NASCAR Power Rankings: Martin Truex Jr. smokes field to stay No. 1

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No one was going to take the win away from Martin Truex Jr. last weekend at Darlington Raceway, and no one was going to knock him off the No. 1 spot in the NBC Sports NASCAR Power Rankings.

Might he be No. 1 for the next several weeks? Consider:

# The series goes to Dover this weekend. Truex has finished in the top two in each of the last four races there.

# The series races at Circuit of the Americas for the first time on May 23. Truex, who has four career road course wins, was among the three drivers who did the Goodyear tire test there in March.

# Cup races May 30 in the Coca-Cola 600. Truex has won three of the last eight oval races at Charlotte.

# The series races at Sonoma on June 6. Truex has won the last two Cup races there.

So, who will knock Truex off the top spot?

Power Rankings after Darlington

1. Martin Truex Jr. (Last week: No. 1) — Scores third win of the season and does it in dominating style, leading 84.6% of the laps. Said Truex after the race about his competitors: “There’s so much data and analysis available today, you can’t get away with anything. Like they’ll all be looking at what I did all day today throughout the summer until we come back here.” His three wins are all at playoff tracks: Darlington (playoff opener), Martinsville (sets Championship 4 field) and Phoenix (championship race).

2. William Byron (Last week: No. 2) — Finished fourth to score his 10th consecutive top-10 finish. The last time it happened at Hendrick Motorsports was 2007 and Byron would not turn 10 until after that season. He has an average finish of 5.2 in the last five races. He has three top-five finishes in the last five races.

3. Denny Hamlin (Last week: No. 3) — His fifth-place finish at Darlington is his ninth top five in 12 races this year, but he seeks his first win of the season. Hamlin describes not wining this way: “If you flip a coin like 50,000 times. Half the times it’s going to be tails. Half of it is going to be heads. For us, the first 11 races, we’ve had heads and its flipped tails. Eventually, the odds start coming back to you.”

4. Ryan Blaney (Last week: No. 4) — His eighth-place finish at Darlington is his sixth finish of 11th or better in the last seven races. He’s also scored points in 14 of the last 16 stages. 

5. Kyle Larson (Last week: No. 6) — Darlington runner-up finish broke streak of three consecutive finishes outside the top 10. After not scoring points in seven of eight stages, Larson has had points in each of the last four stages.

6. Kyle Busch (Last week: No. 9) — His third-place finish gives him four top 10s in the last five races, including his Kansas win. He has led a lap in each of the last four races. He never led more than four races in a row last season.

7. Kevin Harvick (Last week: No. 8) — He finished sixth at Darlington for his ninth top 10 of the season. Harvick has finished sixth or better in each of the last three races

8. Joey Logano (Last week: No. 7) — Pit road speeding penalty ended any hope for a top-five finish at Darlington. He crossed the finish line 13th. After a stretch of three top 10s in a row, Logano has gone three consecutive races without a top 10.

9. Brad Keselowski (Last week: No. 5) — Rough day at Darlington. He finished three laps behind the leaders in 24th. He has two top-10 finishes in the last seven races. Keselowski does have five top-five finishes this season and that is tied for second this season, trailing only Denny Hamlin’s total of nine.

10. Chris Buescher (Last week: Unranked) — Climbs into the top 10 after back-to-back top-10 finishes. He placed eighth at Kansas and ninth at Darlington. He ran in the top 15 in 95.2% of the laps at Darlington. He had back-to-back top 10s only twice last season.

Dropped out: Christopher Bell (No. 10)

Where are they now? Buddy Parrott enjoying down time


Buddy Parrott played outsized roles in two of the most dramatic races in NASCAR history.

Now 83 years old and retired from the sport since 2001, Parrott looks back on those two days as highlights of a career that began in the early 1970s.

In the 1990 Daytona 500, champion driver Dale Earnhardt seemed on course to end his frustration in NASCAR’s biggest event. He held the lead roaring down the backstretch on the last lap. Suddenly, Earnhardt slowed with a blown tire.

The lead was inherited by Derrike Cope, who charged to the checkered flag to score one of racing’s biggest upsets.

Parrott was Cope’s crew chief.

MORE: NASCAR Power Rankings: Memorable quotes through the years

In 1984, Richard Petty edged Cale Yarborough to win the summer race at Daytona International Speedway. It was Petty’s 200th – and final – win.

Parrott was Petty’s crew chief.

Those victories were high marks in a long pit-road career that saw Parrott’s drivers win dozens of races. He worked with, among others, Darrell Waltrip, Rusty Wallace, Jeff Burton and Petty and for team owners Jack Roush and Roger Penske.

Parrott remains active at 83, although he admits to having moved to a slower gear.

“I haven’t been living on the edge,” Parrott told NBC Sports. “I’ve been taking it really easy. I told my sons when you get to be 80 you can do anything you want because basically you’ve already done it.”

MORE: NASCAR, ARCA 2023 schedules

His strongest current connection to NASCAR is as a voter in the annual Hall of Fame balloting.

After more than 20 years roaming pit roads as a crew chief, Parrott moved into a general manager role at Roush Racing in 1997. He retired four years later and didn’t look back.

“I finally told Jack one day, ‘I don’t have time to ride my motorcycle,’ ” Parrott said. “He looked at me and said, ‘What do you want to do about it?’ I said, ‘I’m ready to retire.’ He told me I could work whatever schedule I wanted, but I decided that was it. I didn’t have a going-away thing or whatever.”

Parrott spent much of the next 15 years traveling with his wife, Judy, who died in 2016, and playing with his grandchildren.

“I had a great time in retirement because Judy was ready and I was ready,” he said. “We had a lot of fun. We’d go to Florida for two and three months at a time. I’m so happy that I didn’t hang on and go to the shop every day and try to find something to do. I spent that time with Judy, and we had 16 years of good retirement.”

Parrott, a native of Gastonia, N.C., lives in Statesville, N.C. His sons, Todd and Brad, also were NASCAR crew chiefs.

MORE: Jody Ridley’s Dover win an upset for the ages

Parrott is perhaps best remembered as crew chief for Rusty Wallace, Team Penske and the No. 2 black cars sponsored by Miller Lite. From 1992-94, they won 19 races and were consistently competitive at the front.

“I still get a lot of cards sent to me to sign from those years,” Parrott said. “I can say that was some of the happiest times I had. Those years with Rusty – and then with Jack Roush – really stand out. And who in the hell could not have fun having a beer sponsor?”



NASCAR Awards to air at 8 p.m. ET Saturday on Peacock


NASHVILLE, Tenn. — Joey Logano didn’t need much time to answer the question.

Who would the two-time Cup champion want to introduce him at the NASCAR Awards?

Racing icon Mario Andretti, Logano immediately said. 

And there was Andretti on the stage at the Music City Center introducing Logano, the 2022 Cup champion. Watch that and the rest of the night’s festivities at 8 p.m. ET Saturday on Peacock. You can order Peacock here.

MORE: See the red carpet scene

MORE: Sport shows support for Gibbs family at NASCAR Awards

NBC Sports’ Marty Snider and Kim Coon co-hosted the show along with Fox Sports’ Kaitlyn Vincie. The Cup, Xfinity and Truck champions were honored. Xfinity champion Ty Gibbs, whose father died hours after Gibbs won the Xfinity title last month, received a standing ovation and thanked the industry for its support.

The highlight of the night for Logano was having Andretti on stage to introduce him.

“He’s just been a great role model for me, not only as a racer, but as a person for so long,” Logano said afterward. “I had his picture on my wall. I looked at Mario Andretti before I went to sleep every night as a kid. I thought it was the coolest thing that he signed it to me.”

NASCAR Awards and Champion Celebration
Cup champion Joey Logano on stage with racing icon Mario Andretti during the NASCAR Awards in Nashville, Tennessee. (Photo by Sean Gardner/Getty Images)

Logano and Andretti have gotten to know each other through the years. Logano ran a throwback car that honored Andretti at Darlington Raceway in 2015 and 2021.

But none of that compared to being on stage with Andretti.

“That’s still like a pinch-me moment,” Logano said. “It’s Mario Andretti. He’s the man. The fact that he knows my name I think is really, really cool.”

Catch the NASCAR Awards at 8 p.m. ET Saturday on Peacock

Sport shows support for Gibbs family at NASCAR Awards


NASHVILLE, Tenn. — The NASCAR community showed its support Thursday at the NASCAR Awards for the Gibbs family, grieving the death of Coy Gibbs on Nov. 6. 

During his interview on stage, car owner Joe Gibbs thanked the NASCAR industry for its support. (The NASCAR Awards show airs at 8 p.m. ET Saturday on Peacock).

Coy Gibbs, son of Joe Gibbs and father of Xfinity champion Ty Gibbs, died hours after seeing Ty Gibbs win the series title last month at Phoenix Raceway. Coy Gibbs, 49, was the vice chairman and chief operating officer at Joe Gibbs Racing.

Steve O’Donnell, NASCAR chief operating officer, introduced Ty Gibbs at the NASCAR Awards and noted that “everyone gathered tonight is all a part of the NASCAR family, and I know I speak for everyone that the entire NASCAR family is 100% percent behind this young man.”

Ty Gibbs received a standing ovation.

“Thank you,” he told the crowd, “that means a lot.”

Ty Gibbs spoke for less than a minute, thanking his team, sponsors, fans and the NASCAR community.

He closed his speech by saying “And thanks to my family. I love you. I hope everybody has a great offseason. Enjoy it. Thank you for all the support. Thank you for all the claps. I really appreciate it.”

Ty Gibbs spoke to the media earlier Thursday. Asked how he was doing, he said: “I’ve been doing good. Thank you for asking and definitely appreciate you guys. We’ve been doing good, doing a lot of stuff this week. … It’s been fun to experience this stuff.”

Asked about Joe Gibbs addressing the organization after Coy’s death, Ty Gibbs politely said: “For right now, I’m not going to touch on any of that subject at all. I’m just going to stick with all the racing questions and go from there.”

Cup champion Joey Logano said he spent time with 20-year-old Ty Gibbs on Wednesday at the champion’s dinner.

Logano said he told Ty Gibbs that “we’re here for you. You need something reach out.”

Brennan Poole joins Bayley Currey at JD Motorsports for 2023


Brennan Poole will join Bayley Currey at JD Motorsports for the 2023 NASCAR Xfinity season, the team announced Friday.

Poole will drive the No. 6 car for the full season. Currey returns to the team’s No. 4 car for the season. Currey scored five top-15 finishes last season for the organization.

JD Motorsports is planning to run the No. 0 car next season. No driver or sponsor has been announced for that ride.

“We’re full throttle here and getting ready to go,” Davis said in a statement from the team. “Bayley and Brennan are signed on and looking forward to chasing races and points next year. We’re actively moving along looking for sponsor commitments and for drivers and sponsors for the No. 0 car.”

“We’ve always taken the approach here that we want to go after the series with multiple cars, and that’s how we’re looking toward 2023. The new schedule is very interesting and provides new challenges to our drivers and team members.”

The 2023 Xfinity season begins Feb. 18 at Daytona International Speedway.