Kim O'Reilly, CBS Sports

There was a NASCAR long before Noah Gragson stepped behind the wheel of a racecar, much less made his debut in one of NASCAR's national touring series. But since he's been here, he's certainly made NASCAR a more interesting place.

In the garage area, Gragson is as open, as engaging, and as outgoing a person as you will meet in any walk of life. And on the racetrack, Gragson has proven to be daring, provocative and unrelenting when he is on top of his game. It's what made him a superstar at the Xfinity Series level, what made his entry into full-time Cup racing so highly anticipated, and what has made his resurgence this year one of the most compelling stories in stock car racing.

Gragson has completely left his disaster of a rookie year behind him, which has helped him continue to capture the imagination and support of race fans who voted him into the NASCAR All-Star Race for the second year in a row. That combined with an 11th-place run in the All-Star Race itself has helped Gragson gain a spot in this week's CBS Sports NASCAR Power Rankings, bumping him up into the top five.

Here's a look at CBS Sports' updated NASCAR Power Rankings following the All-Star Race at North Wilkesboro:

1Denny Hamlin--I want to acknowledge Denny Hamlin for something he did in pre-race. Just before the All-Star Race began, he walked across the frontstretch to 12-year-old Hayden Finnegan -- who was up on the fence decked out in his gear -- and tossed a hat over the fence for him. Good on Denny for making that kid's day.
2Chris Buescher
In a narrative sense, a win in the Coca-Cola 600 would be a great payoff for all of Chris Buescher's near misses in the month of May. The RFK No. 17 won the Coke 600 in 2000 with Matt Kenseth behind the wheel, which marked the NASCAR Hall of Famer's first career win.
3Kyle Larson
Maybe it's just me, but I feel like there are times where we're guilty of forgetting just how much of a once-in-a-lifetime talent Kyle Larson is behind the wheel of a racecar. Qualifying fifth for his first Indianapolis 500 and then finishing fourth in the All-Star Race hours later is a great reminder of just how special he is.
4Chase Elliott
Chase Elliott will enter the Coke 600 looking for redemption from last year, as his intentionally wrecking Denny Hamlin and getting suspended for one race afterwards turned into a self-inflicted mortal wound for his playoff hopes. Elliott is also still looking for redemption from 2020, when he came within laps of winning the 600 only for a late caution and botched pit call to cost him the victory.
5Noah Gragson
Want to know why Noah Gragson won the All-Star Fan Vote for the second year in a row? He was the only guy I saw in North Wilkesboro who was wearing a full-print T-Shirt with Collin Morikawa's face all over it. He is a one of a kind character and individual.
6Brad Keselowski
With his 110-race winless streak having ended at Darlington, Brad Keselowski can now focus on trying to earn back-to-back wins. The last time he did so in 2018 involved a crown jewel race, as he won at Las Vegas the week after winning the Brickyard 400 at Indianapolis.
7Tyler Reddick
I guess you could call Tyler Reddick the guinea pig for what Goodyear is looking to have happen if a driver pushes their tires too hard on a short track. Reddick was one of the most noticeable drivers who faded from the front on option tires, and he never got his track position back on his way to finishing 14th.
8Martin Truex Jr.
If you were impressed with Joey Logano leading all but one lap on his way to winning the All-Star Race, you should've seen what Martin Truex Jr. did in the 2016 Coke 600. He led 392 of 400 laps in the single most dominant performance in the history of NASCAR's longest race.
9Ross Chastain
I really wasn't able to get to it during the live blog, so I wanted to take this moment to acknowledge Ross Chastain for acing his All-Star intro. All hail the Melon King!
10Joey Logano
Despite leading all but a single lap, Joey Logano's All-Star Race win wasn't quite the most dominant performance in the race's history. That honor belongs to Dale Earnhardt, who led all 70 laps on his way to winning The Winston at Charlotte in 1990.
11Bubba Wallace
Don't discount Bubba Wallace as a contender to win the Coca-Cola 600. He had one of the fastest cars in the field in 2022, and last year he capitalized on another fast 23XI Toyota on his way to finishing fourth.
12Ty Gibbs
After the Open I felt really good about having picked Ty Gibbs to win the All-Star Race, only for Gibbs to never really sniff the front and finish 13th after spinning out mid-race. Nothing ventured nothing gained, I suppose.
13Josh Berry
Josh Berry may not have made it into the All-Star Race, but he wound up being the show in the Open. Berry worked the top groove as masterfully as any short track racer, coming up just short of running down Bubba Wallace for the transfer spot into the main event.
14Alex Bowman
After failing to advance from the Open, Alex Bowman failed to make the All-Star Race as a full-time Cup driver for the first time since 2015. Bowman had been driving for Tommy Baldwin at the time and failed to finish the Open after suffering an electrical issue.
15William Byron
Calling Charlotte someone's home track is a bit of a misnomer -- virtually all of the NASCAR industry lives in the greater Charlotte area -- but it's exactly that for Charlotte native William Byron. To this point in his career, Byron is still looking for his first career victory there.
16Michael McDowell
While it doesn't count toward the season itself, a ninth-place finish in the All-Star Race gave Michael McDowell a top 10 for the third week in a row. His best Coke 600 finish is an eighth two years ago in 2022.
17Ryan Blaney
Joey Logano's dominance in the All-Star Race proved a rising tide that lifted Ryan Blaney's ship. Blaney ran as high as second during the night and wound up finishing fifth.
18Todd Gilliland
Todd Gilliland told CBS Sports in the garage area Friday that there have been some tweaks to his pit crew after their struggles at Darlington cost Gilliland a potential top-10 finish. Gilliland mentioned having a new jackman as well as a new front tire changer.
19Christopher Bell
Joey Logano may have won both the All-Star Race pole and main event, but Christopher Bell's pit crew left North Wilkesboro as big winners as well. They prevailed in the Pit Crew Challenge on Saturday morning, the second-straight victory for that crew after they had won in 2023 as the crew for Ty Gibbs.
20Chase Briscoe
I wish I didn't have to drop Chase Briscoe seven spots to make room for some others. He didn't make the All-Star Race after finishing seventh in the Open, but I expect him to retain his consistency so far in 2024 into the Coke 600 this week.
21Justin Haley
Justin Haley continues to impress and elevate the performance of Rick Ware Racing. One week after a top 10 at Darlington, Haley drove all the way up to fourth in the All-Star Open on pure pace alone.
22Kyle Busch
Above all else, it was interesting to me that Kyle Busch referenced how he was tired of getting run over "by everybody" before his fight with Ricky Stenhouse. Busch is not running the way he once did, and he's on the verge of his winless streak extending to a full year since Gateway last June.
23Ricky Stenhouse Jr.
I'm going to give Ricky Stenhouse a bump in the Power Rankings this week largely because he stood on ceremony and did what he said he was going to do when it came to Kyle Busch. As a man I respect when someone invokes using their fists and actually follows through with it.
24Austin Cindric
The most notable sight in the garage area following the conclusion of the Open was Austin Cindric waiting in Carson Hocevar's hauler to discuss an incident that saw Hocevar slide up the track on the bottom of three-wide, which led to Cindric getting turned into the wall and ending his race. Cindric and Hocevar had a behind-closed-doors conversation, which ended without incident.
25Corey LaJoie
Talk about good timing: When I logged on to do my rounds on Monday morning after the All-Star Race, I saw that Corey LaJoie was able to procure Ricky Stenhouse as his guest for this week's edition of Stacking Pennies. Should be a show that does numbers.
26Daniel Suarez
Speaking to reporters, Daniel Suarez was fairly open and honest about his team's recent struggles in terms of performance and lack of overall pace. Suarez qualified fourth for the All-Star Race thanks in part to quick work by his pit crew, but he ended up fading to 15th.
27Ryan Preece
An illustration of the point that Stewart-Haas Racing has reached was that all four of their cars were in the Open instead of already in the All-Star field. Ryan Preece was fourth of that quartet, finishing eighth.
28Carson Hocevar
As much as I understand Noah Gragson's popularity, I will say I was a bit surprised that Carson Hocevar didn't end up winning the Fan Vote. His campaign was excellent, but apparently not enough to sway the masses.
29Kaz Grala
Not to put too much stock into All-Star Open results, but you may have noticed that Kaz Grala just missed out on a top-10 finish in 11th. Given some of the cars he finished ahead of, that's an impressive showing coming off a top-20 finish at Darlington.
30Austin Dillon
Austin Dillon is back in the Power Rankings largely due to a performance in All-Star Open qualifying on Friday that should've given him the pole. But after rain hit the speedway and affected several drivers' laps, NASCAR instead opted to set the field by owners points, forcing Dillon to start 15th on his way to finishing ninth.