NASCAR Power Rankings: Tyler Reddick wins wild race at Texas


For the fourth straight race to begin the 2022 NASCAR playoffs, a non-championship-eligible driver visited victory lane.

This time it was Tyler Reddick – who qualified for the playoffs initially but was eliminated in the Round of 16 – winning at Texas Motor Speedway. Reddick survived a track record 16 cautions and multiple tire failures by other contenders to bring home his third victory of the season.

With all the parts failures in this race, plenty of playoff drivers are in danger with just two races left in the Round of 12. The second round continues this weekend at Talladega Superspeedway, a track known for surprise winners and massive crashes.

So, who’s the driver to beat with two races left in the Round of 12? Here’s our latest power rankings:

1. Denny Hamlin

Last week: 2

Hamlin finished 10th at Texas, marking his fourth straight top-10 to begin the playoffs. But that doesn’t tell the full story of his race. Hamlin had a shot at an even better finish before William Byron spun him under caution, which oddly didn’t trigger any penalty for Byron but a loss of position to Hamlin. Keep an eye on this brewing rivalry over the next few weeks.

2. Kyle Larson

Last week: 4

Is the defending champion starting to peak at the right moment? For just the second time all season, Larson has scored three straight top-10s after finishing ninth at Texas. He won the first stage after leading 19 laps and, most importantly, he survived the race without any car failures.

3. Chase Elliott

Last week: 1

While Larson made it through Texas unscathed, his teammate Elliott did not. While leading the race, Elliott blew a tire and his car erupted in flames. It was encouraging for Elliott to lead 44 laps at Texas, but his 32nd-place finish dropped him from first to eighth in the standings – just four points above the cut line.

4. Joey Logano

Last week: 5

The Round of 12 started off well for Logano, who finished second, led 15 laps and moved to the points lead. He’s 30 points above the cut line, though Talladega next week presents a huge challenge for the No. 22 team. Logano has crashed out in three of the last four races there, including earlier this season.

5. Christopher Bell

Last week: 3

Bell went from the best playoff driver in the Round of 16 to the worst playoff finisher in the Round of 12 opener. He had two tire failures, and the second one ended his race in 34th-place. Bell is now 11th in the standings, 29 points behind the cut line. It’s not a must-win situation just yet, but it’s pretty close with only two races to go before the bottom four drivers are eliminated.

6. William Byron

Last week: 6

As aforementioned, Byron didn’t face any consequences from his move against Hamlin under yellow – at least not yet – and he stood by his actions after the race. He finished seventh at Texas, giving him four straight top-10s after having just five combined in the first 26 races. If Byron can avoid Hamlin’s retaliation moving forward, he’s in a good position to fight for the title.

7. Ryan Blaney

Last week: 8

Look at Blaney, still chugging along through the playoffs without a win. He won a stage and finished fourth at Texas, which marked his best finish since June. Blaney has become a master at Talladega, with wins there in 2019 and 2020, so this could be the weekend where he breaks through for his first 2022 victory.

8. Ross Chastain

Last week: 7

Chastain ran better than he finished at Texas (13th), scoring a valuable 15 stage points in the race. He’s second in the standings heading to Talladega, which was the site of his last victory earlier this year. After a summer of sorrow, Chastain appears to have speed once again.

9. Tyler Reddick

Last week: first four out

Reddick was two points short of advancing to the Round of 12, and boy does that sting even more now after winning at Texas. He led a race-high 70 laps en route to victory, which was his third of the season (and career). Reddick joined Elliott as just the second driver with three or more wins this year (Elliott has four).

10. Kevin Harvick

Last week: 10

Like Elliott, Harvick was a victim of a faulty tire while leading. He backed into the wall but was able to continue and finish in 19th. Still, it was another lost opportunity for a better finish due to circumstances out of his control.

First four out: Alex Bowman, Daniel Suarez, Brad Keselowski, Bubba Wallace

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