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With four consecutive top-5 finishes (a 3rd, a 5th, a 1st and a 2nd), Martin Truex Jr. remains at the top of the power rankings.
The big mover this week is Ross Chastain, who moves up three places from sixth to third thanks to his win Sunday at Nashville Superspeedway that snapped a 42-race winless streak.
Back to the top 10? Chase Elliott after consecutive top 5 finishes.
Here’s how drivers rank entering the inaugural race at Chicago’s street course, looking at how they’ve fared in new road course events: 2021 Indianapolis Speedway, 2021 Road America, 2021 Circuit of the Americas, Daytona Speedway 2021 and Charlotte road 2018 course. It should be noted that some drivers had Daytona road course experience from the 2020 Crash, and the 2021 COTA race was one that was stopped early due to heavy rain.
1. Martin Truex Jr. (Last week: 1): Truex is a strong road course racer, but new road courses have not been his friend. He only has one top 10 finish (at Road America). He only has one race in which he finished worse than 15.
2. kyle larson (LW: 2): Larson was second at COTA and third at Indianapolis. He finished no better than 15th in the other three races.
3. ross chastain (LW: 6): Chastain was fourth in the first COTA race and seventh at Road America. The other three races? It was no better than 24.
4. Denny Hamlin (LW: 5): Hamlin was third at Daytona and fifth at Road America. His worst finish in any of the five races was 23 in the opening Indy race, a race in which he had a chance to win until the very end.
5. kylebusch (LW: 3): Busch has one top-10 finish (3rd at Road American) and was 10th at COTA. The other races didn’t go as well, as he had a best finish of 20th. That shouldn’t come as much of a surprise: Busch is often a feast-or-famine type of driver.
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6. william byron (LW: 4): Byron probably doesn’t want to read this: his best time in any of those five races was an eleventh at COTA. He was 33 or 34 in the other four. That said, this should be his best road course debut.
7. christopher bell (LW: 7): Bell won the opening race at a Daytona road course for the first Cup win of his career. He was also second in the first Road America race. He did not compete in Cup in 2018 and did not finish the other two road course maiden events in 2021.
8. ryan blankey (LW: 8): Blaney won the 2018 race at the Charlotte Speedway and was second in the first Indianapolis race. In the other three events, he finished 15th to 20th. He’ll probably be glad to get back in the car and put his tough Nashville crash behind him.
Ally 400 Highlights
After taking the week off, the Cup Series returned for the second half of the season as Ross Chastain secured the win in Nashville.
9. Chase Elliot (LW:NR): Elliott won both 2021 races at COTA and Road America. He was fourth at Indy and sixth at the 2018 Charlotte road course race. The only race that was frustrating was the Daytona race, where he finished 21st thanks in part to an emerging storm that resulted in Elliott’s spin.
10 kevin harvik (LW:NR): Harvick doesn’t have a top-five finish in any of these races, but he was sixth in the Daytona road course race. In the three most recent events, he has had a top-20 finish.
At the border: chris buescher, Alex Bowman, brad keselowski, joey logano, tyler reddick, Ricky Stenhouse Jr..
Bob Pockrass covers NASCAR for FOX Sports. He has spent decades covering motorsports, including the last 30 Daytona 500, with stints on ESPN, Sporting News, the NASCAR Scene Magazine and The (Daytona Beach) News-Journal. Follow him on Twitter @bobpockrassand enroll in the FOX Sports NASCAR Newsletter with Bob Pockrass.
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