NASCAR Cup Series
NASCAR Power Rankings: Can anyone unseat Kyle Larson?
NASCAR Cup Series

NASCAR Power Rankings: Can anyone unseat Kyle Larson?

Published May. 21, 2024 12:00 p.m. ET

NASCAR's version of its marathon comes Sunday night when the Cup Series drivers race for 600 miles (more if there's overtime) at Charlotte Motor Speedway (Sunday, 6 p.m. ET on FOX).

With sophisticated driver cooling systems, drivers typically don't fall out of the seat during the race, which can last about 4.5 hours.

But how would these drivers do in an actual 26.2-mile running marathon? Is that in their wheelhouse?

I'll give my thoughts in my power rankings this week. The rankings are based on performance this season, with more weight given to recent races, including the NASCAR All-Star Race this past weekend.


1. Kyle Larson (Last Week: 1)

What can't Larson do? He will start fifth in the Indy 500 this coming Sunday, which oh by the way will be his IndyCar debut. Larson is relatively fit, especially racing fit. Could he do a marathon? Maybe. Wouldn't bet against him.

2. Denny Hamlin (LW: 2)

Hamlin has had a broken back, knee surgery and shoulder surgery over the last 15 years. He isn't running a marathon anytime soon. If told he could have a championship as long as he runs a marathon, he'd be the driver without a championship just because his body probably couldn't take it.

3. Chris Buescher (LW: 6)

Buescher owns a farm. He could work out in the sun for four hours, either on the tractor or doing more physical labor. He probably wouldn't run a marathon unless he's chasing animals.

4. William Byron (LW: 3)

Byron is one of those drivers that probably could run a marathon if he trained for it. He is a hard worker and appears to be in solid shape. He'd prefer golf but if told it would help him win a championship, he'd do it.

5. Chase Elliott (LW: 8)

Elliott is only concerned with things that would make the car go fast. He wouldn't consider a marathon as necessary for a car to go fast. He'd rather go snowboarding for four hours and risk another broken leg than do that.

6. Martin Truex Jr. (LW: 4)

Truex is like Elliott. He'd think training for a marathon is a wasted effort. He'll leave it to others. He'll watch a marathon that goes by the lake where he takes his boat out to go fishing.

Punches thrown between Ricky Stenhouse Jr. and Kyle Busch after All-Star Race

7. Tyler Reddick (LW: 5)

Like Byron, Reddick would be one of those drivers who possibly would enjoy the challenge of a marathon. He'd do it just to accomplish it.

8. Brad Keselowski (LW: 7)

Keselowski has three children, so his biggest concern when it comes to fitness is avoiding a dad bod rather than running 26 miles. While chasing his kids is in his future, a marathon most likely is not.

9. Ty Gibbs (LW: 10)

Of anyone on this list, Gibbs is most likely the one who could do a marathon at the moment or train for one. He's young. He's fit. If some of his pit crew members wanted to do it, he'd do it with them as part of the camaraderie.

10. Ryan Blaney (LW: NR)

Blaney would need a group to train with to probably do a marathon. He'd do it as a team bonding thing, but he doesn't seem to be one who would do it just to do it. He'd have to be convinced.

On the verge: Christopher Bell, Alex Bowman, Ross Chastain, Joey Logano, Michael McDowell, Bubba Wallace

Bob Pockrass covers NASCAR for FOX Sports. He has spent decades covering motorsports, including over 30 Daytona 500s, with stints at ESPN, Sporting News, NASCAR Scene magazine and The (Daytona Beach) News-Journal. Follow him on Twitter @bobpockrass.


Get more from NASCAR Cup Series Follow your favorites to get information about games, news and more