The longest race of the NASCAR season was a bit longer because of an hour and a half rain delay but the finish to the 600 miles at Charlotte Motor Speedway made it worth the wait.
After Toyota, then Jimmie Johnson dominated the bulk of the race, it was Austin Dillon’s No. 3 Richard Childress Racing Chevrolet that captured the win and put the iconic number back in Victory Lane for the first time in 17 years.
A crazy day with rain, fuel mileage, and a couple contenders getting wrecked led to some changes in the power rankings heading to Dover.
Check out how the top 25 drivers rank after the Coca-Cola 600:
Martin Truex Jr., +2
Another strong performance at Charlotte Motor Speedway and in 2017 jumps Truex to the top spot of the rankings. He took over the points lead as Kyle Larson had a rough day, too. This 78 team should be seen as the championship favorites.
After a magical start to the season, Larson’s come back to reality in recent weeks. He hit the wall twice at Charlotte and narrowly slipped to second in the points standings. He’s likely eyeing Michigan in a few weeks as a place to grab his second win of the season.
Kevin Harvick, +1
After dominating much of the first three seasons of the elimination style playoff format, Harvick’s had a somewhat quiet year as SHR made the move to Ford. The longer they have to acclimate to the Blue Oval, the more dangerous the No. 4 team will become.
Jamie McMurray, +1
The string of solid results continues for McMurray. He hasn’t finished worse than 12th since a rough day at Martinsville six races ago. He might not get a regular season win but it shouldn’t be an issue to race his way into the playoffs on points.
Getty ImagesGetty Images
Jimmie Johnson, +1
Johnson had one of the best cars all race but couldn’t save enough fuel at the end to capture another win at Charlotte Motor Speedway. We won’t worry too much about the No. 48 team until September arrives and the playoffs start.
Brad Keselowski, -4
Keselowski was the unfortunate victim of a broken part from Jeffrey Earnhardt causing Chase Elliott to slow right in front of him. A big hit and a poor finish slide the driver of the No. 2 Ford down the rankings a bit.
Kyle Busch, +2
It’s not surprising to see Busch climb up a few spots in the rankings. Congrats. (mic drop)
LAT ImagesNigel Kinrade
Clint Bowyer, +1
After a few strong finishes, Bowyer seems to have stagnated around 10th to 15th in recent weeks. We’re still predicting he makes it to Victory Lane before the playoffs but he’s going to need the form he showed at Auto Club and Bristol to return.
Outside of a 23rd-place finish at Kansas, Hamlin has finished 11th or better in four of five races. Joe Gibbs Racing continues to improve and it won’t be a shock to see Hamlin the first JGR Toyota in Victory Lane.
Ricky Stenhouse Jr., no change
Stenhouse had been hot in the weeks surrounding his win at Talladega. He finished 15th at Charlotte, which isn’t bad, but the expectations have risen for the No. 17 team.
Bayne continues to have a car that runs around 10th to 15th all race. The results aren’t bad but without a win, it’ll be hard for Bayne to join his RFR teammate in the playoffs.
Ryan Blaney, no change
There has been some weird bad luck for Blaney over the past month. Outside of a strong fourth-place finish at Kansas, he’s finished outside of the top 20 four of five weeks.
Chase Elliott, -4
Elliott caught a terrible break when a piece of Jeffrey Earnhardt’s car smashed through his grill and blew his car up. It got even worse when Keselowski slammed through him on the frontstretch. Dover, Pocono, and Michigan were three great tracks for Elliott last year.
LAT ImagesRusty Jarrett
Daniel Suarez, +1
Suarez keeps improving each week and is starting to run near the front more often. He’s taking care of his equipment and looks to be trending upward steadily.
Ryan Newman, +1
Newman’s locked into the playoffs and rebounded nicely at Charlotte with a ninth-place finish after a early exit at Kansas.
Austin Dillon, +3
In his fourth full-time Monster Energy Series season, Dillon finally scored a win and took the No. 3 back to Victory Lane. Dillon’s still lacked speed this season so if that doesn’t keep changing, he’ll be an early exit from the playoffs.