After a resilient performance last week in Darlington, Chase Elliott looked like he was well on his way to continuing to pad his points lead and affirming his status as the top driver in NASCAR throughout the first half of the regular season.
But sometimes, racing has a way of dragging one back down to earth.
In Stage 3 of Sunday's race at Kansas, Chase Elliott was well within contention for a top five finish when the left rear tire on his car went down, sending him for a wild spin through Turn 3 that led to him losing multiple laps after his car -- sans tire carcass -- ended up stuck in the infield. Despite leading twice for 10 laps and earning multiple stage points during the day, Elliott had little choice but to whimper home several laps down.
Elliott's tire failure kept him from building on his points lead, which is now down to 52 points over Ryan Blaney. It also cost him the top spot in CBS Sports' NASCAR Power Rankings.
Taking advantage of Elliott's problems was Ross Chastain, who re-took the lead in our rankings after losing it at Darlington last week by earning a solid seventh-place finish.
With Kurt Busch breaking a recent string of bad luck by picking up his first win of the season, this week's Power Rankings saw quite a bit of movement. Busch gained seven spots to move up to 13th, making him the second-biggest mover behind Ricky Stenhouse Jr. (+8). Denny Hamlin gained six spots and Kyle Larson five, making it four drivers in total who gained five spots or more.
On the other side of that is a number of drivers who lost a big chunk of spots, several of whom were dropped down in the rankings in order to accommodate others who moved up. Tyler Reddick (-7) was the biggest loser, headlining four other drivers who lost five spots or more.
Here's a look at our updated rankings in their entirety:
|1||Ross Chastain||With his eighth top 10 of the season, Ross Chastain matched the total number of top 10s that he scored in all of 2021.|
|2||Chase Elliott||Though it wasn't indicative of where he ran, Chase Elliott ended up with his worst finish of the entire 2022 season in 29th. A tire going down in Turn 3 doomed a potential top five run.|
|3||Kyle Busch||Disregarding a crash at Darlington, Kyle Busch has now earned three top five finishes and four top 10s in the last five races. Rowdy is starting to heat up as summer nears.|
|4||William Byron||William Byron led 25 laps on Sunday until he had a tire go down on the front straightaway. Byron was able to recover and make it back to the top 10 later, but he never showed the same speed again and faded to 16th.|
|5||Ryan Blaney||Ryan Blaney's day at Kansas wasn't enough to capitalize on Chase Elliott's troubles. Blaney scored some stage points, but he was only able to manage a 12th place finish at the end.|
|6||Alex Bowman||--||Alex Bowman has been remarkably consistent this year since his win at Las Vegas. After his Darlington troubles interrupted a streak of nine-straight finishes of 14th or better, Bowman came home 9th to score another top 10 at Kansas.|
|7||Christopher Bell||Christopher Bell capitalized on the speed he showed in qualifying at Kansas, leading twice for 37 laps before finishing fifth, giving him three-straight finishes of sixth or better.|
|8||Kyle Larson||Given how many times Kyle Larson's car was either in the wall or half-spun out on Sunday, it's remarkable that he was able to finish second. Larson catching a dead-sideways car off Turn 2 is an early candidate for Save of the Year.|
|9||Austin Dillon||With a substitute crew chief, Austin Dillon was able to turn in a solid day with a 13th-place run. Unfortunately, Kurt Busch's win meant that Dillon got bumped below the playoff cutoff line.|
|10||Martin Truex Jr.||Martin Truex had a terrific recovery on Sunday, coming all the way back from a left rear tire failure at the end of Stage 2 to finish sixth. Next up is the Coke 600, a crown jewel Truex has won twice.|
|11||Kevin Harvick||Not to be outdone by Kyle Larson, Kevin Harvick also had an outstanding save off of Kansas' Turn 4. A 15th place finish, though, isn't quite as stylish as Larson's runner up.|
|12||Joey Logano||The past three weeks, Joey Logano has been down and up and down again. He followed up his win at Darlington by finishing 17th in a backup car after a practice crash.|
|13||Kurt Busch||By winning in a 23XI Toyota, Kurt Busch's 34 Cup wins have now come for four different automakers and five different race teams. It's no wonder why Busch is as universally respected as they come.|
|14||Tyler Reddick||Sunday looked like it might be Tyler Reddick's day early, as he led 24 laps in the early going. But he paid the price for running the high line, first getting into the wall and then cutting down a tire that ruined his day.|
|15||Chase Briscoe||Chase Briscoe didn't hit anything when he spun to bring out the opening caution of the race, but that set the tone for a day where he finished 24th. Briscoe's early season form feels a long ways away now.|
|16||Daniel Suarez||Daniel Suarez could sure use a little bit of the luck that Ross Chastain seems to have. He was running in the top five right with his teammate, but a cut tire in Turn 4 sent him into the wall and ruined his race.|
|17||Ricky Stenhouse Jr.||Ricky Stenhouse Jr. probably hopes that May never ends. Since the month started, he's had three-straight top 10s after having a long string of miserable finishes from March through April.|
|18||Erik Jones||If you need any motivation for the week ahead, I'll offer this: Attack what's ahead of you with all the force and willpower that Erik Jones' crew did trying to get their right rear tire unstuck.|
|19||Justin Haley||Any hopes of Justin Haley being able to carry momentum from his third-place run at Darlington were dashed early at Kansas. An electrical issue in the rear end of his car put him out of the race after just 64 laps.|
|20||Denny Hamlin||Denny Hamlin might just be turning things around. He finally got a finish indicative of where he ran, and his fourth-place finish is just his second top five of the year alongside his win at Richmond.|
|21||Bubba Wallace||Bubba Wallace got his first top 10 since Daytona, and he had to earn it. Wallace drove up as high as the top five, but pit road errors by his crew kept setting him back in the running order.|
|22||Brad Keselowski||Brad Keselowski is still looking for his first top 10 since the Daytona 500. But Sunday marked his sixth top 15 of the year and his first since Bristol.|
|23||Austin Cindric||Austin Cindric ran as great a race as he has all year - sans winning the Daytona 500 - and just missed out on a top 10 finish in 11th. Look for Cindric to keep improving in the second half of the regular season.|
|24||Aric Almirola||Aric Almirola's day was spoiled when he lost a cylinder, leaving him down on power and limping home to a 26th place finish -- his worst of the 2022 season.|
|25||Chris Buescher||Chris Buescher wrecked his primary car in practice, and the weekend didn't get much better from there. He and his crew will take 27th and be glad to get out of Kansas.|
|26||Michael McDowell||Kansas threw cold water all over Michael McDowell's recent hot streak. His 23rd place run was his worst finish since Martinsville and snapped a streak of four-straight finishes of 17th or better.|
|27||Ty Dillon||--||Hardly a peep was heard from Ty Dillon on Sunday, but he came home with a 20th place result at the finish. That's his eighth finish inside the top 20 in 13 races so far this year.|
|28||Cole Custer||--||After his 2021 could have been written off as a sophomore slump, Cole Custer and his team have some serious soul searching to do. Custer was barely heard from in Kansas, finishing 22nd.|
|29||Harrison Burton||--||Not much to write home for about Harrison Burton's day, as he hung around the top 20 and finished 21st. The Wood Brothers will take a lead lap finish and a race car in one piece from their rookie driver.|
|30||Corey LaJoie||Corey LaJoie is back in the Power Rankings again by virtue of a 19th-place run at Kansas. He's now had four finishes of 19th or better in the last five races.|