No matter what the sport is, it’s not too early to start discussing Power Rankings. The 2023 NASCAR Cup Series just wrapped up their season about two months ago. Some analysts put their 2024 Power Rankings less than 24 hours after the Championship Race. Once again, it’s not too early to start discussing Power Rankings. The start of the 2024 NASCAR Cup Series Season is less than 30 days away with The Clash at the Colosseum. Let’s discuss the early 2024 NASCAR Cup Series Power Rankings.
#10: Tyler Reddick:
When it was announced in July of 2022 that 23XI Racing was bringing over Tyler Reddick as part of their driver lineup in 2024, nobody knew what to expect. With the sudden retirement of Kurt Busch in October of 2022, 23XI was able to bring Reddick over a season earlier than planned. In March of this year, Reddick earned his first win with 23XI at COTA. However, Reddick was putting up inconsistent results throughout the entire season. From Gateway in early June to Atlanta in early July, Reddick finished outside the Top-25 in each race. These were the inconsistent runs that bit Reddick in the rear the entire season. Despite carrying 23XI to the Round of Eight in The Playoffs, it was a mediocre season at best. If Reddick can turn his luck around in 2024, he could easily be a Championship contender.
2023 NASCAR Cup Series Stats for Tyler Reddick:
2 Wins, 10 Top-5 Finishes, 16 Top-10 Finishes, an average finish of 15.66, 470 total laps led, and 3 DNFs on the season.
#9: Ross Chastain:
No matter if it’s during the offseason or during the season, Ross Chastain continues to hold the NASCAR world in his hands. Chastain had high expectations for himself and Trackhouse Racing in 2023. Unfortunately, Chastain fell short of the expectations he had set for himself. It seemed that Chastain was going to be a contender for the Championship after a huge win in Nashville. After that win, Chastain went quiet. After being eliminated in the Round of 12 in The Playoffs, it was a disappointing season for Chastain. However, Chastain and Trackhouse did end the season on a high note with a win at Phoenix. With the addition of Shane Van Gisbergen to Trackhouse’s developmental program in 2024, it will be interesting to see how this benefits Chastain next year.
2023 NASCAR Cup Series Stats for Ross Chastain:
2 Wins, 10 Top-5 Finishes, 14 Top-10 Finishes, an average finish of 15.0, 640 total laps led, and 4 DNFs on the season.
#8: Kyle Busch:
When it was announced that Kyle Busch would be leaving Joe Gibbs Racing for Richard Childress Racing, many people thought that he was taking a step in the wrong direction. He proved those doubters wrong right out of the gate with a win at the second race of the season, Fontana. Busch then Even though Busch seemed to have been the Championship favorite in the first half of the season, he went quiet in the second half. After his win at Gateway in June, Busch remained competitive but never found his way back into victory lane. With being eliminated in the Round of 12, it was a disappointing end to such a successful season for Busch. If Busch can have the type of dominating performances he had early in the season next year, he will be a Championship contender.
2023 NASCAR Cup Series Stats for Kyle Busch:
3 Wins, 10 Top-5 Finishes, 17 Top-10 Finishes, an average finish of 15.0, 241 total laps lead, and 6 DNFs on the season.
#7: Martin Truex Jr:
Coming into 2023, Martin Truex Jr was riding the longest winless streak of his tenure with Joe Gibbs Racing. At Dover, in May, Truex broke the 54-race winless streak where he got his first career win back in 2007. After that win, Truex seemed to be the Championship favorite throughout the entirety of the summer. After his win at New Hampshire in July, Truex finished in the Top-10 in every race up until The Playoffs, except for Daytona. The Regular Season Champion seemed to be the driver to beat, but that was until the Playoff rolled around. Up until Phoenix, Truex had an average Playoff finish of 19.77. These abysmal numbers for Truex eliminated him from the Round of Eight in The Playoffs. If Truex could get back to where he was running over the summer, he will be in contention for another Championship next season.
2023 NASCAR Cup Series Stats for Martin Truex Jr:
3 Wins, 9 Top-5 Finishes, 17 Top-10 Finishes, an average finish of 13.33, 899 total laps lead, and 3 DNFs on the season.
#6: Christopher Bell:
Coming into 2023, Christopher Bell had the best season of his career in 2022. He locked himself into the Championship Four with a win at Homestead in late October. Unfortunately, on lap 110 of the Championship race, Bell experienced a brake failure and slammed the wall. With a disappointing result in the Championship race, Christopher Bell looks to make it back to Phoenix next season and claim his first Cup Series Championship. If he is to do this, he will have to have a more consistent season in 2024 than he did in 2023. Bell will win a Championship at some point in his career, and next season could be his time.
2023 NASCAR Cup Series Stats for Christopher Bell:
2 Wins, 10 Top-5 Finishes, 19 Top-10 Finishes, an average finish of 12.94, 599 total laps lead, and 4 DNFs on the season.
#5: Denny Hamlin:
Another year, another season that Denny Hamlin missed out on the Championship. Hamlin had a very solid season with two wins before The Playoffs. Those two wins came at the expense of Kyle Larson. After the Bristol Night Race, it seemed that Hamlin was the Championship favorite. Unfortunately for Hamlin, he was eliminated from the Round of Eight in The Playoffs. It was revealed that two weeks after the season Denny Hamlin had surgery on his right shoulder. On a recent episode of Dale Jr Download, that it was a bone spur in his shoulder in addition to other tendons being injured in his shoulder. He says that he may not be back to 100% until late February, if not later. If he is to win his first Cup Series Championship, he will have to be at 100%.
2023 NASCAR Cup Series Stats for Denny Hamlin:
3 Wins, 14 Top-5 Finishes, 19 Top-10 Finishes, an average finish of 12.36, 998 total laps led, and 4 DNFs on the season.
#4: Chris Buescher:
To say that 2023 was a career year for Chris Buescher is an understatement. 2023 was the season of a lifetime for Chris Buescher. Coming into 2023, fans and analysts didn’t have high expectations for Buescher and RFK Racing. It was a bit of an inconsistent start to the season for Buescher. But he and his team started clicking on all four cylinders after Richmond in August. He was able to earn his first victory of the season at Richmond. It couldn’t get any better than one win, right? The next weekend, at Michigan, Buescher got his second win of the season. Three weeks later, Buescher won at the biggest stage of NASCAR, Daytona. That was three wins in five races for Buescher.
Some fans and analysts had Buescher carrying the RFK banner to the Championship Four. Unfortunately, that was not the case. Despite an elimination in the Round of Eight of The Playoffs, it was a fantastic season for Buescher. Now, Buescher has higher expectations than just three wins for 2024. It will be interesting to see how 2024 goes for Buescher.
2023 NASCAR Cup Series Stats for Chris Buescher:
3 Wins, 9 Top-5 Finishes, 17 Top-5 Finishes, an average finish of 12.13, 255 total laps led, and 1 DNF on the season.
#3: Ryan Blaney:
What do you mean that the Cup Series Champion is not at #1? Well, let’s discuss why Blaney is at No. 3. For most of 2023, it seemed that it was going to be another above-average season for Ryan Blaney and the No. 12 team. In late May, Blaney broke the well-documented 59-race winless streak that dated back to Daytona in August of 2021 with a win in the Coca-Cola 600. The eventual Cup Series Champion had an incredible Playoff run with five Top-10 finishes in the last six races. This run towards the Championship included two wins and two second-place finishes. His average finish throughout The Playoffs was a staggering 9.5, which is almost unheard of in a ten-race span with the Next-Gen Car. This team continued to fight even when their back was in a corner.
Blaney and the No. 12 team continued to fight until the last checkered flag of the season, literally. They could run it back and repeat as Champions for 2024, but some things can be improved on. Regardless, I have much respect for Ryan Blaney and the No. 12 team for winning the 2023 NASCAR Cup Series Championship. This team fought with grit, determination, and guts. They earned this Championship.
2023 NASCAR Cup Series Stats for Ryan Blaney:
3 Wins, 8 Top-5 Finishes, 18 Top-10 Finishes, an average finish of 14.08, 562 total laps led, and 3 DNFs on the season.
#2: William Byron:
If you asked fans and analysts to pick a driver to have a dominant season, most would not have picked William Byron to be the dominant driver throughout the year. 2023 was a career year for the young Hendrick Motorsports driver. With three wins in the first 13 races, Byron established himself as the Championship favorite early in the season. Before The Playoffs, Byron won five races and secured the #2 seed for The Playoffs. Byron had a stellar Round of 12 in The Playoffs, finishing in the Top-2 in each of those three races. That streak included a win at Texas, which was the 300th win in the Cup Series for Hendrick Motorsports. Byron clinched a Championship Four spot on points after a grueling race at Martinsville.
Led by crew chief, Rudy Fugle, Byron fought hard to earn his first career Championship Four spot. Unfortunately, Byron fell short of winning his first career Cup Series Championship. William Byron needed a year like his 2023 season. He needed to prove to the NASCAR world that he is here to stay, and he proved exactly that. Be on the lookout for William Byron to capture his first Cup Series Championship in 2024.
2023 NASCAR Cup Series Stats for William Byron:
6 Wins, 15 Top-5 Finishes, 21 Top-10 Finishes, an average finish of 10.97, 1,016 total laps led, and 3 DNFs on the season.
#1: Kyle Larson:
Honestly, this was a toss-up between Larson and Byron. The factor that landed Larson at No. 1 was that it’s Kyle Larson. Put him in a winged sprint car, he’ll probably win. Put him in a pro-late model, he’ll probably win. 2023 wasn’t as dominating as 2021 was for Larson, but it was still a very good year. Despite eight DNFs throughout the year, Larson clicked off four wins, as well as a win in the All-Star Race. Once Larson won at Darlington in September, it felt that he and the No. 5 team were getting back in their groove. Larson won at Las Vegas in the Round of Eight to clinch himself a Championship Four spot. But Larson came up one spot short of the Championship in 2023 to Ryan Blaney.
Despite being second in the 2023 Championship standings, Larson held his head high. He accepted his defeat like a Champion of the sport. As previously said, it was still a good year for Larson with four wins, including first-time wins at Martinsville and Darlington. 2024 will probably not be as dominant for Larson as 2021 was, but it wouldn’t be a shocker if Kyle Larson becomes a two-time Cup Series Champion in 2024.
2023 NASCAR Cup Series Stats for Kyle Larson:
4 Wins, 15 Top-5 Finishes, 18 Top-10 Finishes, an average finish of 14.63, 1,127 total laps led, and 8 DNFs on the season.
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As the confetti fell in victory lane in Daytona on the Hendrick Motorsports No....