end. The result was a 21st-place finish. Blaney scored points in both stages. He’s scored points in 14 of the last 16 stages. Sunday’s finish snapped his streak of seven consecutive finishes of 11th or better.

5. Brad Keselowski (Last week: No. 7) — Third-place finish at Kansas gives him back-to-back top-five results for the second time this season. His five top-five finishes trail only Denny Hamlin’s eight this season for most in the series. On the other side, Keselowski has had four finishes of 14th or worse this year.

6. Kyle Larson (Last week: No. 8) — Led a race-high 132 laps and was poised to win his second race of the season until late cautions. Has to finish off races. Has won only three of the 15 races he’s led at least 100 laps during his Cup career.

7. Joey Logano (Last week: No. 5) — Finished 17th at Kansas, marking his second finish in a row outside the top 15. Has four top fives and six top 10s this season. Also has led 324 laps. Kansas was only the second race he has failed to lead this season (the other race was Atlanta).

8. Kevin Harvick (Last week: No. 10) — Runner-up result at Kansas is his second top-five finish in a row and his eighth top 10 in 11 races this year.

9. Kyle Busch (Last week: Unranked) — Kansas win moves him back into the top 10 after he fell out the previous week. He has three top 10s in the last four races. The 20 laps he led at Kansas were more than what he had led in the season’s first 10 races combined (14).

10. Christopher Bell (Last week: No. 6) — Finished 28th at Kansas after accident. Daytona road course winner has two top 10s in the last four races.

Dropped out: Alex Bowman (No. 9)