So why is Byron still ahead of Larson? Well, consider this: Byron finished eighth but still tallied 40 overall points in the event with strong runs in the first two stages. Larson was fourth but managed just 34 points because he barely cracked the top 10 in the second stage.
That more consistent speed keeps Byron atop the rankings.
Here are this week’s rankings and a look at these drivers’ road-course racing prowess as the series heads to Sonoma Raceway this weekend for the second road-course race of the year:
1. William Byron (Last week: 1)
Byron has not won a road-course race — he is the only driver on this list who hasn’t — and has just one top-5 (a fifth) and seven top-10s in 22 starts. But here’s what shows he has speed at road courses — he has four poles and has started top-10 in half of his road-course events. He was on the pole and finished fifth in the first road-course race of the season at Circuit of the Americas.
2. Kyle Larson (LW: 2)
Larson has four victories on road courses, including a 2021 triumph at Sonoma, which is just a little more than an hour away from where he grew up. He won three road-course races in 2021 by capturing the checkered flags at Watkins Glen and Charlotte road course and then repeated at the Glen in 2022. While he has those four wins in 28 starts, his percentage of top-10s (39 percent) is lower than many others on this list. He was 14th at COTA in March.
3. Martin Truex Jr. (LW: 3)
Truex has four road-course wins — including three times at Sonoma (2013, 2018 and 2019) — in 46 career starts. He has 21 top-10 finishes and just four races where he didn’t finish. He does not have a pole on a road course. He finished 17th at COTA, so will seek a much better finish than that at Sonoma.
4. Denny Hamlin (LW: 7)
Hamlin has just one road-course win — Watkins Glen in 2016 — in 46 career starts making left-hand and right-hand turns. But he does have 19 top-10s. He was 16th at COTA earlier this year.
5. Ross Chastain (LW: 4)
Chastain earned his first career Cup victory in March 2022 at COTA, where he was fourth in the race earlier this year. He has four top-5s and seven top-10s in 19 career road-course starts.
6. Kyle Busch (LW: 9)
Busch has four road-course wins in his 48 starts, with his last coming at Sonoma in 2015 — the win that sparked his championship run after he missed 11 races because of a broken leg and broken ankle suffered in the season-opening Xfinity race at Daytona. He has 26 top-10s in those road-course races. But maybe his most amazing road-course stat is just three races where he did not finish. He was second at COTA earlier this year.
7. Ryan Blaney (LW: 6)
Blaney has one road-course win in 26 starts and it was a big win — he won the inaugural race on the Charlotte road course. He has finished top-10 in about half his road-course starts but was 21st at COTA earlier this year.
8. Christopher Bell (LW: 5)
Bell has two career road-course wins as he won on the Daytona road course for his first career Cup win in February 2021 and then he won the Charlotte road course last year in a must-win situation to advance. He has seven top-10s in those 16 road-course starts. He was 31st at COTA earlier this year as he was in an accident.
9. Kevin Harvick (LW: NR)
Harvick has two wins – at Watkins Glen in 2006 and at Sonoma in 2017 — and 27 top-10s in 56 starts on road courses. He has never won a pole on a road course and has five more chances to do it before he retires. He finished 13th at COTA in March.
10. Tyler Reddick (LW: 8)
Reddick is among three drivers on this list who earned his first win on a road course as his July 2022 triumph at Road America marked his first career victory. He has three wins on road courses as he won on the Indianapolis road course last year and then at COTA earlier this year. He has 10 top-10 finishes in 16 road-course starts.
Bob Pockrass covers NASCAR for FOX Sports. He has spent decades covering motorsports, including the past 30 Daytona 500s, with stints at ESPN, Sporting News, NASCAR Scene magazine and The (Daytona Beach) News-Journal. Follow him on Twitter @bobpockrass, and sign up for the FOX Sports NASCAR Newsletter with Bob Pockrass.
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