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NASCAR Cup Series Power Rankings | After Race 16 at Sonoma

This past weekend saw the NASCAR Cup Series run its final race before All-Star Weekend. Although Sonoma Raceway is a far different track than Charlotte Motor Speedway, the No. 5 car was untouchable for the second straight week. The gap between all other drivers and Kyle Larson in the NASCAR power rankings only grew wider after his latest dominant performance. Read on to see how the field shakes out behind him heading into Sunday’s NASCAR All-Star Race and festivities.

Kyle Larson NASCAR power rankings Cup Series
Credit: Maddie Meyer/Getty Images

NASCAR Cup Series Power Rankings | After Sonoma

1. Kyle Larson | Hendrick Motorsports #5

Last Week: 1

As if winning every stage of a 600-mile race wasn’t enough, Kyle Larson made more history at Sonoma. He became the first driver to sweep the stages and go on to win the Toyota Save Mart 350 race itself. Plenty tried to throw strategy at him, but the No. 5 car is just too damn good right now. Larson now has three wins on the season and is the betting favorite to win the NASCAR Cup Series Championship. In fact, things are going so well for the newest Hendrick Motorsports driver lately that he won the pole position for Sunday’s All-Star Race. The best part is that the starting order was drawn out of a hat!

2. Chase Elliott | Hendrick Motorsports #9

Last Week: 3

The defending champ continues to rise in the NASCAR power rankings. Although he has a long way to go to overtake Kyle Larson for the top spot, Chase Elliott now sits second after another runner-up finish at Sonoma. He has now finished top-3 in four consecutive races and has eight total top-5 showings on the season. Knowing he has the same equipment as Larson, there’s a real chance the No. 9 car will only get better in the coming weeks.

3. Denny Hamlin | Joe Gibbs Racing #11

Last Week: 4

Denny Hamlin was once again not really a factor to win at Sonoma. That being said, he still did his thing and came home with a top-10 finish. Hamlin remains without a win this year, yet still hotels a 47-point advantage over Kyle Larson in the NASCAR Cup Series standings. That speaks to the consistency of the No. 11 team. A victory is inevitable for this group, but Hamlin has made it clear that he’ll be hanging around the front regardless.

4. Martin Truex Jr. | Joe Gibbs Racing #19

Last Week: 5

After a string of disappointing runs including a 29th-place finish in the Coca-Cola 600, Martin Truex Jr. got back on track out west. While he would’ve loved to take home the win at a track he has been stellar at in years past, there was simply no catching Kyle Larson no matter what he did. A third-place showing was just what the doctor ordered for the No. 19 team though. Even though some weeks have been ugly, keep in mind Truex already has won three races this season.

5. Alex Bowman | Hendrick Motorsports #48

Last Week: 6

Alex Bowman threw down yet another solid run at Sonoma, finishing ninth. Although four consecutive top-10 finishes don’t look quite as nice when stacked up against what his Hendrick Motorsports teammates are doing, Bowman has been running as solid as anyone of late. His two wins on the season aid in his reaching the top five in this week’s NASCAR power rankings.

William Byron NASCAR power rankings Cup Series Chase Elliott
Credit: Chuck Burton/AP

6. William Byron | Hendrick Motorsports #24

Last Week: 2

It hurts to move young William Byron down a whole four spots and out of the top five this week. His 35th-place finish at Sonoma was no fault of his own. He simply got caught in the wrong place at the wrong time and got knocked out of the race thanks to a massive pile-up in Turn 11. Prior to the wreck, Byron was having a solid run and even spent some time out in front. His shuffling this far down the rankings almost has more to do with what the other drivers at the top did last weekend than what he failed to do.

7. Kyle Busch | Joe Gibbs Racing #18

Last Week: 7

Speaking of drivers stringing together multiple solid runs in a row, Kyle Busch now has back-to-back top-5 finishes. If not for the rain at Circuit of the Americas, it very well could and should be three. There might even be a race win in there as well. At any rate, the No. 18 team appears to be figuring some things out. Busch is the third Joe Gibbs Racing driver in this week’s NASCAR power rankings and could very well be rising higher in the coming weeks.

8. Joey Logano | Team Penske #22

Last Week: 8

Just another day at the office for Joey Logano last week. The No. 22 car has been by far the most consistent Team Penske Ford this season. In fact, with the way Stewart-Haas Racing has been running, Logano has been the top Mustang in the NASCAR Cup Series. His fourth-place run at Sonoma leaves him with seven top-5 finishes and an average finish of 10.8 on the season.

9. Kevin Harvick | Stewart-Haas Racing #4

Last Week: 8

A ho-hum day had a major wrench thrown in it courtesy of the same Turn 11 pile-up that ended Byron’s race. Kevin Harvick was able to continue, minus an entire hood, but the resulting 22nd-place finish really should’ve been a lot higher. Harvick will be fine to get into the NASCAR Playoffs on points regardless. But with the season Stewart-Haas Racing is having, at what point do we start to doubt whether the No. 4 car will actually reach victory lane?

10. Austin Dillon | Richard Childress Racing #3

Last Week: 12

Hats off to Austin Dillon and his entire race team. The No. 3 car was able to overcome electrical issues that were draining the battery early on in the Toyota Save Mart 350 to finish 13th. Considering Dillon’s lack of history on road courses, this was truly a performance deserving of him jumping into the NASCAR power rankings top ten.

11. Tyler Reddick | Richard Childress Racing #8

Last Week: 10

Unfortunately, Tyler Reddick loses his top ten spot in the rankings to his Richard Childress Racing teammate. That being said, the fact that he was running in the top-10 for stretches and held on to finish 19th at Sonoma is quite impressive. After all, Reddick had never even driven the course until the green flag dropped on the race.

Ryan Blaney NASCAR power rankings Kyle Larson
Credit: Chris Graythen/Getty Images

12. Ryan Blaney | Team Penske #12

Last Week: 13

The second Team Penske driver in this week’s NASCAR power rankings, Ryan Blaney quietly bagged a top-10 finish at Sonoma last weekend. The Atlanta win remains a distant memory, but this showing can only be viewed as a positive going forward.

13. Brad Keselowski | Team Penske #2

Last Week: 11

After playing the strategy game to perfection, a 15th-place finish was almost disappointing for Brad Keselowski. His average finish of 13.4 on the season is the worst of the three Team Penske Mustangs.

14. Chris Buescher | Roush Fenway Racing #17

Last Week: 14

Chris Buescher just continues to throw down solid runs, even at tracks where he doesn’t exactly have a strong history. Roush Fenway Racing has to be thrilled that they locked him up over the long haul. He ranks 12th on the year with a 15.3 average finish.

15. Daniel Suarez | Trackhouse Racing #99

Last Week: 18

If you were among those doubting Daniel Suarez and the upstart Trackhouse Racing Team, think again. The No. 99 was among the top-12 finishers at Sonoma. While he still has a ways to go, Suarez is slowly creeping up into the NASCAR Playoffs bubble picture on points. 

16. Michael McDowell | Front Row Motorsports #34

Last Week: 16

Known for his prowess on the road courses, Michael McDowell would have bagged a much better finish at Sonoma if not for his last lap run-in with Suarez. Even with a 28th-place run, there isn’t really anywhere for the No. 34 to fall in this week’s NASCAR power rankings.

17. Christopher Bell | Joe Gibbs Racing #20

Last Week: 19

More than one team had to overcome issues in the Toyota Save Mart 350. After having no gas pressure and falling a lap down early in the race, Christopher Bell was later seen turning laps in the top-10. The 24th-place finish wasn’t what the team had in mind, but at least a true disaster was safely averted.

Ross Chastain Cup Series Kyle Larson
Credit: Nigel Kinrade Photography

18. Ross Chastain | Chip Ganassi Racing #42

Last Week: 20

Ross Chastain is proving to have a knack for running on the road courses. After finishing fourth at COTA, the No. 42 rebounded nicely from a disastrous Coca-Cola 600 to finish seventh in wine country. Does Chastain have what it takes to make a second-half push for a playoff spot?

19. Matt DiBenedetto | Wood Brothers Racing #21

Last Week: 17

The No. 21 Ford Mustang was once again virtually unheard from at Sonoma. That is until Matt DiBenedetto clipped Ryan Preece and sent him off course to bring out a caution late in the race. This team gets a new crew chief starting with the NASCAR All-Star Race. Anything to provide a spark at this point.

20. Erik Jones | Richard Petty Motorsports #43

Last Week: 21

Erik Jones came within one spot of earning his third top-10 finish of the season. Perhaps a solid run at Sonoma can help propel the No. 43 camp even further up the NASCAR power rankings in the coming weeks.

21. Kurt Busch | Chip Ganassi Racing #1

Last Week: 24

There was nowhere to go but up for Kurt Busch and the entire Chip Ganassi organization after Charlotte. The No. 1 Chevrolet finished one spot ahead of teammate Chastain. It marked the third top-10 of the season for Busch and keeps him knocking on the door of the top-16 in the points standings.

22. Ricky Stenhouse Jr. | JTG Daugherty Racing #47

Last Week: 15

Just when we tried to give Ricky Stenhouse Jr. some major love in the NASCAR power rankings, his day at Sonoma was cut short. He tumbles down quite a ways as a result of this last-place showing.

23. Bubba Wallace | 23XI Racing #23

Last Week: 22

You can’t help but give Bubba Wallace credit for the job he did nursing a flat tire for nearly an entire lap. Laps at Sonoma Raceway aren’t your standard NASCAR lap either. This team was fortunate to escape with a top-15 finish.

24. Ryan Preece | JTG Daugherty Racing #37

Last Week: 23

After getting sent off track by Matt DiBenedetto and slammed trying to get back on by Cody Ware, Ryan Preece was still able to rally and finish 21st. He notably has a +42 pass differential under green this season.

Chase Briscoe power rankings Chase Elliott
Credit: Sean Gardner/Getty Images

25. Chase Briscoe | Stewart-Haas Racing #14

Last Week: 26

NASCAR Cup Series rookie Chase Briscoe was among those drivers who had never driven Sonoma Raceway until this weekend. He got some seat time by running in and winning the ARCA Menards Series West race and parlayed it into 17th-place on Sunday.

26. Cole Custer | Stewart-Haas Racing #41

Last Week: 27

The third Stewart-Haas Racing driver in this week’s NASCAR power rankings, Cole Custer was fortunate to salvage a top-20 run at Sonoma. If not for other drivers wrecking around him late, it could’ve been a whole lot worse.

27. Ryan Newman | Roush Fenway Racing #6

Last Week: 25

Ryan Newman is about as far below his Roush Fenway Racing teammate as possible after Sonoma. As the disappointing finishes pile up, his future in the No. 6 car only gets cloudier.

28. Corey LaJoie | Spire Motorsports #7

Last Week: 28

Corey LaJoie was at it again last weekend. He couldn’t keep up with cars while running in the top-10 on pit strategy, but it was yet another better-than-expected finish for the No. 7 team. Even after making contact with Ross Chastain to cause the Turn 11 wreck, LaJoie hung on to nab his third straight top-20 finish.

29. Aric Almirola | Stewart-Haas Racing #10

Last Week: 29

Just when it looked like Aric Almirola might finally throw down a quality finish, it got ripped out from under him late. The No. 10 team is cursed this season, there’s simply no other way to put it.

30. Anthony Alfredo | Front Row Motorsports #38

Last Week: 30

Like Corey LaJoie, Anthony Alfredo used a pit stop strategy to maneuver his way into the top-10. Unfortunately, he ended well outside of it after spinning around to bring out the race’s final caution.

31. Quin Houff | StarCom Racing #00

Last Week: 31

Quin Houff was among those drivers who took a DNF at Sonoma. The caution that flew when his engine blew set off the string of late-race yellows.

32. Josh Bilicki | Rick Ware Racing #52

Last Week: 32

Josh Bilicki managed to score a 29th-place finish last weekend. He closed the gap on Houff in the points standings and virtually all statistics. It was tempting to flip the two in the NASCAR power rankings, but we can’t just yet.

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