NASCAR Power Rankings: Chase Elliott retains No. 1 spot


Kevin Harvick’s solid win Sunday at Michigan International Speedway scrambled the NASCAR Cup Series playoff standings and also created movement in the NBC Sports NASCAR Power Rankings.

Harvick earned a spot on the playoff grid by finally ending a punishing winless streak that had reached 65 races. His team now will be fully engaged for the playoffs, and few will be surprised if he makes a strong run at the championship.

Chase Elliott finished 11th Sunday, an odd race day outside the top 10 for the former series champion. But his overall worksheet keeps him in the top spot in the NBC Sports rankings.

The Cup Series rolls on to Richmond Raceway Sunday (3 p.m. ET, USA Network).

NBC Sports NASCAR Power Rankings

1. Chase Elliott: Last week: No. 1) — Two straight finishes outside the top 10? Is this a slump for a driver who had six straight races inside the top two? The Rankings don’t think so.

2. Kyle Larson (Last week: No. 4) — A pit-road speeding penalty cost Larson Sunday, but he bounced back to finish a solid seventh, marking his eighth straight top 10 at Michigan.

3. Joey Logano (Last week: No. 6) — Logano’s fourth-place run Sunday was his first top five in eight races.

4. Ryan Blaney (Last week: No. 7) — Blaney, who seems to do everything but win, was fifth at MIS. He now is the lone driver on the playoff grid without a victory and will be dancing dangerously over the final three regular-season races if he can’t pick up a win.

5. Christopher Bell (Last week: No. 2) — Bell’s strong run at Michigan soured with 40 laps to go when he and Ross Chastain crashed. Bell finished 26th.

6. Ross Chastain (Last week: No. 3) — Racing on fresher tires, he and Christopher Bell had contact with 40 laps remaining, damaging both cars. Chastain finished 24th.

7. Kevin Harvick (Last week: No. 8) — Remember him? Harvick had not won for 65 consecutive races, but he sparkled over the second half Sunday and won by 2.9 seconds over Bubba Wallace. Harvick suddenly changes from a pretender to a contender.

8. Tyler Reddick (Last week: No. 5) — Engine problems parked Reddick after 110 laps Sunday. His 29th-place finish dropped him three spots in the rankings.

9. Denny Hamlin (Last week: unranked) — Hamlin returns to the top 10 after leading 38 laps and finishing third at Michigan.

10. Bubba Wallace (Last week: unranked)A second place extended Wallace’s top-10 streak to four, his career high, and pushed him into the rankings.

Dropped out: Martin Truex Jr. (No. 9 last week), Kyle Busch (No. 10 last week).

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.”