NASCAR power rankings: The best drivers head to Circuit of the Americas this week

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The NASCAR Cup Series is racing at Circuit of the Americas (COTA) for the first time this weekend. The EchoPark Texas Grand Prix is Sunday, May 23 at 2:30 p.m. on FS1.

Below are the Observer’s NASCAR power rankings for the week of May 17. This list is updated each week.

HONORABLE MENTION

Alex Bowman (previously unranked) won his second race of the season last Sunday at Dover. He led 98 laps of the 400 lap race and finished ahead of Hendrick Motorsports teammates Kyle Larson, Chase Elliott and William Byron in the top four. While Bowman’s average finish is 17.5 in 13 races this year, the No. 48 team has found a way to win more than any other team besides the No. 19 team of Martin Truex Jr., who has three wins.

Kyle Larson (no change) led the most laps at Dover, 263, and finished in second at the Monster Mile for his sixth top-five finish (eighth top-10) this year. Larson has been considered a likely winner in the last two races; He challenged Truex late at Darlington and led over half the laps at Dover, so the No. 5 team has some momentum heading into this weekend at COTA.

TOP 3

3. Denny Hamlin (-1) finished seventh at Dover for his 10th top-10 finish in 13 races. He continues to lead the series in points (574 points) but the No. 11 team hasn’t been able to secure a win, while others (Bowman and Truex) are repeating victories.

2. William Byron (+1) moved up to second in points after last Sunday’s race at Dover. He now sits 101 points behind Hamlin and one point ahead of Truex in the standings. Byron finished fourth at Dover for his fifth top-five this year and hasn’t finished lower than ninth place in the last 11 races.

1. Martin Truex Jr. (no change) didn’t light up the field at Dover like he did at Darlington. He led 16 laps last Sunday and finished out of the top-10, in 19th place, but Truex still has more wins than any other driver in the series with three victories at Phoenix, Martinsville and Darlington. Could another be on the way?

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