NASCAR Power Rankings: Chase Elliott stays No. 1


How great is Chase Elliott‘s season? On Sunday at Pocono he didn’t lead a lap and still won the race.

Of course, the circumstances were a bit weird. Denny Hamlin and Kyle Busch crossed the finish line ahead of Elliott, but Elliott was declared the winner after Hamlin and Busch were disqualified.

As far as the rankings go, it didn’t really matter if Elliott finished first or third. It was another excellent week for the Georgia driver, who now has five straight top-two finishes, including three wins across that stretch.

Elliott remains atop the NBC Sports NASCAR Power Rankings for another week.

The Cup Series moves on to the Indianapolis Motor Speedway road course Sunday (2:30 p.m. ET, NBC).

NBC Sports NASCAR Power Rankings

1. Chase Elliott (Last week: No. 1) — The summer stretch is being very kind to the former series champion. Five straight top-two finishes is a remarkable statistic in a season filled with crashes.

2. Kyle Larson (Last week: No. 3) — Larson moves up a spot this week after a fifth-place run and 18 laps led at Pocono. He has three top fives in the past five races.

3. Ross Chastain (Last week: No. 2) — Is the Ross Chastain-Denny Hamlin drama at an end now that Hamlin exacted a bit of revenge by limiting Chastain’s racing space late in the Pocono race? Maybe. Chastain’s crash dropped him to a 32nd-place finish, and he lost a spot in the rankings.

4. Christopher Bell (Last week: No. 5) — Bell has a win and a fourth in the past two races and drove a Joe Gibbs Racing car that was legal Sunday. Continuing to illustrate improved consistency,, he jumps from fifth to fourth this week.

5. Kevin Harvick (Last week: No. 6) — Harvick’s long winless streak continues, but he had a car strong enough to challenge for a top three Sunday at Pocono. He lost that chance when he became a victim of the Chastain-Hamlin drama late in the race.

6. Ryan Blaney (Last week: No. 4) — Blaney had a rough day at Pocono, finishing 31st after a late-race crash. His season is trending downward (three finishes of 11th or worse in the past four races).

7. Martin Truex Jr. (Last week: No. 8) — A seventh-place finish at Pocono keeps Truex in the playoff discussion.

8. Joey Logano (Last week: No. 7) — Logano was practically invisible at Pocono, finishing 20th and showing little power in either of the first two stages (finishing 15th and 20th).

9. Tyler Reddick (Last week: not ranked) — Reddick returns to the rankings with a strong second-place run at Pocono despite racing under the shadow of his recent announcement that he’ll leave Richard Childress Racing for 23XI Racing in 2024.

10. Daniel Suarez (Last week: not ranked) — A third place at Pocono gave Suarez his ninth top-10 finish of the season and his fifth in the past six races.

Dropped out: Kyle Busch (No. 9 last week; Did that tape help?); Denny Hamlin (No. 10 last week; see Kyle Busch).

COTA Xfinity starting lineup: AJ Allmendinger takes pole


AJ Allmendinger, who won this race a year ago, will start on the pole for Saturday’s Xfinity race at Circuit of the Americas.

Allmendinger earned the pole with a lap of 92.173 mph Friday on the 20-turn, 3.41-mile road course.

MORE: COTA Xfinity starting lineup

He will be joined on the front row Sammy Smith (91.827 mph).
Ty Gibbs (91.665) will start third. Sheldon Creed (91.652) qualified fourth. Parker Kligerman (91.195) will start fifth.

Cup driver William Byron will start ninth. Byron’s time was disallowed for cutting the esses. Cole Custer, who will start 10th, didn’t make a lap in the final round of qualifying.

Cup driver Aric Almirola (91.269) qualified 13th. Truck Series racer Carson Hocevar (90.669) will start 17th. Alex Labbe (90.476) will start 23rd. He’s filling in for Josh Williams, who is serving a one-race suspension for parking his car at the start/finish line of last weekend’s race at Atlanta.

COTA Truck starting lineup: Ross Chastain wins pole


Ross Chastain will start on the pole for Saturday’s Craftsman Truck Series race at Circuit of the Americas.

Chastain earned the top starting spot in Friday’s qualifying with a lap of 91.877 mph. He’ll be joined on the front row by Kyle Busch (91.490 mph).

More: COTA Truck starting lineup

Ty Majeski qualified third with a lap of 91.225 mph. Rookie Nick Sanchez (90.993) will start fourth, and Christian Eckes (90.937) will complete the top five.

Alex Bowman failed to make the race. Bowman had a flat right front on his qualifying lap.

Tyler Reddick leads Cup practice at COTA


Tyler Reddick posted the fastest lap in Friday’s Cup practice at Circuit of the Americas.

Reddick, who won two road course races last season, topped the field in his 23XI Racing Toyota with a lap of 92.989 mph. Kyle Larson was next, posting a lap of 92.618 mph around the 3.41-mile road course.

MORE: COTA Cup practice results

Ross Chastain, who won this race a year ago, was third on the speed chart in practice with a lap of 92.520 mph. He was followed by Kyle Busch (92.498 mph) and Daniel Suarez (92.461 mph).

Jordan Taylor, subbing for the injured Chase Elliott in the No. 9 car for Hendrick Motorsports, was 10th on the speed chart in practice after a lap of 92.404 mph.

Former world champion Jenson Button, driving for Rick Ware Racing, was 28th in practice with a lap of 91.759 mph. Former world champion Kimi Raikkonen, driving the Project 91 car for Trackhouse Racing, was 32nd in practice after a lap of 91.413 mph.

Seven-time Cup champion Jimmie Johnson, driving in his first race for Legacy Motor Club since the Daytona 500, was 36th in practice after a lap of 91.072 mph. IndyCar driver Conor Daly was last among the 39 cars in practice with a lap of 90.095 mph.

Cup qualifying is Saturday. The series races Sunday.


Saturday COTA Xfinity race: Start time, TV info, weather


Austin Hill, the dominant driver in the NASCAR Xfinity Series through the early weeks of the season, will be looking for his first Xfinity road course win Saturday.

Hill has won three of the season’s first five races, scoring victories at Daytona, Las Vegas and Atlanta.

Hill has been close in previous road course runs. He has a second at COTA, a third at Portland, a fourth at Road America and a ninth at Indianapolis.

MORE: Dr. Diandra takes a look at top Cup road course drivers

Kyle Busch and AJ Allmendinger own wins in the previous Xfinity races at COTA.

Allmendinger and three other Cup Series regulars — Aric Almirola, William Byron and Ty Gibbs — are scheduled to race in the Xfinity event.

Details for Saturday’s Xfinity race at Circuit of the Americas

(All times Eastern)

START: The command to start engines will be given at 5:08 p.m. … The green flag is scheduled at 5:19 p.m.

PRERACE: Xfinity garage opens at 2 p.m. … The invocation will be given by Jordan Thiessen of Pit Boss Grills at 5 p.m. … The national anthem will be performed by recording artist Payton Keller at 5:01 p.m.

DISTANCE: The race is 46 laps (156 miles) on the 3.41-mile track.

STAGES: Stage 1 ends at Lap 14. Stage 2 ends at Lap 30.

TV/RADIO: FS1 will broadcast the race at 5 p.m. … NASCAR RaceDay airs at 4 p.m. on FS1. … Performance Racing Network coverage begins at 4:30 p.m. and can be heard at …SiriusXM NASCAR Radio will carry the PRN broadcast.

FORECAST: Weather Underground — Mainly sunny. Temperature of 82 at race time. No chance of rain.

LAST TIME: AJ Allmendinger won last March’s Xfinity race at COTA. Austin Hill was two seconds behind in second place. Cole Custer finished third.