After finishing third in the All-Star Race, Kyle Busch is back atop this week’s NBC Sports Power Rankings – although it was not a unanimous decision.
The real story this week is Kyle Larson. Although it was a non-points event, Larson’s win in the All-Star Race propelled him from not even in last week’s rankings to No. 3 this week. Larson is one of three drivers who went from unranked last week to into this week’s top 10. Also making a big jump from last week was Kevin Harvick (from 7th to 2nd).
Here’s how this week’s Power Rankings look heading into the Coca-Cola 600:
1. Kyle Busch (38 points): Finished third in All-Star Race but climbs the rankings for his rant on the radio late in the race. If you can’t win .… But he did win the Truck race and finished the year winning all five of his starts. Last week: 3rd.
2. Kevin Harvick (32 points): Once again, falls short of victory lane. Pit crew mistakes again. Will they finally get things fixed in time for the race that typically has the most pit stops of the season in it? Last week: 7th.
3. Kyle Larson (30 points): Will the $1 million man build upon his riches to earn some wins that will actually count towards the playoffs? Last week: unranked.
4. Joey Logano (24 points): Strong run at the end to secure top-five finish in All-Star Race. Could be a big factor in the 600. Last week: 8th.
5. Chase Elliott (22 points): Things didn’t go his way. Hey, he has 600 miles this weekend to make things happen. Last week: 1st.
6. Alex Bowman (17 points): With three straight runner-ups and eighth in the All-Star Race, a win could be right around the corner – perhaps as early as Sunday. Last week: 2nd.
7. Bubba Wallace (14 points): Storybook night – stage win in Open and fifth-place finish in All-Star Race – gave him an emotional boost that may lead to better things to come. Last week: unranked.
8. William Byron (10 points): Strong move to win the first stage in Monster Open and then finishes the night with a ninth-place finish in the All-Star Race. Last week: unranked.
9. Martin Truex Jr. (9 points): Fast car but then later had issues and finished 10th. Last week: 9th.
(tie) 10. Clint Bowyer (7 points): Punched his ticket to a 12th-place finish, then went out and punched Ryan Newman on pit road. Will their feud flare up again on Sunday? Last week: 4th.
(tie) 10. Kurt Busch (7 points): Late crash left him with a disappointing 17th-place finish (out of 19 drivers). Look for a big comeback in the 600. Given his consistency this season, he’s overdue for a win. Last week: 6th.