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CBS Sports

Common wisdom says that when you make power rankings, someone who's won something should lead off at the very top. But there's nothing common about what Ross Chastain is doing.

After moving from Chip Ganassi Racing to Trackhouse Racing, Chastain has taken the next step from promising up-and-comer into one of the very top drivers in NASCAR. The Alva, Florida native -- and Watermelon farmer by trade -- is on an outstanding run, as he's finished third, second, and second in the last three races while also leading a total of 125 laps. That's made him one of just four drivers to have led over 100 laps this year, alongside Ryan Blaney, Atlanta winner William Byron, and Chase Briscoe.

As Chastain comes closer and closer to the first win of his Cup career, William Byron was rewarded nicely in this week's power rankings for finally getting back in the Winner's Circle. After Hendrick Motorsports teammates Kyle Larson and Alex Bowman picked up early wins, Byron broke out of their shadow to lead the most laps and score the victory in Atlanta, putting him in the top 12 of the power rankings and right up on the heels of the top 10.

Keeping in line with the theme of the early part of this season, youth and enthusiasm are very well represented at the top of this week's power rankings. With Chastain leading the way, four of the top 5 drivers are all under the age of 30 years old, with 38-year old Aric Almirola -- the lone greybeard near the top -- in third.

RankDriverChangeComment
1Ross Chastain
Watermelons everywhere, beware: Ross Chastain is the hottest driver in NASCAR right now, with three top 3s in a row and two seconds.
2Chase Elliott
Chase Elliott thrilled the hometown crowd at Atlanta Motor Speedway, as Elliott led twice for 29 laps and mixed it up at the finish to come home sixth.
3Aric Almriola
With less than 20 laps to go, Aric Almirola was leading the inside line until a push from Ross Chastain sent him spinning through the front stretch grass. Almirola never recovered, with 22nd being by far his worst result of the season.
4Chase Briscoe
After his win at Phoenix, Chase Briscoe led laps yet again and was contending in the top 10 by race's end. Unfortunately, he sent Ryan Blaney into the wall in an accordion effect on the last lap that also sent Briscoe back to 15th.
5Ryan Blaney
Ryan Blaney has a flair for the dramatic, but it's really inconvenient when he has the car to beat: He led a race-high 143 laps at Phoenix, but failed to win after leading over 100 laps for the ninth time in his career.
6Joey Logano
The good news for Joey Logano is that he finished ninth at Atlanta, continuing his rock solid start to 2022 and giving him an average finish of ninth since Fontana. The bad news is that Logano lost the points lead, and now trails Chase Elliott by seven points.
7Kyle Busch
Yet again, Kyle Busch found adversity in a race this season, but this time, he wasn't able to recover. Busch got collected in a crash with Austin Dillon, and then finally parked it after multiple attempts to repair and keep his battered car running.
8Kurt Busch
The wily veteran side of Kurt Busch showed up again in Atlanta on Sunday. Busch scored his second top 5 in a row in third, and he also led twice for a total of four laps.
9Tyler Reddick--Another week, another example of Tyler Reddick running at the front and contending for his first career win. Unfortunately, for the second time this season, a blown tire had other ideas and ruined his day.
10Daniel Suarez
Ross Chastain has been the rising tide that has lifted the original ship at Trackhouse Racing. Daniel Suarez scored his second top 5 and third top 10 of the season, making this the best first five races of his Cup career.
11Martin Truex Jr.
If Martin Truex keeps this up, it won't be long before he re-assumes his place as a front of the field fixture. Truex led four times for a total of 12 laps, finishing eighth for his second top 10 and fourth top 15 of the year.
12William Byron
Let there be no more talk of William Byron lagging behind his Hendrick teammates: Byron led eight times for a race-high 111 laps at Atlanta, and closed the deal for his first win of 2022.
13Alex Bowman
Talk about backing into it. Alex Bowman was involved in one of several incidents seen throughout the day at Atlanta, but he would persevere and ultimately wind up in 10th at the checkered flag.
14Kevin Harvick
Despite it not being the Atlanta he spent two decades mastering, Kevin Harvick was in the mix until an accident ruined his chances. He limped home 21st, his worst run of the season.
15Bubba Wallace
In an alternative timeline with a few more inches and one more lap, Bubba Wallace has two wins this season. Instead, he left Atlanta lamenting what might have been again despite being contending for another victory.
16Kyle Larson
Turn 4 was calamity corner for Kyle Larson at Atlanta, as he got front end damage in one crash before another finished him off. That marks his third DNF in five races this year.
17Chris Buescher
Even though he came across the finish line backwards, a seventh-place run marked Chris Buescher's best finish of the year and his best since a third at the Charlotte Roval last year. This is the first time in Buescher's career he's had consecutive top 10s in the first five races of the year.
18Ricky Stenhouse Jr.
Both of Ricky Stenhouse's best chances to win this year have ended with him on the hook instead of Victory Lane. After his Daytona 500 heartbreak, Stenhouse was leading at Atlanta when he blew a tire out of the top spot, ending his day.
19Erik Jones
In all honesty, Erik Jones would be much higher in these rankings had it not been for crashes at Las Vegas and Phoenix. Jones was in contention all the way to the end at Atlanta, coming home 14th.
20Corey LaJoie
Someone send penny-stacker Corey LaJoie a nice, crisp five dollar bill. LaJoie came home fifth at Atlanta, the best finish of his Cup career and his third top 15 of the year.
21Justin Haley
Justin Haley just missed out on his first top 10 of the season, using his drafting prowess
22Austin Dillon
Last week, Austin Dillon was on his way to a top 10 before things went haywire in the final corner. Sadly, he ended up in the garage much earlier at Atlanta, getting turned out of the front of the field and finishing 35th.
23Brad Keselowski
Despite some hood damage and radio troubles, Brad Keselowski put together his best run since Daytona. Keselowski finished 12th, which is quite an improvement after a miserable west coast swing for RFK Racing's driver and co-owner.
24Austin Cindric
Austin Cindric is going to be very glad to get to a road course at COTA next week. He's hit the school of hard knocks portion of his rookie season, just like he got punted into a nasty broadside hit of Ricky Stenhouse's spinning car.
25Ty Dillon
O Brother, Who Parked Thou? Ty Dillon got caught up in the residual mess of his big brother's crash, and to add to the indignity, Ty was listed behind Austin in the finishing order.
26Christopher Bell
After yet another wild ride throughout a day of racing, Christopher Bell crossed the finish line at Atlanta in second. Unfortunately, he went below the out of bounds line on the last lap, meaning that he got sent back to 23rd in the finishing order by NASCAR.
27Denny Hamlin
This is as bad a start to a season as Denny Hamlin has ever had in his Cup career. Hamlin's crashing out at Atlanta meant his third DNF in five races this year.
28Cole Custer
The good vibes that Cole Custer had been building out west fell flat in Atlanta. He was among the many drivers involved in crashes, and this marks his second DNF in the last three races.
29Todd Gilliland--The spirit of Georgia peanut farmer-turned ARCA winner Harris DeVane was not with Todd Gilliland at Atlanta. Gilliland spun out late in the Georgia Peanuts car and finished 27th. Nuts!
30B.J. McLeod
Let's use the last spot in this week's power rankings to give a shoutout to BJ McLeod. He led the very first laps of his Cup career at Atlanta, and brought it home in 19th for his first Top 20 since Daytona last year.