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For the most part and with very few exceptions, I have spent the better part of the last 22 years since NASCAR first hooked me spending each and every weekend of racing season either plopped down on my couch watching racing or watching racing from the racetrack itself. Which, personally, made it quite interesting to put racing to the side for awhile and go see the other side of the world.

While Martin Truex Jr. was ending his winless streak in Dover and Denny Hamlin was pulling off his last lap move on Kyle Larson, I was instead putting the life experience and excitement of two weeks in Japan first and foremost. Granted, it was easy to do that considering there was a 13-hour time difference from the East Coast to Tokyo and I had little access to American television, meaning that I didn't have much of a choice but to forget about racing for a little while and instead focus on some things I really wanted to do: Like eat gyudon, take trips on the Shinkansen and take a dip in an onsen in Saitama.

But while I was doing all that, the racing world still went on without me. And so, it's time to catch up: After a three week hiatus following Martinsville, the CBS Sports NASCAR Power Rankings have returned following Sunday's Goodyear 400 at Darlington. Taking the top spot is Ross Chastain, the Cup Series points leader and -- yet again -- the storyline. following a run-in with Kyle Larson that cost both drivers the win and once again prompted people to take sides on NASCAR's biggest and most compelling disruptor.

Here's a look at our updated Power Rankings:

1Ross Chastain--I can't pretend that I've lived long enough to make this comparison, but I know enough of my NASCAR history to know that Ross Chastain's 2023 is starting to look a little bit like Dale Earnhardt's 1986. Go look up how that season ended for The Intimidator.
2William Byron--Byron's win at Darlington marked win No. 100 for the Hendrick Motorsports No. 24. For those keeping track, Jeff Gordon's win in the final race at North Wilkesboro in 1996 was the 19th for Gordon and his car.
3Martin Truex Jr.--Martin Truex Jr. looked unbeatable when his car was in clean air, and he led a significant chunk of the race for the third week in a row. I think it's safe to say that the 2017 champ has been unlocked.
4Kyle Larson--It was interesting to see the more aggressive side of Kyle Larson come out at Darlington, whether it was through his thrilling win in the Xfinity race on Saturday or the Cup race on Sunday -- the latter of which brought out an ornery side we haven't often seen.
5Bubba Wallace--Bubba Wallace recovered from a poor mid-race pitstop to earn his second top five in a row. His hot streak has moved him to 15th in points, and he should be considered a legitimate threat to make the playoffs on points, should he not find Victory Lane this season.
6Denny Hamlin--Darlington is one of Denny Hamlin's best tracks, but he was not much of a factor at the front on Sunday after tagging the wall early on. Hamlin led nine laps on an alternate strategy and wound up finishing 12th.
7Tyler Reddick--Tyler Reddick's chances at another top 10 were dashed by a late-race accident, but the more pressing concern for him is the fate of crew chief Billy Scott. Scott was ejected from the race weekend after the No. 45 failed pre-qualifying inspection twice, something that suggests further penalties are to come.
8Brad Keselowski--Brad Keselowski's sixth top 10 of the season matched his total from all of 2022, and half of those have been top five finishes. The No. 6 being a mainstay at the front of the field is looking less and less like a throwback to days gone by.
9Ryan Blaney--Compared to some of his stronger runs in the past month, a ninth-place outing at Darlington was a little on the quiet side for Ryan Blaney. He'll enter All-Star Weekend as the All-Star Race's defending winner.
10Christopher Bell--Sunday at Martinsville was the first time all season in which Christopher Bell didn't have a great finish in a race that he completed. Bell just missed out on a top 15 and finished 16th, the only time he's finished worst than sixth in any race he hasn't had a DNF in this year.
11Ricky Stenhouse Jr.--Ricky Stenhouse Jr. qualified third and ran inside the top 10 all day in Darlington before a cut tire and spin presented a major setback. Despite that, Stenhouse recovered to finish 12th, his fourth-straight finish inside the top 15.
12Kevin Harvick--Kevin Harvick earned a season-best second place finish at Darlington, giving the No. 4 its best run of 2023 before he turns the clock back next week. In the All-Star Race, Harvick will run his original No. 29 one final time in a throwback to his rookie year of 2001.
13Kyle Busch--After two weeks of crashes, Darlington marked a nice bounce back for Kyle Busch. The No. 8 ran at the front all day and overcame a late miscue on pit road to finish seventh.
14Chase Elliott--Despite missing six races due to injury, Chase Elliott is currently just 63 points back of a spot in the playoffs. If he keeps having runs like his third-place effort in Darlington, it's not impossible for Elliott to get back in the playoff hunt on points alone.
15Joey Logano--Joey Logano may have been running a throwback to Penske's old 'Matador,' but he ended up being ensnared by the bull at Darlington. A late wreck with Martin Truex Jr. took Logano out of contention and relegated him to an 18th place finish.
16Chris Buescher--Sporting the Matt Kenseth/Robbie Reiser-stylized No. 17, Chris Buescher finished 10th at Darlington for his fifth top five run of the season. That's already half as many as he earned in all of 2022, though that tally did include a win last fall at Bristol.
17Justin Haley--Although the results haven't necessarily been there for him from week to week, Justin Haley is starting to have a season that statistically mirrors his 2022 season with a chance to succeed it. With one more top 10, Haley will have as many as he scored in all of last season.
18Todd Gilliland--Todd Gilliland just missed out on another top 10 finish, coming home 11th in Darlington despite being collected in a mid-race pileup. That should help break Gilliland out of a bit of a funk, as his 10th and 11th place finishes have been counteracted by finishes of 24th and 25th over the past month.
19Harrison Burton--If you think it's possible for certain paint schemes to be worth a couple of tenths, consider this: Harrison Burton finished sixth at Darlington driving a throwback to the paint scheme his father drove in 1999, when he won a career-high six races and swept the season at NASCAR's toughest track.
20Ty Gibbs--Ty Gibbs did not experience a trouble-free day, as he was involved in an incident for the second week in a row. But unlike in Kansas where he failed to finish, Gibbs was able to rebound and salvage a 16th place finish at Darlington.
21Ryan Preece--Ryan Preece is going to be a driver to watch at North Wilkesboro given that short track racing is right in his wheelhouse. Preece finished 15th at Darlington, his third top 15 of the season.
22Aric Almirola--If he hadn't gotten tagged just as he was driving by one of the late major crashes, Aric Almirola may have had his second top 10 and one of his best runs of the entire season. Instead, Almirola was collected in the mess of other drivers and finished 21st.
23AJ Allmendinger--After a top 15 finish in Kansas, Darlington presented something of a step back for A.J. Allmendinger. The Dinger never had much pace and finished one lap down in 23rd.
24Daniel Suarez--Daniel Suarez had top five speed early at Darlington, but he would never get his track position back after a pit road speeding penalty and was later collected in the pileup on the backstretch. That marked Suarez's second DNF in the past three races, a trend which obviously needs to be reversed.
25Austin Dillon--A 10th place finish at Kansas proved to be only a quick respite from Austin Dillon's unfortunate reality. A crash left Dillon with his second DNF in the last four races and his third finish of 27th or worse in that span.
26Corey LaJoie--After a 14th place run at Dover and a top 20 at Kansas, Darlington presented a much more workman-like day for Corey LaJoie. LaJoie finished two laps down in 24th, dropping him to 23rd in the Cup standings.
27Chase Briscoe--The good news is that for the first time in two weeks, Chase Briscoe had a finish better than 30th. The bad news is that a 17th place run isn't enough to get Briscoe off the schnide after Dover and Kansas poured cold water all over his April hot streak.
28Michael McDowell--Michael McDowell's day would come to an end after he was collected in the multi-car pileup on the backstretch, which left him with his first DNF of the entire 2023 season. Being around at the finish has been a strength of McDowell's, as he had only two DNFs in all of 2022.
29Erik Jones--A tough season for Erik Jones got more difficult in Darlington, as an improperly installed wheel fell off on a restart and spun him in front of traffic, ruining his day and leaving him with a 25th place finish. Discipline is expected for his pit crew, which means he'll now spend this week waiting for the other shoe to drop.
30Austin Cindric--Although he was able to get back in the top 20 with a 19th place finish, Austin Cindric hasn't had a single finish better than 19th since the month of April began. The sophomore slump is hitting the defending Rookie of the Year and hitting him hard.