Wednesday, October 4 2023

Kyle Larson probably doesn’t deserve to have dropped out of the top spot of these power rankings as he was involved in a wreck not of his doing at Dover Motor Speedway.

But it’s hard to keep him in the top spot after a 32nd-place finish.

So Christopher Bell is on top after a sixth-place finish and making the most of a good-but-not-great day.

In more unfairness to Hendrick drivers, Alex Bowman dropped out of the power rankings. Sorry, but he’s out for at least three weeks, so he will come back once he returns and resumes running well (assuming that he does run well on his return).

Here’s a look at the power rankings after Dover with an interesting stat for each driver:

1. Christopher Bell (Last week: 2)

Bell is just three points behind Ross Chastain for the top spot in the standings and remains one of the most consistent drivers on the circuit. Here’s the most interesting stat for his season: He doesn’t have a stage win yet this year.


2. Kyle Larson (LW: 1)

Larson was obviously frustrated after Dover and wondered aloud when his luck could change. That might seem weird coming from a driver who has two victories this year. But consider this: He now has five finishes of 29th or worse this year.

3. Ross Chastain (LW: 6)

Chastain looked solid at Dover and even with the stain of the mistake in wrecking Brennan Poole (and in the process also taking out Kyle Larson), he showed that he can put that mistake behind him and keep focused. It is hard to believe this stat: Chastain has now gone 37 races without a Cup victory.

4. William Byron (LW: 4)

Byron led the most laps (193) at Dover but came up short on a day when he had a short-run car and not a long-run car. Here’s his interesting stat: He has led more laps (579) than any other driver this year. That is 19.4 percent of all laps.

5. Martin Truex Jr. (LW: 8)

This is the stat everyone is talking about after Dover: Truex snapped a winless streak of 54 races. Or maybe it’s this one: There are now six sets of brothers who have swept a weekend of races: Rusty-Mike Wallace, Rusty-Kenny Wallace, Kyle-Kurt Busch, Darrell-Michael Waltrip, Ward-Jeff Burton and now Martin-Ryan Truex.

6. Ryan Blaney (LW: 10)

Blaney finished third at a track where Team Penske has struggled in recent years, so he should be happy with that finish at Dover. And here’s also why he should be happy with it: This was his first top-5 finish in 13 Cup starts at Dover.

7. Kyle Busch (LW: 5)

Busch’s mercurial season continues as a speeding penalty on pit road cost him all his track position early in the race. Want an interesting stat? Busch’s victory at Talladega is his only top-20 finish in the last four races.

8. Denny Hamlin (LW: NR)

Hamlin had a fast car but never had the track position, in part because of what he felt were slow pit stops at Dover. Here’s a stat for you: Hamlin has led laps in eight of the 11 races this year.

9. Kevin Harvick (LW: 7)

A flat tire near the end of a stage relegated Harvick to a 19th-place finish at Dover. This is a retirement stat of sorts as Harvick is in his final year: In his first three “last” appearances at a track, Harvick was fifth at Fontana, ninth at Bristol dirt and now 19th at Dover. 

10. Tyler Reddick (LW: 9)

Reddick had a respectable finish of seventh after getting the free pass on the final caution at Dover. Reddick’s stat is about stage points — he has earned stage points in seven of the last eight races after earning none in the first three of the season.

On the verge: Chris Buescher, Chase Briscoe, Chase Elliott, Ty Gibbs, Brad Keselowski, Joey Logano.

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

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