NASCAR has a new points leader after the inaugural Iowa race

Chase Elliott has become the seventh different driver to lead the NASCAR Cup Series standings at some point during the 2024 season.
Chase Elliott, Kyle Larson, Hendrick Motorsports, Iowa Speedway, NASCAR
Chase Elliott, Kyle Larson, Hendrick Motorsports, Iowa Speedway, NASCAR / Jonathan Bachman/GettyImages

Hendrick Motorsports' Kyle Larson, who had led the NASCAR Cup Series point standings for several races earlier in the year, entered Sunday night's inaugural race at Iowa Speedway as the points leader after overtaking Joe Gibbs Racing's Denny Hamlin for the top spot in the series' most recent race at Sonoma Raceway.

Hamlin had become the season's sixth different point leader when he passed Larson at Charlotte Motor Speedway in late May, primarily since Larson did not compete in the Coca-Cola 600. Prior to his absence, Larson had been the leader since the early April race at Martinsville Speedway.

After crashing out of Sunday's Iowa Corn 350 Powered by Ethanol, Larson has fallen back to second place in the point standings, and teammate Chase Elliott has become the season's seventh different points leader.

Chase Elliott takes points lead, first time since 2022

Elliott finished Sunday's 350-lap race around the four-turn, 0.875-mile (1.408-kilometer) Newton, Iowa oval in third place, and he has not yet finished lower than 19th all year. No other driver has managed to finish every race inside the top 30.

The driver of the No. 9 Chevrolet is locked into the playoffs thanks to his April victory at Texas Motor Speedway, and his average finish of 9.1 through the 2024 season's first 17 races is more than three full positions than the next best.

Elliott most recently led the point standings in the 2022 season. He took the lead in total points scored in the season's fifth race at Atlanta Motor Speedway, and he led all drivers in that category after all 31 races after that.

However, as a byproduct of the modern playoff format, the 2020 champion did not win the 2022 championship.

The 2024 season's other points leaders include Hendrick Motorsports' William Byron, Joe Gibbs Racing's Martin Truex Jr., Team Penske's Ryan Blaney, and Richard Childress Racing's Kyle Busch.

The highest driver in points among those who have not led the standings this year is 23XI Racing's Tyler Reddick in sixth place, 64 points out of the lead.

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New Hampshire Motor Speedway is scheduled to host the 18th race on the 2024 NASCAR Cup Series schedule this Sunday, June 23. The USA Today 301 is set to be broadcast live on USA Network beginning at 2:30 p.m. ET. Start a free trial of FuboTV and don't miss it!