NASCAR Power Rankings: Kyle Larson closing in on the top spot after strong run at Road America

1 Chase Elliott — Chase Elliott is beginning to close the gap on Hendrick teammate William Byron for the most laps led this season. Elliott now has 549 laps led after Road America, which trails Byron’s total by just 21 laps. 2 Ross Chastain — The element of surprise is all but gone when it comes to where Ross Chastain is running. He now has his third top-five streak of the season after finishing fourth at Road America. 3 Kyle Larson Who said Kyle Larson doesn’t have championship form? With a third-place run at Road America, Larson now has eight top-five finishes on the year, which ranks second only to Ross Chastain. 4 Ryan Blaney With 13 different drivers now having won, the best Ryan Blaney can do without a win is pad his points total as much as possible. He did just that at Road America, winning a stage before finishing 11th. 5 Kyle Busch There’s no way around it: Sunday was a terrible race for Kyle Busch. After changing an engine, Busch spun, had pit road penalties, and was never a factor as he finished a measly 29th. 6 Martin Truex Jr. Although he gained three spots in the power rankings, Martin Truex Jr. didn’t light it up at Road America, per se. But he did lead the way for JGR, running in the top 10 late before fading to 13th at the finish. 7 Christopher Bell — Christopher Bell was better than 18th, but poor pit work on his final stop of the day prevented him from getting a finish more indicative of where he ran. Bell is now the last driver above the cutoff line on points, intensifying the pressure for him to get his second Cup win. 8 Kevin Harvick The good news is that Kevin Harvick was able to finish 10th at Road America. The bad news is he’s on the outside looking in of the playoff cutoff line, meaning that now would be a really, really good time to end his winless streak. 9 Austin Cindric How about three consecutive top-10 finishes for Austin Cindric? Cindric’s five top 10s are more than several recent Rookie of the Year winners, including William Byron (2018), Daniel Hemric (2019) and Chase Briscoe (2021) 10 Denny Hamlin Strange, but true: A 17th-place run marked Denny Hamlin’s best finish on a road course all season. He also led a lap during a cycle of green flag stops for his troubles. 11 Daniel Suarez With his fourth top-five finish of the season, Daniel Suarez tied his career high for top fives that he set in 2019 while driving for Stewart-Haas Racing. That mark is bound to fall soon as Suarez continues to put together a career year. 12 Joey Logano Psych! After locking up his brakes and running into Bubba Wallace, Logano seemingly expected Wallace to get back at him so much that he ended up running off track. He would finish 27th. 13 William Byron Where in the world is William Byron? Well, at Road America he was 16th — quite a bit off where he was in the springtime, including when he won the first race of the year at Atlanta. 14 Alex Bowman Alex Bowman recovered nicely from his DNF at Nashville, finishing 12th at Road America. It seems like the No. 24 and No. 48 teams are just a touch off of where Hendrick’s No. 5 and No. 9 teams are right now. 15 Tyler Reddick Last week, these humble power rankings said that Tyler Reddick had gone “ice cold.” Now he’s a Cup Series winner, in the playoffs, and the narrative has changed on a dime. Just win, baby. 16 Michael McDowell Michael McDowell continued one of the best stretches of his entire Cup career with an eighth-place finish at Road America. After making the playoffs by winning the Daytona 500 in 2021, it’s going to be fascinating to see if McDowell can really play spoiler this year. 17 Kurt Busch Make no mistake, 23XI Racing’s road course program is pretty off of what their speedway program has been. After finishing second at Nashville, Kurt Busch was anonymous throughout the day at Road America and finished 23rd. 18 Chase Briscoe — Chase Briscoe just missed out on the pole at Road America, then turned in a solid day where he won a stage before finishing 14th. A nice recovery from Nashville and Briscoe’s third top-15 finish in the last five races. 19 Chris Buescher Maybe the Mid-Ohio win in the Xfinity Series way back when should have tipped us off that Chris Buescher is a good road racer. Buescher’s sixth-place run at Road America was his third top 10 in the last four road course races. 20 Ricky Stenhouse Jr. Ricky Stenhouse Jr.’s 19th-place finish marked his second top 20 in a row. Having those in his hip pocket is good, but finishing the job at Atlanta — where Stenhouse led many laps before cutting a tire — would be great for him and his team. 21 Austin Dillon The final laps at Road America were great for RCR as a company, but a disaster for Austin Dillon. A brake failure relegated him to a 31st-place finish, setting him well back of the playoff cutoff line. 22 Erik Jones Given that this weekend was Richard Petty’s 85th birthday, Erik Jones was surely looking for a good run to gift to his car owner. He ended up 26th instead — maybe it’s the thought that counts? 23 Aric Almirola The cutoff line being bumped down was bad news for Aric Almirola. With Tyler Reddick’s win and a 28th-place run for Almirola, he’s now 47 points back of the cutoff line. 24 Justin Haley Though Justin Haley finished 24th, Road America marked a somewhat good points day for him and his team. Haley finished ninth in Stage 1 and sixth in Stage 2 to earn some extra points. 25 Ty Dillon With 184 Cup starts to date, Ty Dillon now has the most experience of any active driver who has not won a Cup race. For now, he’ll be satisfied with another top 20 at Road America. 26 Cole Custer Cole Custer was headed toward a third place finish in the Xfinity Series race when he had a brake failure and crashed heavily. Sunday, nothing went wrong and he was able to get his first top 15 since Dover. Maybe he got all the bad luck out of the way on Saturday? 27 Bubba Wallace Bubba Wallace must be chomping at the bit to get back to Atlanta. Wallace almost won there in March, and anything from a victory to a top five would help turn his summer and his season around in a hurry. 28 Harrison Burton — Harrison Burton scored some stage points at Road America, and then led a lap during the final cycle of green flag pit stops. It marked the first lap that Burton has led in Cup since he led three in the Daytona 500. 29 Brad Keselowski If there’s anything that can reassure Brad Keselowski after a crash and a 33rd-place finish, it’s the fact that of the five first time winners in Cup this year, four of them — Cindric, Briscoe, Chastain and Reddick — all drove for Brad Keselowski Racing in the Truck Series. That’s the mark of a good owner. 30 Todd Gilliland — Todd Gilliland had a pretty impressive save while racing for position with Kevin Harvick at Road America. When Kevin Harvick ran his first road course race in June 2001, Gilliland was one year and one month old.

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