Kyle Larson saw his winning streak end this past weekend at Pocono Raceway, but it didn’t stop him from remaining No. 1 in this week’s NBC Sports NASCAR Power Rankings.
While it has been his Hendrick Motorsports teammates who have been closest to Larson in recent rankings, Joe Gibbs Racing’s Kyle Busch has moved up to No. 2 after winning Sunday’s race at Pocono and finishing second in Saturday’s race.
MORE: Pocono Takeaways
This week’s rankings see two drivers drop out. Martin Truex Jr. failed to score a top 10 in either. He has one top 10 in the last six races and that drops the driver who has won three times out of this week’s rankings. Also dropping out is Ross Chastain. Taking their spots are Team Penske teammates Ryan Blaney and Brad Keselowski.
NASCAR Power Rankings after Pocono
1. Kyle Larson (Last week: No. 1) — Came a blown tire and empty fuel cell away of sweeping Pocono and continuing his winning streak. He was leading on the final lap when his tire blew and he hit the wall, finishing ninth in Saturday’s race. He went to a backup car for Sunday’s race and suffered nose damage early in the event. Still, he worked his way through the field and finished second to Kyle Busch. If Busch had run out of fuel, then Larson would have won. Said Larson: “Happy about the effort for sure all weekend.”
2. Kyle Busch (Last week: No. 4) — He finished second on Saturday, leading the most laps. Then he won Sunday, leading the second-most laps. He had the highest driver ratings for both Pocono races and led more than 20% of the laps in the two races. Busch has two wins and six top-five finishes in the last nine races.
3. William Byron (Last week: No. 3) — Was poised to win Sunday’s Cup race before he ran short of of fuel in the final laps and finished 12th. He placed third in Saturday’s race. Byron has five top-five finishes in the last eight races.
4 Chase Elliott (Last week: No. 2) — In his last three races, he’s had a 13th-place finish turn into a disqualification because of five loose lug nuts at Nashville, a 12th-place finish Saturday at Pocono and a 27th-place result Sunday at Pocono after contact with Christopher Bell forced Elliott to pit twice.
5. Alex Bowman (Last week: No. 6) — After valiantly holding off Kyle Larson for several laps Saturday at Pocono, Bowman lost the lead and had apologized to his team on the radio when Larson’s tire blew, giving Bowman his third win of the season. He finished seventh on Sunday. He has two wins and six top 10s in the last seven races.
6. Denny Hamlin (Last week: No. 5) — Short of fuel, he had to pit from the lead, allowing Kyle Busch to win Sunday’s race. Hamlin remains the points leader. He has a two-point lead on Kyle Larson after losing eight points to Larson on the weekend.
7. Joey Logano (Last week: No. 7) — Scored top 10s in both Pocono races, giving him six top 10s in the last seven races.
8. Ryan Blaney (Last week: Unranked) — Placed fifth Saturday and sixth Sunday. He has three top 10s in the last four races.
9. Kevin Harvick (Last week: No. 10) — Back-to-back top 10s at Pocono gives him three in a row this season. Said Harvick: “Our cars are a little bit better, but we still need some speed. I feel like we are better than we were. I think our team just does a good job of getting good finishes as well.”
10. Brad Keselowski (Last week: Unranked): Snapped a six-race streak of finishes outside the top 10 by scoring a 10th Saturday and a third Sunday at Pocono. He also led the most laps in Sunday’s race.
Dropped out: Martin Truex Jr. (No. 8), Ross Chastain (No. 9)