NASCAR Cup Series
NASCAR Power Rankings: Christopher Bell makes first appearance at No. 1
NASCAR Cup Series

NASCAR Power Rankings: Christopher Bell makes first appearance at No. 1

Published Mar. 26, 2024 12:09 p.m. ET

William Byron became the first repeat winner of the 2024 season as he captured the victory Sunday at Circuit of the Americas.

The top-four spots in the rankings here are all drivers who have won this year.

But to be considered to have true "power," a finish in the top-5 or the top-10 is a big deal – Chase Elliott dropped off this list as he would have been the only driver in the rankings without a top-5 this season. So in the comments this week, a look at top-5s and top-10s over the first six races.

1. Christopher Bell (LW: 3)


Bell, the winner at Phoenix, has three top-5s and four top-10s this year. The Joe Gibbs Racing driver has posted three consecutive top-10 finishes with the win at Phoenix, a 10th at Bristol and then second at COTA. The three top-5s are tied for best in the series along with three others on this list — Ty Gibbs, Ryan Blaney and Alex Bowman.

2. William Byron (LW: 7)

Byron's two top-5s this year are his wins at Daytona and COTA, and that's why he's second on this list and not on top of it. In fact, the Hendrick Motorsports driver has three finishes of 17th or worse this year. He has three top-10s with a 10th at Las Vegas.

'When we're on, we're firing on all cylinders!' - William Byron on winning at COTA

3. Kyle Larson (Last Week: 1)

Larson has two top-5s this year — his win at Vegas and then the fifth at Bristol. He hasn't even finished top-10 in the other four races. Maybe most surprising is that Larson is a driver known for his speed, and yet the Hendrick driver has qualified in the top-10 just three times this year.

4. Denny Hamlin (LW: 2)

Hamlin's victory at Bristol is his only top-5 this year and he has just two top-10s (he was eighth at Las Vegas). Those aren't great stats considering he has led laps in every race this year. But it does mean that the JGR driver has acquired stage points as he sits fourth in the standings.

5. Ty Gibbs (LW: 6)

Gibbs leads the Cup Series with five top-10 finishes and is tied for the most top-5s with three. He has rattled off five consecutive top-10s with top-5s in three of the last four races. The JGR driver's best so far: thirds at Phoenix and COTA.

Ty Gibbs talks about his strong day at COTA | NASCAR on FOX

6. Ross Chastain (LW: 9)

Chastain seemed posed to get his second top-5 of the year at COTA but he settled for seventh as it appeared he lost the handling on his car and also had a slower final pit stop. His best this year was a fourth at Phoenix, but he does have four top-7 finishes in his last five races. That type of consistency makes him dangerous. The Trackhouse driver is one of only three drivers on this list who does not drive for JGR or Hendrick.

7. Ryan Blaney (LW: 4)

Blaney rattled off three consecutive top-5s from Atlanta (second) to Las Vegas (third) to Phoenix (fifth). He has finished outside the top 10 in the other three races. The Team Penske driver has been the best Ford throughout the year and is the only Ford on this list.

8. Martin Truex Jr. (LW: 5)

Truex leads the Cup point standings thanks to his four top-10s, but he has only one top-5 finish with a second at Bristol. All four of his top-10s have come in the last four races, and he has led laps in the last five events. His position on this list is at least partially a victim of circumstance as the JGR driver was caught up in an incident on the opening lap at COTA and rallied throughout the day.

EchoPark Automotive Grand Prix highlights

9. Tyler Reddick (LW: 10)

Reddick has had a feast-or-famine year with three top-10s (second at Vegas, 10th at Phoenix and fifth at COTA) but then three finishes of 29th or worse. The 23XI driver is looking for more consistency in the upcoming races.

10. Alex Bowman (LW: NR)

Bowman enters the rankings after back-to-back fourth-place finishes. He opened the year with a second-place finish at Daytona and then hit a rut with finishes of 27th, 18th and 20th. Bowman's biggest issue? The Hendrick driver has qualified 17th or worse in each of the past five races.

On the verge: Chris Buescher, Kyle Busch, Chase Elliott, Brad Keselowski, 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.


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