Congratulations to Kevin Harvick, who once again won a race when he really needed to and qualified himself for the third round of the Chase. Chase Elliott finds himself in the unenviable position of virtually having to win the race this coming weekend to move on to the third round of the Chase as he currently sits in twelfth place so he needs to overtake four other drivers by enough places to move into the eighth position.
This week the series heads to the Talladega Superspeedway for the second round elimination race. Talladega is a restrictor plate race which means that anything can happen this weekend. So, the only two drivers who are really safe this week are Jimmie Johnson and Kevin Harvick who won the first two races of this round. All other drivers need to worry about getting caught up in the big one this weekend that can ruin their whole season.
Brad Keselowski: I am going to pick Brad to win this week’s race. He already has four wins here in only fifteen starts and has won two of the last four races here. He either needs to win this race or finish in the top five and hope it is enough to get him back into the top eight in points so he can move on. Brad seems to be a little like Harvick in the fact that when he needs to win a race he usually gets it done.
Jimmie Johnson: Jimmie has led more laps in the last five races here than any other driver who is entered in this race. However, his finishes don’t reflect that in those five races. Then another thing is, this team has looked much better the past couple of weeks and they might be hitting their stride at the right time this year.
Kurt Busch: Kurt has always run well at this track even though he is still looking for his first win here. Kurt also needs to win this race or hope other drivers have some type of problem so he can move into the top eight in points and continue his quest for another championship.
Matt Kenseth: Matt is always calm and patient on the track and that can really pay off on a restrictor plate track. Matt seems to stay out of trouble early in these races by either running up front or falling into a pack behind the lead pack where you have time to slow down if a wreck occurs in front of you. I think Matt will stay out of trouble once again this week and move on to the third round.
Chase Elliott: Chase finished fifth in his only start at this track earlier this year. As I said before, I don’t think anything short of a win will be enough for him to move to the next round. However, this is a restrictor plate track and anything can happen. It is still very unlikely he will move on by points after this race.
Kevin Harvick: Look for Kevin to run at the back of the pack unless he qualifies up front and then make his move during the last twenty-thirty laps of this race. With nothing to lose, this team will do what they need to just to pick up another trophy and gear up for the third round of the Chase. You might not hear much about him early in the race, but you will hear his name late.
Martin Truex Jr.: Martin needs to stay out of trouble in this race and then he should move on. After winning two races in the first round, Martin has struggled a little bit in the last two races. They need to get back on track and they are still a legitimate contender for this season’s championship.
Joey Logano: Joey currently sits in the final spot to make the third round. He and teammate, Brad Keselowski, work well together on the restrictor plate tracks. I think if he stays out of trouble early he will finish in the top ten this weekend and that should be enough for him to advance.
Kyle Busch: This is going to be the toughest race of the season for Kyle. He wants to race hard all the time and this week he needs to focus on the big picture. Stay out of trouble and just come away with a top ten finish and keep the chance to continue to defend his championship in the third round.
Denny Hamlin: Denny is always good on the restrictor plate tracks and he might need to win this race to move on to the next round. Remember, Denny won the Daytona 500 this year which just goes to show, he knows how to get the job done on this type of track. The Joe Gibbs teams have shown speed all season and that will come in big this weekend.
YAHOO! FANTASY NASCAR PICKS FOR TALLADEGA SUPERSPEEDWAY
Yahoo Driver Group A
- Brad Keselowski
- Denny Hamlin
Yahoo Driver Group B
- Austin Dillon
- Jamie McMurray
- Paul Menard
- Trevor Bayne
Yahoo Driver Group C
- Ryan Blaney
- Alex Bowman
MY TOP-5 OVERALL AT TALLADEGA SUPERSPEEDWAY
- Brad Keselowski
- Denny Hamlin
- Joey Logano
- Matt Kenseth
- Kevin Harvick
Dark Horse: Austin Dillon
Stay Away From: Greg Biffle
Big 18: Austin Dillon