NASCAR Power Rankings: Kyle Larson strengthens hold on No. 1


Kyle Larson keeps rolling and that keeps him atop the NBC Sports NASCAR Power Rankings after his win at Nashville Superspeedway.

“We’ve had probably the best race car on the racetrack for at least a month and a half,” he said last weekend.

MORE: NASCAR on NBC Podcast discusses Kyle Larson’s success in NASCAR and sprint cars

He’s taken advantage of that with wins at the Coca-Cola 600, Sonoma, the NASCAR All-Star Race and Nashville. Larson finished second in the three races before that winning streak.

While Larson keeps a grip on the top of the rankings, change is taking place elsewhere. Ross Chastain and Kevin Harvick move into the top 10 this week.

NASCAR Power Rankings after Nashville

1. Kyle Larson (Last time: No. 1) — Dominating the sport and remains a fan favorite. When he passed Kyle Busch for the lead on Lap 6 at Nashville Superspeedway, the crowd’s roar could be heard over the cars. Larson won four races in a row, including the NASCAR All-Star Race. In the last five points races, Larson has led 915 of 1,246 laps (73.4%). He’s also won 12 stages. He’s collected 32 playoff points. Larson’s run also has him 10 points behind Denny Hamlin for the season points lead.

2. Chase Elliott (Last time: No. 2) — His disqualification for five loose lug nuts at Nashville ended a steak of four consecutive top-three finishes.

3. William Byron (Last time: No. 5) — He finished third after starting at the rear for unapproved adjustments at Nashville. He has four top-five finishes in the last six points races. Moving up to third gives Hendrick Motorsports the top three spots in this week’s NASCAR Power Rankings.

4. Kyle Busch (Last time: No. 3) — He finished 11th at Nashville. He’s placed 11th or better in six of the last seven races. Has scored points in each of the last nine stages.

5. Denny Hamlin (Last time: No. 4) — Points leader finished 21sth at Nashville. He’s placed in the top 10 in four of the last six races.

6. Alex Bowman (Last time: No. 7) — Placed 14th at Nashville. He has four top-10 finishes in the last five races.

7. Joey Logano (Last time: No. 8) — Placed 10th at Nashville. He has four top 10s — including three top fives — in the last five races.

8. Martin Truex Jr. (Last time: No. 6) — He has three wins this season but has not looked like a contender much the last few weeks. His 22nd-place finish at Nashville was his fourth finish of 19th or worse in the last five races. Still ranks second in the series with 18 playoff points. 

9. Ross Chastain (Last time: Unranked) — Career-high runner-up finish at Nashville moves the Chip Ganassi Racing driver into the top 10. He has three top 10s in the last four races.

10. Kevin Harvick (Last time: Unranked) — Fifth-place finish puts him back in the rankings. He has six top 10s in the last eight races.

Dropped out: Tylere Reddick (No. 9), Austin Dillon (No. 10)



NASCAR weekend schedule at World Wide Technology Raceway, Portland


NASCAR’s top three series are racing this weekend in two different locations. Cup and Craftsman Truck teams will compete at World Wide Technology Raceway at Gateway, and the Xfinity Series will compete at Portland International Raceway.

World Wide Technology Raceway at Gateway (Cup and Trucks)

Weekend weather

Friday: Partly cloudy with a high of 87 degrees during Truck qualifying.

Saturday: Sunny. Temperatures will be around 80 degrees for the start of Cup practice and climb to 88 degrees by the end of Cup qualifying. Forecast calls for sunny skies and a high of 93 degrees around the start of the Truck race.

Sunday: Mostly sunny with a high of 92 degrees and no chance of rain at the start of the Cup race.

Friday, June 2

(All times Eastern)

Garage open

  • 1 – 8 p.m. Craftsman Truck Series
  • 4 – 9 p.m. Cup Series

Track activity

  • 6 – 6:30 p.m. — Truck practice (FS1)
  • 6:30 – 7:30 p.m. — Truck qualifying (FS1)

Saturday, June 3

Garage open

  • 8 a.m. – 12:30 p.m.  — Cup Series
  • 12:30 p.m. — Truck Series

Track activity

  • 10 – 10:45 a.m. — Cup practice (FS1, Motor Racing Network, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio)
  • 10:45 a.m. – 12 p.m. — Cup qualifying  (FS1, MRN, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio)
  • 1:30 p.m. — Truck race (160 laps, 200 miles; FS1, MRN, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio)

Sunday, June 4

Garage open

  • 12:30 p.m. — Cup Series

Track activity

  • 3:30 p.m. — Cup race (240 laps, 300 miles; FS1, MRN, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio)


Portland International Raceway (Xfinity Series)

Weekend weather

Friday: Mostly sunny with a high of 77 degrees.

Saturday: Mostly sunny with a high of 73 degrees and no chance of rain around the start of the Xfinity race.

Friday, June 2

(All times Eastern)

Garage open

  • 6-11 p.m. Xfinity Series

Saturday, June 3

Garage open

  • 10 a.m.  — Xfinity Series

Track activity

  • 11:30 a.m. – 12 p.m. — Xfinity practice (No TV)
  • 12 – 1 p.m. — Xfinity qualifying (FS1)
  • 4:30 p.m. — Xfinity race (75 laps, 147.75 miles; FS1, Motor Racing Network, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio)

NASCAR Cup playoff standings after Coca-Cola 600


The severe penalty to Chase Briscoe and his Stewart-Haas Racing team Wednesday for a counterfeit part dropped Briscoe from 17th to 31st in the season standings. Briscoe now must win a race to have a chance at the playoffs.

The penalty came a day after NASCAR suspended Chase Elliott one race for his retaliation in wrecking Denny Hamlin in Monday’s Coca-Cola 600. Elliott is 28th in the points. The 2020 Cup champion also needs to win to have a chance to make the playoffs.

Ten drivers have won races, including Coca-Cola 600 winner Ryan Blaney. That leaves six playoff spots to be determined by points at this time. With 12 races left in the regular season, including unpredictable superspeedway races at Atlanta (July 9) and Daytona (Aug. 26), the playoff standings will change during the summer.

Among those without a win this season are points leader Ross Chastain and former champions Kevin Harvick, Brad Keselowski and Elliott.

Here’s a look at the Cup playoff standings heading into Sunday’s Cup race at World Wide Technology Raceway in Madison, Illinois. Drivers in yellow have won a race and are in a playoff position. Those below the red line after 16th place are outside a playoff spot in the graphic below.

NASCAR issues major penalties to Chase Briscoe team for Charlotte infraction


NASCAR fined crew chief John Klausmeier $250,000 and suspended him six races, along with penalizing Chase Briscoe and the No. 14 Stewart-Haas Racing team 120 points and 25 playoff points each for a counterfeit part on the car.

The issue was a counterfeit engine NACA duct, said Elton Sawyer, NASCAR senior vice president of competition, on Wednesday. That is a single-source part.

MORE: Updated Cup playoff standings

The team stated that it accepts the L3 penalty.

“We had a quality control lapse and a part that never should’ve been on a car going to the racetrack ended up on the No. 14 car at Charlotte,” said Greg Zipadelli in a statement from the team. “We accept NASCAR’s decision and will not appeal.”

Asked how then piece could have aided performance, Sawyer said Wednesday: “Knowing the race team mentality, they don’t do things that would not be a benefit to them in some way, shape or form from a performance advantage.”

The penalty drops Briscoe from 17th in the season standings to 31st in the standings. Briscoe goes from having 292 points to having 172 points. He’ll have to win to make the playoffs. Briscoe has no playoff points at this time, so the penalty puts him at -25 playoff points should he make it.

Briscoe’s car was one of two taken to the R&D Center after Monday’s Coca-Cola 600 for additional tear down by series officials.

The penalty comes a day after NASCAR suspended Chase Elliott one race for wrecking Denny Hamlin in last weekend’s race at Charlotte Motor Speedway.

NASCAR Championship Weekend returns to Phoenix in 2024


Phoenix Raceway will host the championship races for the Cup, Xfinity, Craftsman Truck and ARCA Menards Series in 2024, NASCAR announced Wednesday.

The races will be held Nov. 1-3, 2024. The Cup season finale will be Nov. 3, 2024. The only other Cup race for 2024 that has been announced is the Daytona 500. It will be held Feb. 18, 2024.

Phoenix Raceway has hosted the championship finale for Cup, Xfinity and Trucks since 2020. Chase Elliott won the Cup title there in 2020. Kyle Larson followed in 2021. Joey Logano won the crown there in 2022.

This year’s Cup finale at Phoenix will be Nov. 5 and air on NBC.