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Now on to the outstanding racing content from elctrceye!
Geico 500 at Talladega
After his win last weekend at Richmond, Joey Logano has been inserted as the highest salaried driver in this Sunday’s contest. Now of course there is a bit of controversy surrounding that ‘win’ but still, he is one of today’s favorites to win the race.
We will get to breaking down the driver’s that I like later, however there a few things to be said for the biggest race track on the circuit. Talladega Superspeedway is 2.66 miles in length which provides for some of the fastest racing in the industry. The higher speeds bring a different dynamic to the term ‘slight miscalculation’. Those may be harmless at tracks like Bristol and Martinsville but can easily cause ‘The Big One’ here in Talladega and usually does. We saw it happen a few times in Saturday’s Xfinity race as there were only 14 drivers on the lead lap at the end of the 300 mile race.
It will take at least 188 laps to win the 500 mile race on Sunday provided there is no rain to get in the way. To start out our research it’s probably best to pay attention to some of the faster cars this season as well as some of the cars running fast this weekend. If we can combine those two things with a driver or two that has a good track record here then we are in business.
There was only one rain-shortened practice before Saturday afternoon’s qualifying which saw 41 cars vie for the 40 starting positions. It’s been a little while since someone was sent home as there have been only 38 and 39 cars registering for the race on a weekly basis. Without any further ado, let’s get down to the business.
Joey Logano – ($10,700) – I wasn’t kidding when I said Logano’s price was high and the question that is begging to be answered is ‘will he be worth it’? Of course only time will tell as the driver of the # 22 Shell Pennzoil Ford has only two top 10 finishes in his last 10 starts here at Talladega. With statistics like that you have to scratch your head as to why his price is so high. Well, he has won two of the last three races and has had problems in four other races in those 10 starts. He did grab the fifth fastest speed in the only practice, which was shortened by rain, and has chalked up eight top 10 finishes in the nine races run so far this season. Logano will start from the 12th position.
Brad Keselowski – ($10,500) – Keselowski is another heavy favorite to win the 48th Annual Geico 500 here at Talladega Superspeedway. The driver of the # 2 Fitzgerald Glider Kits Ford has also been inserted as a 7-1 favorite to win the race along with Logano and Denny Hamlin ($10,200). These are the only three drivers that eclipse the 10k mark for this week’s contest as Vegas seems to agree with DraftKing’s assessment. Or is it the other way around? Anyway, Keselowski has a leg up as he too has won two of his last five starts at this track. He also turned the third fastest lap in the only practice and was fast enough to start third when the green flag drops on the 48th Annual Geico 500.
Some other driver’s that are a bit pricy are Kyle Busch ($9,600), Dale Earnhardt Jr. ($9,400) and Kyle Larson ($9,000). With Junior retiring at the end of the season that is almost a surefire sign that he has never mentally recovered from the concussion problem he had last season. He has finished in the top 10 just once this season and put up two decent finishes before finishing 40th before the concussion problems last season. Larson could be a bargain here as he is the leader of the Monster Energy Cup Series standings.
Chase Elliott ($9,200) has only two starts here in Talladega and has racked up a 12th and fifth place finish, which would make him a decent option here on the 30th anniversary of his dad’s ‘World’s Fastest Car’ record. Busch will start 10th while Earnhardt starts on the front row.
Clint Bowyer ($8,200) – Thanks to a 15th place finish last week Bowyer’s salary still remains quite reasonable. If you have read my column this season you already know that the driver of the #14 Haas Automation Demo Days Ford has flourished since taking over the wheel for Tony Stewart. Bowyer is ninth in the standings and was the fastest car in the rain shortened practice. He also leads all active drivers with six top 10 finishes in his last 10 starts on the huge 2.66 mile oval. Bowyer will start from the 17th position.
Kurt Busch – ($8,000) – Busch is almost like any other driver that takes to the track in Alabama, if you stay out of the crashes, you do well. Yes, it’s that simple. ‘The Big One’ usually tales out a bunch of cars and if you can avoid two crashes, you are more than likely to finish in the top 15. The driver of the #41 Haas Automotive/Monster Energy Ford has stayed away from the wrecks the last five times out and has collected four top 10 finishes. The other finish outside the top 10 was his 12th place finish back in the fall of 2015. He was the fourth fastest car in practice and will start 15th Sunday afternoon.
Paul Menard – ($7,300) – Menard is almost a carbon copy of Kyle Busch except that he seems to find the wrecks with a little more frequency than the aforementioned Busch. With that said the driver of the # 27 Valvoline/Menard’s Chevrolet has only been caught up twice in his last seven starts here at Talladega. The other five finishes have produced four top 10 finishes and a 13th place finish in the fall of last year. If he can keep the car on the track, he is probably well worth the risk and price here. Menard showed some of his superspeedway muscle as he will start from the ninth position on Sunday.
Ricky Stenhouse Jr. – ($7,200) will start from the pole while Matt Kenseth ($9,100) and Trevor Bayne ($7,100) round out the top five along with Earnhardt Jr. and Keselowski. Stenhouse is the risk here although he does have four top 10 finishes here at Talladega in the last seven starts. Timmy Hill has withdrawn and D.J. Kennington did not make the cut, so don’t roster them as they will receive no points.
That will wrap up another week of Nascar analysis here at Fanvice.com. Be sure to follow me on twitter @elctrceye and as always, good luck in your contests this weekend.