Las Vegas

  1. Ryan Sieg (+1)  – There’s a new sheriff in town. It appears that the addition of Shane Wilson and a new deal with ECR have more than jumpstarted the small team from Tucker, GA. Averaging a 7th-place finish over the first three races, Sieg finds himself sitting 8th in points, one of 11 drivers with 2 top-10’s to start the year. In Las Vegas, Sieg ran over 94% of his laps inside of the top-15, averaging a 12.5 running position.
  2. Ross Chastain (-1) – Chastain continued his run of good finishes in the Trucks (10th) and Xfinity (7th). Chastain was the only driver in the NGOTS field to have 100% of his passes deemed to be quality passes. Since his top-10 in Daytona 500 to start the year, his two other Cup finishes have been outside the top-30, a rare occurrence for the driver and team that averaged a 28.4 finish in 2018.
  3. Chris Buescher (+1) – Steady run up toward the top-15 in Vegas for Buescher.  Despite running 24% of race inside of the top-15 Buescher ends up finishing in 18th-place. After the DNF in Daytona, Buescher has lowered his average finish to 21.3, similar to his 2017 (21.4) and 2018 (21.0) average finishes.
  4. Timothy Peters (-1) – For the first time this year a Niece Motorsports entry failed to finish inside of the top-10. Running two-thirds of the race in the top-15 and as high as 7th-place, Peters ends up finishing in 12th. He currently sits 11th in points, 7 points out of 10th.
  5. Brandon Brown (+4) – A very solid start to 2019 for Brown, finishing 18th at Daytona, 13th in Atlanta and 17th this past weekend in Las Vegas. Brown never ran lower than 22nd the entire race, averaging a 17.6 average position. His three top-20’s to start the year matches his total number of top-20’s in 7 starts from last year.
  6. Gray Gaulding (+4) – Quietly has made his way into the top-20 in Xfinity points after three races. His 12th-place in Las Vegas was his career-best series finish, besting his pair of 13th-place finishes while racing for Jack Roush in 2016 and leading the first laps of his Xfinity career.
  7. Jeremy Clements (+7) – Since his engine issue at Daytona, Clements has managed an 18-place finish in Atlanta and a 15th last week in Las Vegas. Spending most of the race inside of the top-20, Clements gained 4 spots late, working his way back into the top-15. He finished 13th the last time the series visited Las Vegas
  8. Matt DiBenedetto (No change) – A 21st-place finish for DiBenedetto, who ran in 21st-place for almost the entire second half of the race in Las Vegas. It is the best finish of the year for the new driver/team combo.
  9. Ryan Preece (-3) A relatively quiet race for Preece given how the first two races of season played out. Managed a 25th-place finish, the same position he was in at mid-race.
  10. David Ragan (-5) – After a remarkable qualifying effort (6th) with the new format, Ragan drifted back to the top-25, eventually finishing 28th. Through three races he is averaging a finish of one position higher than at this point in 2018.
  11. Garrett Smithley (+1) – Ran around 21st for much of race but able to make a little track position up late, finishing in 18th.
  12. Josh Williams (Not ranked last week) – Much like Smithley, ran just outside of top-20 for much of race before making up 6 positions late. His 16th-place finish is a career-best for him in Xfinity.
  13. Ray Black Jr (Not ranked last week) – Probably overdue appearance on this list, but Daytona was such a snoozer, his 30th-place finish followed by a 23rd in Atlanta  kept him off the list. An 11th-place finish in Las Vegas after running the majority of race in the top-20 catapulted him up into the rankings this week.
  14. Michael McDowell (-3) – Still benefitting from his top-5 in the Daytona 500 as well as the speed he showed in Atlanta before a parts failure sent him behind the wall. His 30th-place finish in Las Vegas was hampered by a pit road penalty.
  15. Tyler Dippel (-2)Comes off his 11th in Atlanta with a 17th-place showing in Vegas, ran in the top-20 for entire second half of race.
  16. Brennan Poole (-1)A 20th-place finish for Poole after starting 8th, was in contention for a top-10 if not for a late fuel pickup issue.
  17. Corey LaJoie (+3) – Vegas recap from LaJoie on Twitter, “We had 27th place speed all weekend. We finished 27th”. I appreciate the honesty.
  18. Ty Dillon (-11)Finishes of 25th and 29th have slowly sunk him since his top-10 at Daytona.
  19. Timmy Hill (Not ranked last week) – In three Xfinity seasons with Carl Long, Hill is off to his best start averaging a 23.3 finish, almost 10 positions higher than his two previous seasons, 23rd last week in Vegas.
  20. David Starr (Not ranked last week) – Starr finally cracks the rankings after collecting his 2nd top-20 (19th) in the first three Xfinity races.

Ranks for the memories! These drivers fell out of the top-20 this week: Gus Dean (Ranked 16th last week), Corey Roper (Ranked 17th last week), Alex Labbe (ranked 18th last week), Parker Kligerman (ranked 19th last week).

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