As the May race slate approaches, a familiar face still leads Power Rankings and the points standings.
1. Kyle Busch
Busch keeps the top spot from after Richmond following a 10th-place finish at Talladega. Though maybe we should drop him from No. 1? After all, it was his worst finish of the season.
If Busch finishes in the top 10 at Dover on Sunday he’ll become the first driver since Morgan Shepherd in 1990 to have top-10 finishes in the first 11 races of the season.
2. Joey Logano
Logano led 37 laps on Sunday and finished fourth. He looked like he was in position to win the race on the final restart. But, like many people expected, the leader didn’t have the advantage that he used to at Talladega and Logano was passed by Chase Elliott.
“At the end [Kurt Busch] had a big run and I felt like I had to block that,” Logano said. “When I blocked that I can’t block both and [Elliott] got underneath me. If I chose the bottom and block [Elliott] I had [Alex Bowman] there and they were going to go by me as soon as they formed a run. I was not in a very good spot.”
3. Brad Keselowski
Keselowski finished 12th after somehow executing this perfect spin-to-pit. Just as impressive as the maneuver was Keselowski’s team not missing a beat and pitting the car while it was backwards in the box.
— Bob Pockrass (@bobpockrass) April 28, 2019
4. Chase Elliott
Elliott was ninth two weeks ago and he moves up ahead of a bunch of people who saw their races come to a premature end.
Elliott is establishing himself as the premier driver at Hendrick Motorsports — yes, even ahead of Jimmie Johnson at this point — as he’s been the only person who can get to victory lane since the beginning of the 2018 season. He also broke up the dominance of Joe Gibbs Racing and Team Penske.
“I still don’t think we’re winning often enough,” Elliott said. “I feel like we need to be contending more. I see some of our competitors being in contention more than we have been throughout the season. I think we can certainly do a better job.
“To have a win this early in the year I think is nice. And just because we won at Dover and Kansas last year doesn’t mean we’re going to go run good there, too. You know that.”
5. Kurt Busch
Elliott’s win means Busch has been usurped as the top Chevy in the points standings by a single point. Busch was sixth on Sunday and the fifth driver in the Chevy brigade. Yeah, it’s Talladega, but that’s a good sign for a manufacturer that’s struggled ever since it debuted the Camaro last year.
6. Denny Hamlin
Hamlin sustained damage in the first crash of the race. That set him back and then he hit the wall not long after that. The damage from that wall hit made him take his car to the garage.
“Bubba [Wallace] got sideways in front of me and I ran into him,” Hamlin said. “That caused a little damage then we blew a tire – Jimmie [Johnson] blew a tire, no caution. Clint [Bowyer] blew a [tire], wrecked, no caution. Then we blew a tire and no caution. We didn’t really get an opportunity to fix it all the way we needed to and ended up ending our day.”
7. Kevin Harvick
Harvick was caught up in that first wreck too. He was on the high side of the track and behind the crash — which started when Bubba Wallace got squirrely while pushing Ryan Blaney — and ended up getting crunched between teammate Clint Bowyer and the wall.
8. Martin Truex Jr.
Truex finished 20th, the next-to-last car on the last lap. He ended up behind teammate Erik Jones — who spun with three laps to go as NASCAR kept the race green — because he was caught in the final crash of the race. That final crash, however, is no longer recognized in NASCAR’s box score. The sanctioning body is officially listing the race-ending caution as for debris from Ricky Stenhouse Jr.’s crash.
If a car like Kyle Larson’s flips and the crash isn’t reflected in the box score did the flip even happen?
9. Clint Bowyer
Bowyer’s day was ruined with that early crash. He’s now tied for 10th in the points standings with teammate Aric Almirola.
10. Ryan Blaney
Blaney finished 15th on Sunday. That seems like a letdown given the speed that the Penske Fords had throughout the race, but it’s better than getting crashed on lap 11, right?
11. Daniel Suarez
Suarez finished 12th and he’s currently 12th in the points standings.
12. Aric Almirola
Almirola was ninth on Sunday. He has seven career top-10 finishes at Talladega. Six of them have come in the last six races. That’s impressive for how crazy Talladega can be.
Lucky Dog: Ryan Preece finished third.
The DNF: Michael McDowell was 40th. Kyle Larson flipped. Ricky Stenhouse Jr. crashed with one lap to go after having a very strong car throughout the race.
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Nick Bromberg is a writer for Yahoo Sports.
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