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NASCAR Power Rankings: Assessing the top drivers in the Xfinity and Truck Series

With all of NASCAR off over Easter, this week is a good time to look outside the Cup Series. So this edition of Power Rankings focuses on the best drivers in the Xfinity and Truck Series through the first weeks of 2019. If there’s a common theme in NASCAR so far this season it’s that everyone is chasing Kyle Busch.

Honorary No. 1. Kyle Busch

We’re going to start this week’s non-Cup Power Rankings with a shoutout to Busch, who has seven wins in eight Xfinity and Truck Series starts. It’s pure insanity. The only race Busch has entered and not won in either of NASCAR’s two lower series came at Auto Club Speedway in March when he finished second because of a pit problem. He still led 98 of the race’s 150 laps.

OK, let’s get to the real rankings.

Tyler Reddick (2) heads into the pits as Christopher Bell (20) makes a pits stop during the NASCAR Xfinity Series auto race at Richmond Raceway in Richmond, Va., Friday, April 12, 2019. (AP Photo)

1. Christopher Bell

Bell was 16th in the most recent Xfinity Series race after he suffered some mid-race damage. He’s led laps in all eight races this season and won at Atlanta and Bristol. He’s also the best Cup Series prospect in any of NASCAR’s two lower-tier series. He’s the favorite to win the 2019 Xfinity Series title and will likely move to the Cup Series — somewhere — in 2020.

2. Tyler Reddick

Reddick is reaping the benefits of Richard Childress Racing’s decision to scale back in the Xfinity Series in 2019. Reddick moved to RCR after winning the 2018 title with JR Motorsports and has finished in the top four in each of the last five Xfinity Series races. His worst finish this season is 14th and he’s leading the points standings.

3. Cole Custer

Custer led 122 of 250 laps at Richmond and got the win. He can also boast being the only driver in either the Xfinity Series or Truck Series to win a race this season that included Kyle Busch. Custer is third in the points standings and it’s fair to consider him the third-best Cup Series prospect after Bell and Reddick.

Stewart Friesen is the Truck Series points leader through the first five races of 2019. (AP Photo)

4. Stewart Friesen

The first Truck Series driver on the list comes in at No. 4. Friesen is tops in the points standings and has finished in the top five in each of the last three races. Yes, the Truck Series still exists even though the last race happened at Texas in March. The next race won’t happen until the calendar hits May.

5. Grant Enfinger

Enfinger is second behind Friesen in the standings despite having no finishes outside the top 11 this season. Friesen simply has more stage points. The top six drivers in the Truck Series points standings don’t have wins this season and that’s because Kyle Busch has won four of the season’s five races.

6. Austin Cindric

Cindric should win a race at some point in 2019 now that he’s driving full-time for Team Penske. He was second to Custer at Richmond and has finished in the top six four other times this season.

Justin Allgaier is fifth in the Xfinity Series standings. (AP Photo/Wade Payne)

7. Justin Allgaier

Allgaier already has two DNFs in the first eight races. His engine went awry at Las Vegas and he crashed out at Bristol. He’s finished inside the top three on three occasions though so he’s still in the top five of the points standings.

8. Ben Rhodes

Rhodes was second to Kyle Busch at Martinsville and fifth at Atlanta. That doesn’t sound like much until you remember that there’s only been five Truck Series races this season. That’s not enough time for many trends to emerge.

9. Johnny Sauter

Sauter is fourth in the Truck points standings and third among the four drivers at ThorSport Racing. He’s finished inside the top 10 in the last four races after he crashed at Daytona. Though to be fair, almost everyone crashed at Daytona.

10. Brett Moffitt

The 2017 Truck Series champ went fourth, second and third after crashing at Daytona (see, we told you a lot of people crashed there) and then was four laps down at Texas in a race that feels like forever ago. He’s two spots ahead of the guy who replaced him in the No. 16 truck in both the points standings and these rankings.

11. Michael Annett

Annett is showing some legitimate improvement in his eighth Xfinity Series season and 10th season of full-time NASCAR competition. Is it a mirage or is it real? Since winning at Daytona to start the season he’s finished in the top 10 four more times. He had three top 10s in all of 2018.

His average finish has also improved by more than 10 spots from 2018 and eight spots from 2017. The addition of new crew chief Travis Mack has clearly helped and we’ll see if the upward trend it continues over the late spring and summer.

12. Austin Hill

The only Truck Series driver to win a race this season. Hill won the season-opening race at Daytona in his first race with the No. 16 team and is seventh in the points standings.

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Nick Bromberg is a writer for Yahoo Sports

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