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NASCAR Power Rankings: Denny Hamlin stays No. 1

Bubba Wallace wins the playoff race at Talladega Superspeedway for his first series victory and in the process becomes the first Black driver to win a NASCAR Cup Series race since Wendell Scott in 1963.

There was a share of wild action in Monday’s Cup playoff race at Talladega Superspeedway, but what happened there didn’t alter the top of the NBC Sports NASCAR Power Rankings.

Denny Hamlin remains No. 1, Kyle Larson stays No. 2 and Martin Truex Jr. is back at No. 3 heading into Sunday’s Cup playoff cutoff race at the Charlotte Roval (2 p.m. ET, NBC).

Christopher Bell, who finished fifth at Talladega, moves back into the top 10, knocking William Byron out of this week’s rankings.

NASCAR Power Rankings after Talladega

1. Denny Hamlin (Last week: No. 1) — Keeps top spot after seventh-place finish at Talladega (but gets win as car owner for Bubba Wallace and 23XI Racing). Hamlin is the only driver who has advanced to the next round of the playoffs heading into Sunday’s cutoff race at the Charlotte Roval.

2. Kyle Larson (Last week: No. 2) — Collected in a crash and finished 37th. Had not finished worse than 10th in the playoffs before Talladega. Due to the benefit of all those playoff points (60) he’s earned, he’s still 22 points above the cutline despite the poor finish.

3. Martin Truex Jr. (Last week: No. 3) — His 12th-place finish at Talladega was his worst result in the playoffs this season. Previously, his worst playoff finish this year was seventh.

4. Kevin Harvick (Last week: No. 5) — He just keeps on cranking out top-10 finishes. He placed eighth at Talladega. Harvick and Denny Hamlin are the only drivers to finish in the top 10 in each playoff race this season.

5. Joey Logano (Last week: No. 7) — His third-place finish continues his playoff streak. He has not finished worse than 11th in the postseason this year.

6. Chase Elliott (Last week: No. 4) — Left Talladega with an 18th-place finish. He has three finishes of 18th or worse and two top-five results in the playoffs.

7. Ryan Blaney (Last week: No. 6) — Saw streak of three consecutive top-10 finishes end with a 15th-place showing at Talladega.

8. Brad Keselowski (Last week: No. 9) — Finished runner-up to Bubba Wallace. Keselowski scored the most points at Talladega (52).

9. Christopher Bell (Last week: Unranked) — Fifth-place result at Talladega marks his second top-five finish in the last four races.

10. Kyle Busch (Last week: No. 10) — Placed 27th at Talladega. He has three finishes outside the top 20 and two results inside the top 10 in this year’s playoffs.

Dropped out: William Byron (Last week: No. 8)