NASCAR Power Rankings: Kyle Larson finishes year No. 1


Kyle Larson completed a dominant season by winning the Cup title Sunday to finish the season No. 1 in the NBC Sports NASCAR Power Rankings.

Larson’s victory at Phoenix was his 10th of the season, making him the first driver to win as many races since Jimmie Johnson in 2007.

Joey Logano made it back into the top 10, knocking out Christopher Bell.

NASCAR Power Rankings after Phoenix  

1. Kyle Larson (Last week: No. 1) — To the champion go the spoils. He won five of the 10 playoff races, tying Tony Stewart’s record in 2011. Larson won four of the last five races of the season. He led a record 1,015 laps in the playoffs. Larson finished the season with 10 points wins and added a victory in the All-Star Race. He led 2,581 laps, the most laps led in a season since Jeff Gordon led 2,610 laps in 1995.

2. Denny Hamlin (Last week: No. 2) — Falls short of winning a championship again, but he finished with 1,502 laps led and 25 top 10s, his most in a season. He finished with 19 top fives to tie his best mark in that category. Hamlin scored two wins, both in the playoffs.

3. Martin Truex Jr. (Last week: No. 4) — He won four races this season and finished second in the points for the third time in the last four seasons. He had 13 top fives and 20 top 10s this season.

4. Chase Elliott (Last week: No. 3) — He won two races. His 15 top fives tied his career best. He had 21 top 10s.

5. Kevin Harvick (Last week: No. 5) — Finished fifth in the points. After winning nine times in 2020, he failed to win a Cup race in 2021. It’s his first winless season since 2009. He had 10 top fives and 24 top 10s.

6. Ryan Blaney (Last week: No. 8) — Won a career-high three times this season. He had 11 top fives and 20 top 10s.

7. Kyle Busch (Last week: No. 6) — Won two races. Scored 14 top fives and 22 top 10s.

8. William Byron (Last week: No. 7) — Won once. Had 12 top fives and 20 top 10s.

9. Joey Logano (Last week: Unranked) — Won once. Had 10 top fives and 19 top 10s.

10. Alex Bowman (Last week: No. 10) —  Won a career-high four races but inconsistency was a key. He had eight top fives and 16 top 10s.

Dropped out: Christopher Bell (Last week: No. 9)

Justin Haley replaces Kyle Busch in Kaulig car for Xfinity race


Justin Haley will drive Kaulig Racing’s No. 10 car in Monday morning’s scheduled NASCAR Xfinity Series race at Charlotte Motor Speedway.

Haley replaces Cup Series regular Kyle Busch, who was scheduled to drive for Kaulig in the 300-miler. The race was postponed from Saturday to Monday because of weather, giving NASCAR a 900-mile doubleheader at the track.

Busch decided to concentrate on the Coca-Cola 600 Cup race, scheduled for a  3 p.m. start.

Haley also will race in the 600.

Ty Gibbs is scheduled to run in both races.

Charlotte Cup race postponed to Monday by weather


CONCORD, N.C. — All-day rain Sunday forced the postponement of the Coca-Cola 600 NASCAR Cup Series race to Monday.

The postponement means that Charlotte Motor Speedway is scheduled to host 900 miles of stock car racing Monday. A 300-mile Xfinity Series race, originally scheduled Saturday and first postponed to noon Monday, has been rescheduled for 11 a.m. ET Monday (FS1, Performance Racing Network, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio). The Cup race is scheduled to start at 3 p.m. (Fox, Performance Racing Network, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio).

Sunday’s Cup race was scheduled to start at 6:21 p.m. ET, but light rain was still falling at that time in the speedway area near Charlotte. Rain intensified a few minutes later and, despite an evening forecast that showed slight improvement, officials decided at 6:30 p.m. to postpone the race.

Monday’s forecast calls for a 34% chance of rain at the start of the Xfinity race and a 30% chance at the start of the Cup race.

William Byron will start the race from the pole after qualifying was washed out Saturday night.

RFK Racing gains sponsorship from submarine recruiting group


CONCORD, N.C. — NASCAR racing and submarines? Yes.

RFK Racing announced Sunday at Charlotte Motor Speedway that it has entered a partnership with BlueForge Alliance, which is involved in securing workers for the U.S. Navy’s Submarine Industrial Base (SIB) program. will be a primary sponsor for RFK drivers Brad Keselowski and Chris Buescher in 10 Cup Series races this year and in 18 races per season beginning in 2024.

The sponsorship will showcase the careers related to the submarine-building program across the nation.

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“I’m proud to support a cause of such vital significance to our country with this new partnership,” Keselowski said. “The synergies between a NASCAR team and our military’s needs to stay on track fast are countless. We hope to inspire the workforce of the next generation across the country when they see RFK race and hear our message.”

The sponsorship will support the mission to recruit, hire, train, develop and retain the SIB workforce that will build the Navy’s next generation of submarines, the team said.

“We are excited and grateful to be teaming with RFK Racing to drive awareness of the thousands of steady, well-paying manufacturing jobs available across the nation. Innovation, working with purpose and service to others are hallmarks of both of our organizations,” said Kiley Wren, BlueForge chief executive. “Together, we aim to inspire NASCAR fans and all Americans to pursue career opportunities that will support our national defense.”

Kyle Larson visits Indianapolis Motor Speedway to survey the scene


Former NASCAR champion Kyle Larson, who is scheduled to run the Indianapolis 500 in 2024 as part of an Indy-Charlotte “double,” visited the Indianapolis Motor Speedway garage area Sunday on Indianapolis 500 race day.

Larson said he wanted to familiarize himself with the Indy race-day landscape before he becomes immersed in the process next year.

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Larson later returned to Charlotte, where was scheduled to drive in the Coca-Cola 600 Sunday night. Next year, he’s scheduled to run both races.

“I love racing,” Larson told NBC Sports. “I love competing in the biggest races. In my opinion, this is the biggest race in the world. I wanted to be a part of it for a long time, and I finally feel like the timing is right. It’s pretty cool to have a dream come true.

“I wanted to come here and kind of experience it again and get to experience how crazy it is again before I’m in the middle of it next year. I kind of want as little surprise as possible next year.”

In the 2024 500, Larson will be one of four drivers with the Arrow McLaren team.

Earlier this month, Larson and Hendrick Motorsports vice chairman Jeff Gordon attended an Indy 500 practice day.

Larson said Sunday he hasn’t tested an Indy car.

“I don’t know exactly when I’ll get in the car,” he said. “I’ve had no sim (simulator) time yet. I’ve kind of stayed back. I didn’t want to ask too many questions and take any focus on what they have going on for these couple of weeks. I’m sure that will pick up after today.

“I look forward to the challenge. No matter how this experience goes, I’m going to come out of it a better race car driver.”