NASCAR Power Rankings: Kyle Larson rises after dominant Las Vegas performance

Does Larson take the top spot after his win in Las Vegas?

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Kyle Larson played his cards right in Las Vegas.

The 2021 Cup champion scored his first win of the season and 24th of his career on Sunday in dominant fashion at Las Vegas Motor Speedway, leading 181 of 267 laps en route to victory.

While Larson was ahead of the field, the battle behind him was intense. Several drivers had tire issues, while others are starting to find their footing early in the season.

So, how does the field stack up heading into next week’s race in Phoenix? Here’s our latest NASCAR power rankings:

1. Ryan Blaney

Last week: 1

The defending Cup champion continued his strong start to 2024 with a third-place finish on Sunday. While he didn’t lead any laps or seriously challenge for the win, Blaney got the most out of his car and scored solid points to jump up to second in the standings.

2. William Byron

Last week: 2

Early in the race, Byron appeared to have comparable speed to his teammate Larson. Then, an unbelievably large trash bag got stuck on the nose of his car and forced him to pit due to overheating. Byron recovered to finish 10th, but he’ll remember Las Vegas for what it could’ve been rather than what it was.

3. Kyle Larson

Last week: 8

Larson has a rare skill that most people don’t have. No, it’s not his driving talent – which is obviously world class. It’s his ability to leave Las Vegas in the green almost every time he visits. Larson has three wins and six top-10s in his last seven starts in Vegas, leading 314 of the last 534 laps run at the track. In casino terms, he can’t stop hitting the jackpot.

4. Ross Chastain

Last week: 5

A gamble by crew chief Phil Surgen paid off for Chastain on Sunday. The No. 1 car took just two new tires on the final pit stop, which gave Chastain track position to finish fourth. He’s now up to fifth in the standings and heading to the track in Phoenix where he won last November.

5. Denny Hamlin

Last week: 4

It was an uneventful, solid race for Hamlin in Las Vegas. After starting back in 28th, he worked his way forward to lead 15 laps, score 14 stage points and finish eighth. Hamlin needed a positive result following two consecutive wrecks to open the season, and that’s exactly what he got.

6. Kyle Busch

Last week: 3

Pit road woes continue to plague Busch, as they have since he joined Richard Childress Racing last season. He challenged Larson for the lead in the first half of Sunday’s race but was penalized for pitting outside his pit box, which put him a lap down and out of contention – finishing 26th.

7. Joey Logano

Last week: 7

Logano started on the pole for the second time in three races to begin the season. It was clear from the green flag, though, that he didn’t have a race-winning car. He dropped back and ran inside the top-15 for most of the day before coming home in ninth, his best finish of 2024.

8. Ty Gibbs

Last week: First four out

Last season’s Rookie of the Year makes his first power rankings appearance after a fifth-place finish. Gibbs’ car lost first gear during the race, which caused some issues on pit road. But on the track he was lightning quick, rallying on several restarts to score his fifth career top-five finish.

9. Tyler Reddick

Last week: Not ranked

Second in Stage 1, second in Stage 2 and second in the race. If it wasn’t for Larson, Reddick would’ve had a perfect day. The 23XI Racing driver finished 29th and 30th to open the season, so this was a much-needed result. A win this season will be in the cards sooner rather than later for Reddick.

10. Bubba Wallace

Last week: 6

Reddick’s teammate had a frustrating race. A lug nut got stuck on Wallace’s left-front tire, which forced an extra long pit stop to cut it off. He limped home in 35th, crossing the line 13 laps behind the leaders through no fault of his own after two top-fives to open the season.

First four out: Martin Truex Jr., Christopher Bell, Daniel Suárez, Chase Elliott

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