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William Byron leads NASCAR Power Rankings after Daytona 500

William Byron takes the top spot in the NASCAR Power Rankings after winning the Daytona 500 that kicked off the 2024 Cup season.

Byron is the first driver to win this season and the first to put himself in the playoffs.

NBC SPORTS NASCAR POWER RANKINGS

1. William Byron — Byron won the most races last season (six) and kept his momentum by winning the first point race of 2024. He scored his first crown jewel win and capped off a day in which he locked up 11 stage points. Byron continues to prove that he will be a championship contender.

2. Christopher Bell — A Championship 4 driver last season, Bell kicked off the season by winning one of the Daytona 500 qualifying races. He went out and led 22 laps of the Daytona 500 before finishing third. Bell also avoided race-ending damage by maneuvering through a 23-car incident with eight laps remaining in the race.

3. Alex Bowman — Bowman did everything he needed during the race week at Daytona. He started seventh after Thursday’s qualifying races, scored seven stage points in the Daytona 500 and kept his car clean while avoiding on-track incidents. Bowman ended the night second after NASCAR determined that Byron was just ahead of him at the time of the race-ending caution.

4. Chase Elliott — Winless last season, Elliott started this season with a solid performance. He started fifth, led 13 laps and won the opening stage to score a playoff point. Elliott finished 14th after slowing to avoid the final wreck of the race but showed that he should be a factor once again after missing seven races last season.

NASCAR Cup Series Daytona 500
NASCAR Cup Series Daytona 500

What drivers said after William Byron won Daytona 500

The 2024 Daytona 500 featured three cautions for on-track incidents and two for stage breaks.

5. Kyle Larson — Larson has always had speed at superspeedways but has struggled to finish these races. He crashed in the first four superspeedway races last season. This year’s Daytona 500 was a different story. Larson led seven laps, finished second in stage 1 and avoided incidents that could have ended his race. He crossed the line 11th in what was his best finish at Daytona since the 2021 Daytona 500.

6. Joey Logano — The two-time Cup champion started from the pole in the Daytona 500 and led the most laps (45). Logano was in contention late but ultimately finished 32nd after getting collected in the big one with eight laps remaining in the race.

7. Ryan Blaney — The reigning Cup champion was strong early despite going to a backup car for Monday’s Daytona 500 after a crash in the qualifying races. Blaney came from the back of the field, led 12 laps and won stage 2. He was running sixth with fewer than 10 laps remaining but was collected by a spinning Brad Keselowski with eight laps to go. Blaney had to settle for a 30th-place finish.

8. Denny Hamlin — The winner of the Feb. 3 Busch Light Clash, Hamlin scored four stage points early before diving back to the rear of the field in stage 2. He led 10 laps, his 10th time leading laps at Daytona in the last 11 races, before getting collected in the multi-car incident with eight laps remaining. Hamlin was able to finish 19th.

NASCAR: Daytona 500
NASCAR: Daytona 500

Long: William Byron’s journey to Daytona 500 champion is a remarkable tale

William Byron didn’t start driving cars until he was 14. A dozen years later, he won the sport’s biggest race.

9. Ross Chastain — Chastain was competitive throughout the Daytona 500. He finished third in stage 1 and was in the lead with four laps remaining in the race. He lost the lead after the inside line surged by but he attempted to take it back on the final lap by diving to Byron's inside. Chastain was just unable to close out the crown jewel race after a crash collected him and Austin Cindric.

10. Bubba Wallace — The start of the season was not entirely smooth for Wallace and 23XI Racing, a group that sought consistency last season. He scored seven stage points while running inside the top 10 in both stages but almost lost all of his track position with fewer than 10 laps to go due to a fueling issue on pit road. The 23-car incident brought out a caution that opened up the opportunity for Wallace to head down pit road for fuel. He was able to close out the night with a top-five finish.