NASCAR Power Rankings: Chase Elliott leaps to the front
A slick late-race move by Chase Elliott carried him to Victory Lane Sunday at Talladega Superspeedway -- and back to the top of the NBC Sports NASCAR Power Rankings.
Elliott is the only driver with five victories this season. No one else in the playoffs has more than two (Tyler Reddick, eliminated from the championship hunt, has won three times).
Elliott, already qualified for the Round of 8 with his Talladega win, will be among the favorites in Sunday’s race at the Charlotte Motor Speedway Roval (2 p.m. ET, NBC).
Here’s how the rankings look approaching the end of the Round of 12:
NBC Sports NASCAR Power Rankings
1. Chase Elliott (No. 3 last week) -- Elliott’s power move to win at Talladega was quite impressive and gave him four top-five finishes in the past 10 races. Clearly, he has re-established himself as the championship favorite.
2. Denny Hamlin (No. 1 last week) -- Hamlin drops a spot despite a strong run (20 laps led and finishing fifth) at Talladega. Count him in the hunt for an elusive first championship.
3. Ryan Blaney (No. 8 last week) -- Blaney simply will not go away despite continuing as the playoffs’ only winless driver (not including the Texas All-Star Race). He was victimized by Chase Elliott on Sunday at Talladega, finishing .046 seconds short of victory and a push into the next round.
4. Kyle Larson (No. 2 last week) -- Superspeedway racing generally is not Larson’s strong point. He finished 18th Sunday despite leading eight laps and being in the front group much of the day.
5. Joey Logano (No. 4 last week) -- Logano had an unusually poor performance at Talladega. He was involved in an early-race accident and struggled much of the rest of the day, finishing 27th.
6. Ross Chastain (No. 7 last week) -- Chastain tied Aric Almirola for most laps led (36) at Talladega and has been consistent as of late with three finishes of seventh or better in the past four races.
7. William Byron (No. 5 last week) -- Byron’s worst news last week came off the track as he was penalized by NASCAR for dumping Denny Hamlin under caution at Texas. He finished 12th at Talladega.
8. Chase Briscoe (No. 9 last week) -- Briscoe is quietly making the case that he could make the Round of 8 and challenge for the title.
9. Daniel Suarez (unranked last week) -- Suarez maneuvered through the Talladega draft with style and came home eighth. He has three top 10s in the past seven races.
10. Christopher Bell (No. 6 last week) -- Bell had a rough day at Talladega and will be looking to Sunday’s race at the Roval for redemption.
Dropped out: Tyler Reddick (No. 10 last week).