NASCAR Power Rankings: Kyle Larson ascends to top spot
Kyle Larson swept Charlotte this season, winning the Coca-Cola 600 in May and taking the checkered flag last weekend at the Roval.
His win in the final race of the Round of 12 moves him to the top spot in the NBC Sports NASCAR Power Rankings. Denny Hamlin, who was No. 1, fell to No. 2.
New to the rankings this week is Roush Fenway Racing’s Chris Buescher. He replaces Brad Keselowski, who will be Buescher’s teammate and boss next year as a driver/owner at Roush.
NASCAR Power Rankings after Charlotte Roval
1. Kyle Larson (Last week: No. 1) — Becomes the first driver in NASCAR history to win three road course races in a season with Sunday’s victory at the Charlotte Roval. No one would have figured he would win once his car suffered alternator and battery issues. Victory gives him a series-high 65playoff points. He enters the third round 42 points above the cutline. He should be on the way to making the title race in Phoenix.
2. Denny Hamlin (Last week: No. 2) — Finished fifth at the Roval. Has scored a series-high 283 points in the playoffs. Has finished in the top 10 in all six playoff races.
3. Joey Logano (Last week: No. 5) — Finished seventh at the Roval. Has not placed worse than 11th in the playoffs this season.
4. Chase Elliott (Last week: No. 6) — Overcame Kevin Harvick’s punt that sent him into the wall to finish 12th and advance in the playoffs. Survive and advance.
5. Ryan Blaney (Last week: No. 7) — Ninth-place finish gives him four top 10s in the first six playoffs races this season.
6. Martin Truex Jr. (Last week: No. 3) — Not a memorable Roval. Contact late led to a 29th-place finish. He’s on to the next round and could be one to watch.
7. Kevin Harvick (Last week: No. 4) — Message sent to Chase Elliott, but does it matter? Elliott advances to the next round. Harvick’s race and title hopes ended after hitting the Turn 1 SAFER barrier. His 33rd-place finish was his first result outside the top 10 in the playoffs.
8. Kyle Busch (Last week: No. 10) — Placed fourth at the Roval, giving him top-five finishes in two of the last three races.
9. Christopher Bell (Last week: No. 9) — Eighth-place finish at the Roval was his second consecutive top-10 finish, but it wasn’t enough to advance to the next round.
10. Chris Buescher (Last week: Unranked) — Followed his sixth-place finish at Talladega with a third-place performance at the Roval. That marks only the second time he’s had back-to-back top 10s this year.
Dropped out: Brad Keselowski (Last week: No. 8)