NASCAR Power Rankings: Chase Elliott on the rise after Dover win

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A Monday matinee at Dover Motor Speedway saw Chase Elliott get back to victory lane for the first time since July 2021.

The two-day event also provided plenty of jockeying for positions both on the track and in the NBC Sports Power Rankings.

See how the field shakes out after a trip to the Monster Mile:

NASCAR Power Rankings

1. Ross Chastain (Last week: No. 1) Chastain backed up his second career win with another impressive run at Dover to retain the top spot in the rankings. The No. 1 Chevrolet, which carried the face of Trackhouse Racing co-owner Pitbull this weekend, led a career-high 86 laps and held off Martin Truex Jr. for third in a fierce battle that required some aggressive blocks from Chastain. He may have made a new enemy along the way, but Chastain now has six top-three finishes in 11 races.

2. Chase Elliott (Last week: No. 4) Welcome back to victory lane. Wins can quickly change a narrative, and Elliott’s seems to have done just that. Although the Dover win marks his second top-five finish of the year, Elliott has only three finishes outside the top 10 all year (26th — Auto Club; 11th — Phoenix; 14th — Richmond). The 2020 champion holds a 50-point lead over Ryan Blaney in the season standings.

3. Ryan Blaney (Last week: No. 2) Speaking of Blaney, Dover did not go the No. 12 team’s way. Blaney was one of only two drivers to stay out during a late caution in Stage 2 in a gamble by crew chief Jonathan Hassler to win the stage. The gamble paid off in the short term, but Blaney finished 26th and three laps down, marking Blaney’s worst finish since crashing out at Las Vegas where he finished 36th.

4. Kyle Busch (Last week: No. 5) For the first time since the Bristol Night Race in September 2020, Busch led over 100 laps Monday, totaling 103 circuits out front. An untimely caution flew at Lap 325 just as he hit pit road for green-flag pit stops, trapping him a lap down in 17th and forcing him to take a wave-around to restart on the lead lap from the tail of the field. He didn’t rally to win but did charge back for a seventh-place finish. Busch now has an average finish of 5.4 in his last five races, including a win on Bristol Dirt.

5. Alex Bowman (Last week: No. 6) Like Busch, Bowman was trapped a lap down while pitting when AJ Allmendinger‘s tire came detached on the track, necessitating the caution. Bowman fought back for a fifth-place finish at Dover, where he won a season ago, and now claims seven top-10 finishes in the last nine races, including a current three-race streak.

6. William Byron (Last week: No. 3) Dover continued a downward slide for the No. 24 team since Byron nabbed his second win of the year at Martinsville. In the three races since, Byron has finishes of 18th at Bristol Dirt, 15th at Talladega and 22nd at Dover. A crash during practice forced Byron to a backup car. Crew chief Rudy Fugle used strategy early to get Byron track position, but ultimately circumstances didn’t fall in the team’s favor. The team has shown speed, highlighted by 38 laps led at Talladega, but recent results leave much to be desired.

7. Kyle Larson (Last week: No. 8) Larson had a spin Monday at Lap 157 in Dover as the product of a rare on-track mistake, but the No. 5 team recovered for a sixth-place finish. He led 19 laps and overcame the issue for his fourth top-five finish in the last five races. The season started poorly for the defending champion with four finishes of 29th or worse in the first six races. Larson has turned it around and the team is proving how well it can execute.

8. Martin Truex Jr. (Last week: No. 10) Truex was on pace for his third top-five finish in the past five races before a block from Chastain on the final lap sent Truex sliding down the backstretch while battling for third. Truex only led five laps but showed steady speed in the No. 19 Toyota, posting the fourth-best average running position (6.26) in Monday’s race. He left with Dover with a 12th-place finish instead. The 2017 Cup champion struggled at Martinsville (22nd) and Bristol Dirt (21st) but has proven those finishes were more flukes than reality.

9. Joey Logano (Last week: No. 7) Logano’s results are falling fast, a trend continued at Dover with a 29th-place finish. In four of the past six races, the No. 22 Ford has finishes of 17th or worse, including three finishes of 29th or worse. The two exceptions were podium finishes at Martinsville and Bristol Dirt, but the team has failed to prove it can execute well on a consistent basis.

10. Tyler Reddick (Last week: No. 9) Things have gone downhill for Reddick after finishing second at the Bristol Dirt race. Dover was miserable for the No. 8 team. On Saturday, Reddick spun during practice and later hit the outside wall in a separate incident. He hit the wall Sunday on Lap 3 and crashed nose-first into the backstretch wall Monday at Lap 343. In the past two races, Reddick has finishes of 39th (Talladega) and 30th (Dover). The runner-up finish at Bristol is Reddick’s lone top 10 in the past five races.