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NASCAR Power Rankings: Ross Chastain leaps to No. 1 after Dega win

A.J. Allmendinger provides an in-depth break down of the last six laps from the Geico 500 at Talladega this past weekend.

With his second career win, Ross Chastain jumps from outside the top five to the No. 1 spot in this week’s NBC Sports NASCAR Power Rankings.

Talladega Superspeedway added an unsurprising shuffle to the list, but many of the same weekly contenders found their way to the front of the field when the checkered flag waved in Alabama.

See whether your favorite driver is ranked after the 10th race of 2022:

NASCAR Power Rankings

1. Ross Chastain (Last week: No. 7) Chastain had a couple of down weeks in between his two victories, but the No. 1 Chevrolet is back atop the list. Chastain has two wins and six top-five finishes in his last eight races, the lows being a 19th-place finish at Richmond and a 33rd-place result after a blown engine at Bristol dirt. His momentum seemed to have cooled, and it’s hard to glean much of anything meaningful following a superspeedway race. But Chastain has shown speed at every track type on the schedule.

2. Ryan Blaney (Last week: No. 1) Blaney left Talladega with an 11th-place finish, his first outside the top 10 since placing 17th at Atlanta in March. But the No. 12 Ford found its way to the front, as it usually does on a superspeedway, leading 23 laps and coming across the line well inside the lead pack. Blaney’s lone finish outside the top 20 remains a 36th-place finish at Las Vegas, the result of his only DNF of the year.

3. William Byron (Last week: No. 2) The No. 24 Chevrolet led a race-high 38 laps at Talladega and entered the tri-oval 10th on the final lap, but a block from Bubba Wallace and contact from Alex Bowman sent Byron into the wall en route to a 15th-place finish Sunday. Byron is the only other multi-race winner this season alongside Chastain, but Byron’s latest problem has proven to be consistency. In the past six races, Byron has two wins, three top-three finishes and three finishes outside the top 10. The wins will do him wonders, but his worse days should still leave him with a top-10 finish.

4. Chase Elliott (Last week: No. 3) Elliott left Talladega with a 21-point lead over Blaney in the standings, bolstering his series-best average finish to 10.5 with a seventh-place result Sunday. The No. 9 Chevrolet has been quiet but steady, finishing inside the top 10 in seven of the 10 races this season. The question remains when he will emerge for a win, but accumulating a significant points advantage certainly doesn’t hurt.

5. Kyle Busch (Last week: No. 4) After a third-place finish at Talladega, Busch has four consecutive top-10 finishes in the No. 18 Toyota. While his 2023 plans became a bit fuzzier over the weekend, Busch’s on-track performance hasn’t slowed. He sits fourth in points and holds the best average finish of his Joe Gibbs Racing stablemates at 11.2, tied with Blaney for third-best in the sport.

6. Alex Bowman (Last week: No. 8) Speaking of average finishes, the No. 48 team holds the second-best average in Cup at 11.1 following a ninth-place finish at Talladega. Bowman has five top 10s in his last six races and the outlier was a 12th-place finish at Martinsville. Bowman enters this weekend as the defending winner at Dover Motor Speedway, meaning his stock may be rising again in one week’s time.

7. Joey Logano (Last week: No. 5) Logano is a three-time winner at Talladega but has crashed out in three of his last four starts at the 2.66-mile superspeedway. The No. 22 team had seemed to overcome a couple of bad weeks by posting finishes of second (Martinsville) and third (Bristol dirt) leading into Talladega. Instead, his 32nd-place result becomes his third outside the top 15 in the last five races.

8. Kyle Larson (Last week: No. 9) Larson was perhaps one move away from earning the first superspeedway win of his career Sunday at Talladega. Instead, the defending Cup champion came home fourth for his first top five on a superspeedway in 31 career starts. After a string of bad races, Larson’s luck may be changing a bit. The No. 5 Chevrolet has finished inside the top five in three of the past four races. Larson won the 2019 fall race at Dover, so maybe the Monster Mile treats him friendlier than other tracks have this season.

9. Tyler Reddick (Last week: No. 6) Reddick was the first car out of the race at Talladega due to engine issues at Lap 31. And on the heels of failing to win at Bristol dirt, Reddick finds himself one point outside the playoff picture with 16 races remaining in the regular season. Obviously, there should be no concern from the No. 8 team that it will find itself inside the bracket. But crew members also know this would have been a non-issue had Chase Briscoe not sent Reddick spinning.

10. Martin Truex Jr. (Last week: Unranked) Truex remains winless on superspeedways in his Cup career, falling to 0-for-69 at Daytona and Talladega. But the 2017 series champion nabbed a fifth-place finish Sunday to snap a cold streak of his own after results of 22nd (Martinsville) and 21st (Bristol dirt) in the two races prior. The No. 19 Toyota has top 10s in four of the past six races, and Truex has had plenty of success at Dover, netting three wins at one of his true home tracks.

Dropped out: Chase Briscoe (Last week: No. 10)