NASCAR

NASCAR Power Rankings: Kyle Larson still No. 1 despite failed attempt at ‘The Double'

Christopher Bell's Coke 600 win has him on the rise, but Larson is still the driver to beat despite missing the race.

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Well, that was anticlimactic.

After 249 of 400 laps were completed at the Coca-Cola 600 on Sunday night, rain and lightning hit Charlotte Motor Speedway. Drivers, crews and fans waited out a two-hour delay only for the race to be called due to weather just before midnight local time.

At that point, leader Christopher Bell was deemed the winner of NASCAR’s longest race – which turned out to not hold that title, at least for this year.

Up next is the Enjoy Illinois 300 at Gateway in St. Louis. How does the field stack up with the second half of the regular season underway? Here’s our latest NASCAR power rankings:

1. Kyle Larson

Last week: 1

Larson's attempted at "The Double" -- racing in both the Indy 500 and Coke 600 on the same day -- was unsuccessful.

Just as Larson arrived in North Carolina following his Indy 500 run, the skies opened up. He missed the first 249 laps due to a rain delay in Indy, and then he didn’t even get a chance to get in his car in Charlotte. Justin Allgaier finished a respectable 13th in Larson’s ride – but Larson lost the points lead due to missing the race. He stays atop the power rankings for now thanks to his effort all season.

2. Denny Hamlin

Last week: 2

Hamlin finished fifth but his streak of 17 straight races leading a lap came to an end. On the bright side, Larson’s absence meant Hamlin took over the top spot in the points standings. Hamlin has scored four straight top-five finishes on the year and finished second at Gateway last June.

3. William Byron

Last week: 3

The rain probably hurt Byron more than any other driver. He finished third but had a legitimate chance to win the race after leading 49 laps and winning Stage 1. Byron is up to nine top-10 finishes this season, which is tied for the most of all drivers.

4. Chase Elliott

Last week: 4

Another week, another solid run from Elliott. The No. 9 came home in seventh on Sunday, giving Elliott a remarkable 17 straight finishes inside the top-20 – the longest streak of his career. His 9.6 average finish this season leads all drivers.

5. Tyler Reddick

Last week: 6

A pre-race inspection penalty put Reddick a lap down at the start of the show. But he recovered with a fast Toyota to finish fourth, and he was coming on strong when the rain arrived. The No. 45 had a chance to do even better if the race had gone to its scheduled distance.

6. Martin Truex Jr.

Last week: 5

Truex led eight laps and finished 12th, which isn’t typical of how he usually runs in this race. With his teammates all finishing ahead of him, Truex has to be feeling the pressure to get that first victory of the season. He’s been the most consistent winless driver, but that was the same story in 2022 when he missed the playoffs.

7. Brad Keselowski

Last week: 8

Fresh off his streak-snapping win at Darlington, Keselowski scored his third second-place finish of the season at Charlotte. He’s up to six top-fives through 14 races this year, which is just one off his full-season total of seven last year. Keselowski is a legitimate threat to win every week.

8. Alex Bowman

Last week: 7

That other driver with nine top-10s this season? That would be Bowman, who finished ninth at Charlotte for his fifth-straight top-10 run. While Bowman hasn’t quite shown the race-winning speed of his Hendrick Motorsports teammates, he’s proven to be as consistent as anyone in the field so far.

9. Ty Gibbs

Last week: 10

Gibbs’ sixth-place finish proved to be disappointing after he started on the pole and led 74 laps. The reigning Rookie of the Year is still searching for his first career victory – something that I’ve written almost every week and will continue to write until he finally breaks through. It’s coming soon.

10. Christopher Bell

Last week: First four out

It’s crazy how one win can completely turn your season around. Entering Charlotte, Bell had a 23.8 average finish over his past six races. But the No. 20 team led a race-high 90 laps as Bell won his first crown jewel event. We’ll never know if he would’ve held on through the scheduled race distance, the record book will only show that he won the 2024 Coke 600.

First four out: Ryan Blaney, Joey Logano, Chris Buescher, Ross Chastain

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