What a weekend for Kyle Larson. The future NASCAR superstar got the monkey off his back after multiple second-place finishes in 2017 for his first weekend sweep of both XFINITY Series and Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series races. On top of that, it was the first sweep in Chip Ganassi Racing history.
NASCAR is going back east after three races, but the XFINITY Series has its first off weekend of the season. Let’s see how the XFINITY Series regulars stack up heading into some much needed time off.
12. Dakoda Armstrong, JGL Racing (Last week: 12th)
Let’s make a deal? As long as Armstrong stays in a spot in the XFINITY Series playoffs (he currently sits 11th), he gets to keep the “Dakoda spot.”
11. Cole Custer, Stewart-Haas Racing (Last week: 10th)
The cars have been good for Custer, as evidenced by his fourth-place starting spot for the Service King 300. The finishes, however, have been lacking as another accident had the rookie finish 35th and on the brink of falling out of the XFINITY Series playoffs.
10. Matt Tifft, Joe Gibbs Racing (Last week: 7th)
The drop continues for Tifft as he searches for his first top 10 of the year. What’s holding him back? Likely the fact that he’s brought out a caution in four of the five races so far this season.
9. Blake Koch, Kaulig Racing (Last week: 11th)
Another week staying out of trouble moves the Kaulig Racing driver up the rankings. As he keeps saying in his interviews, though, he’d love to get that first career top five.
8. Michael Annett, JR Motorsports (Last week: 9th)
Annett also stayed out of trouble and brought it home in 13th this week at Fontana. That’ll put four JR Motorsports drivers into the top eight of the power rankings. We’ll see where the other three land.
7. Brennan Poole, Chip Ganassi Racing (Last week: 8th)
Kyle Larson wasn’t the only bright spot for the Ganassi crew as Poole nabbed his second-straight top 10. That propels him up a spot, and out of eighth in the power rankings for the first time this season.
6. Daniel Hemric, Richard Childress Racing (Last week: 6th)
Poole almost picked off this spot, too, but I’m going to hold Hemric here after a great qualifying effort put him on the front row for the first time in his career. I’m sure the rookie would’ve loved to have turned that into a top 10, but he just missed in 11th.
5. Ryan Reed, Roush Fenway (Last week: 4th)
I said last week the difference between Reed and teammate Bubba Wallace was those five playoff points he earned for his season-opening win at Daytona. This week, that’s not enough, because…
4. Bubba Wallace, Roush Fenway (Last week: 5th)
There’s just kismet with Wallace, and the No. 6 right now. He’s now tallied up four straight 6th place finishes. It’s that consistency that moves him ahead of his teammate in the power rankings.
3. William Byron, JR Motorsports (Last week: 3rd)
The current XFINITY Series rookie-of-the-year leader stays in this spot after back-to-back series top fives for the first time in his young career. We’ve seen young drivers like Dale Earnhardt Jr., Trevor Bayne and Erik Jones get their first wins at Texas; could Byron be next?
2. Justin Allgaier, JR Motorsports (Last week: 2nd)
I said this after Atlanta as Allgaier didn’t appear in the XFINITY Series power rankings: “Justin Allgaier could really use running the NASCAR Goes West slate with top 10s like he did in 2016, and find his way back up into the power rankings.” Well, the driver of the No. 7 did just that after taking eighth at Fontana. The win in Phoenix gives him the edge over his teammate Byron, but not over his other teammate, our final driver.
1. Elliott Sadler, JR Motorsports, (Last week: 1st)
Another race, another top 10 for the veteran Sadler. He led XFINITY Series regulars in that category in 2016, and is now four for five in 2017. How will he celebrate the off week?
— Elliott Sadler (@Elliott_Sadler) March 27, 2017
Yep, it’s good to be the XFINITY Series points and power rankings leader right now.
Casey Mears returned to the XFINITY Series for the first time since 2010 and came in 14th place. He’d be a power rankings contender if he was running the full season. J.J. Yeley had the funniest Twitter takeover so far for @XFINITYRacing, and backed it up with his second-straight 16th-place finish. And he was one caution lap from swiping a stage victory.
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