Who is the best driver in NASCAR? The return of our 2023 NASCAR power rankings takes a look at who will be the true competitors for the Cup Series championship and which drivers will be vying for a playoff spot come September.
Bookmark this page throughout the season for updates to our weekly NASCAR power rankings, as we look at how the best 30 full-time drivers perform each week and project what’s ahead for them.
Without further ado, here are Sportsnaut’s NASCAR power rankings as we push forward in the 2023 campaign.
Related: NASCAR schedule during the 2023 season
30. Harrison Burton
- Previously: Last in NASCAR power rankings
Harrison Burton did not have the fastest car but still managed to come home with a 15th-place finish. Based on Burton’s advanced statistics during the event at Auto Club Speedway, he exceeded his actual running position with a better finish and will look to improve next time out.
29. Noah Gragson
- Previously: No. 29 in NASCAR power rankings
Noah Gragson had a solid race as he only finished three positions behind his veteran teammate. Gragson came home with a 22nd-place finish and will look to gain more experience as he goes to a race track that has treated him well in the past next weekend.
28. Justin Haley
- Previously: No. 27 in NASCAR power rankings
Justin Haley had a decent run for his equipment and finished slightly above his expected finishing position in 21st place. Haley was impressive in a few races last season and will look to tap into more of that magic over the rest of the West Coast swing.
27. Corey LaJoie
- Previously: N/A in NASCAR power rankings
Corey LaJoie statistically had the speed of a car just outside of the top 10 positions and it showed with a 14th-place finish. LaJoie has not shown a tremendous amount of past speed with Spire Motorsports so ranking as the 27th-best driver should be an accomplishment for now.
10 best NASCAR drivers of all time
26. Aric Almirola
- Previously: No. 23 in NASCAR power rankings
Aric Almirola was among the drivers involved in a baffling wreck on a restart that ended his day. Almirola finished in 35th place after having a strong car in the Daytona 500. The No. 10 team will look for a solid top-15 finish in Las Vegas to turn the ship back around.
Related: Aric Almirola returns to Stewart-Haas Racing in 2023
25. Ty Gibbs
- Previously: No. 28 in NASCAR power rankings
Ty Gibbs put in a solid performance with a 16th-place finish at a track he never has driven in the NASCAR Cup Series. Gibbs never had the pace to enter the top 10 positions; however, he maximized his finish after having a top-20 car based on advanced statistics.
Related: Adam Alexander to become the new lap-by-lap announcer for the Truck Series
24. Michael McDowell
- Previously: No. 26 in NASCAR power rankings
Michael McDowell had a top-20 car and made the best of it with an 18th-place finish. McDowell struggled at the end of the playoffs last season and during the Daytona 500 so a solid finish is exactly what the doctor ordered for the No. 34 team.
23. Erik Jones
- Previously: No. 24 in NASCAR power rankings
Erik Jones was really solid on the two-mile tracks last season and while it did not show as much at Auto Club, a top-20 finish remains decent. Jones finished in 19th place and that’s a solid bounce back after not finishing the Daytona 500 to start the year.
5 worst wrecks in modern NASCAR history
22. A.J. Allmendinger
- Previously: No. 20 in NASCAR power rankings
A.J. Allmendinger ended up finishing dead last at Auto Club after a wreck took him out of the event. Allmendinger was not at fault and was simply in the wrong place at the wrong time. The No. 16 team will look for more speed and luck next time out in Las Vegas.
21. Austin Cindric
- Previously: No. 19 in NASCAR power rankings
Austin Cindric hit the wall on a restart and never could find the speed to climb back up the field with a 28th-place finish. Cindric saw his Team Penske teammates show great speed so a good, clean performance in Las Vegas could help create some momentum.
Daytona 500 winners, results, and facts
20. Tyler Reddick
- Previously: No. 15 in NASCAR power rankings
Tyler Reddick has not finished in four of his last five NASCAR Cup Series races and another wreck gave him a 34th-place finish at Auto Club. Reddick sits 38th in the point standings with only four points through two races. The No. 45 team desperately needs a finish next weekend.
Related: Travis Pastrana to run the 2023 Daytona 500 with 23XI Racing
19. Chase Briscoe
- Previously: No. 14 in NASCAR power rankings
Chase Briscoe has gone through two difficult races to start the new year. After wrecking in the Daytona 500, Briscoe really struggled to find any speed until the second half of the race where he finished in 20th place. The No. 14 team really needs a shot in the arm at Las Vegas.
18. Austin Dillon
- Previously: No. 21 in NASCAR power rankings
Austin Dillon has been a pleasant surprise to start the 2023 season as he could have won the Daytona 500 and finished in ninth place this weekend. Dillon has shown speed and could find himself in contention for a victory sometime this year.
17. Bubba Wallace
- Previously: No. 17 in NASCAR power rankings
Bubba Wallace likely had higher expectations going to a two-mile track but issues with his No. 23 car barred him from a better finish. Wallace’s car was dealing with overheating issues for a significant period of time and ended up with a 30th-place finish.
NASCAR power rankings: Playoff caliber drivers
16. Chris Buescher
- Previously: No. 18 in NASCAR power rankings
Chris Buescher was running outside of the top 30 spots at one point but managed to claw his way to a 13th-place finish. RFK Racing continues to show speed and Buescher has been running well as they develop into a more consistent race team on a weekly basis.
Related: 5 best NASCAR races in the sport’s modern history
15. Brad Keselowski
- Previously: No. 22 in NASCAR power rankings
Brad Keselowski found himself one lap down and unable to start his vehicle after being spun by Corey LaJoie. Despite his issues, Keselowski showed speed and finished in seventh place. The No. 6 team has been pretty solid to start the 2023 season as consistency will be key.
14. Ricky Stenhouse Jr.
- Previously: No. 16 in NASCAR power rankings
Ricky Stenhouse Jr. carried over his momentum from a Daytona 500 victory and had a top-10 car at Auto Club. Stenhouse finished in 12th place and made contact with the wall a few times. The No. 47 team will look to string another solid performance along as the Daytona high wears off.
13. Martin Truex Jr.
- Previously: No. 10 in NASCAR power rankings
Martin Truex Jr. showed speed and even overcame a wheel falling off the car for an 11th-place finish. Due to the new rules, Truex was held for two laps as a punishment but still managed to finish well. The No. 19 team will look to clean it up after a rocky race.
Related: Martin Truex Jr. gives update on retirement decision ahead of the 2023 season
12. William Byron
- Previously: No. 7 in NASCAR power rankings
William Byron did not have a terrible run as he had a car on the fringe of the top 10 spots but an issue relegated him to a 25th-place finish. Byron has shown decent speed through the first two races and will look to turn it around next weekend.
11. Ryan Blaney
- Previously: No. 8 in NASCAR power rankings
Ryan Blaney had another unlucky weekend after being involved in a questionable wreck on a restart. Blaney came home with a 26th-place finish and will look to turn his speed into a clean and high-leveled performance next weekend.
10. Daniel Suarez
- Previously: No. 13 in NASCAR power rankings
Daniel Suarez had top-5 speed at the place he almost secured his first victory last season and it turned into a fourth-place finish. Suarez has been solid to start the season with Trackhouse Racing looking like a true threat on a weekly basis once again.
9. Kevin Harvick
- Previously: No. 11 in NASCAR power rankings
Kevin Harvick did not have the flashiest car; however, it was still enough to produce another quality finish at Auto Club Speedway. Harvick was a fifth to seventh-place car for the majority of the day and managed to hit his ceiling with a fifth-place finish.
8. Kyle Larson
- Previously: No. 5 in NASCAR power rankings
Kyle Larson might have been one of the favorites at Auto Club; however, an electrical issue in Stage 1 ended any chances for the weekend. Larson still showed some speed after fixing the problem and will look for a clean performance next time out.
Related: Kyle Larson’s big future in the NASCAR Cup Series beyond 2022
7. Alex Bowman
- Previously: No. 12 in NASCAR power rankings
Alex Bowman had another consistent performance with new crew chief Blake Harris and managed to bring it home with an eighth-place finish. Bowman finished below his expected finishing position but the No. 48 team will look to carry the momentum to the site of his last victory.
6. Christopher Bell
- Previously: No. 2 in NASCAR power rankings
Christopher Bell did not carry his momentum from the Daytona 500 and struggled to find the balance of a bouncy car in Stage 1. Bell was caught up in a baffling wreck on a restart and finished in 32nd place. The No. 20 team will look to shake it off and bounce back next week.
Related: Christopher Bell is NASCAR’s new elite closer
NASCAR power rankings 2023: Championship contenders
5. Chase Elliott
- Previously: No. 6 in NASCAR power rankings
Chase Elliott did not have track position to start the race but slowly climbed the leaderboard until he hit a Busch-sized wall in second place. Elliott knocked off some of the concern from his alarming 2022 playoff run but still came one spot short of a much-needed victory.
4. Denny Hamlin
- Previously: No. 4 in NASCAR power rankings
Denny Hamlin was never the favorite during the race but his consistent performance keeps him in a good spot entering Las Vegas. Hamlin came home with a sixth-place finish and was a top-5 car based on the advanced statistics. Overall, it was a solid weekend for the No. 11 team.
3. Kyle Busch
- Previously: No. 9 in NASCAR power rankings
Kyle Busch made a statement and won the NASCAR Cup Series race at Auto Club Speedway in only his second start with Richard Childress Racing. Busch overcame a speeding penalty and drove a flawless Final Stage to prove he is still a threat on a weekly basis.
Related: Richard Childress Racing discusses the rebrand of Kyle Busch’s No. 8 car
2. Ross Chastain
- Previously: No. 3 in NASCAR power rankings
Ross Chastain appeared to be the car to beat as he won Stage 1 and Stage 2; however, Busch was the best car in the Final Stage and cleared him before pit stops were underway. Chastain now goes to Las Vegas with three playoff points and the points lead as he chases a victory.
1. Joey Logano
- Previously: No. 1 in NASCAR power rankings
Joey Logano stopped early on the final pit stop sequence and it ended up costing him as he lost several positions due to tire wear. Despite a 10th-place finish, the defending NASCAR Cup Series champion is still on top as the sport readies itself for Las Vegas.