We are now a quarter of the way through the season and we have three drivers with multiple wins and three other drivers with one win which qualifies them for the Chase. Carl Edwards picked up his second win of the season this past weekend and now sits at the top of the point standings. I’m not sure how long it will take for the animosity to dissipate between Carl and teammate Kyle Busch because of the bump and run pass for the win, but I think we might see some on track incidents between them in the near future.
This week the series heads to the Talladega Superspeedway for our second restrictor plate race of the season. Talladega is a tri-oval shaped track and is the longest oval track on the NASCAR circuit at 2.66-miles. The restrictor plates are used to slow the top speeds of the cars down so the drivers aren’t going over 225 miles per hour. The result is pack racing which can be exciting once the drivers start making moves. The result is often a wreck that will involve a large number of cars.
Dale Earnhardt Jr.: Dale leads all active drivers with six wins at Talladega. He has also finished in the top ten in half of his thirty-two starts at this track and won this race last season. Dale really knows how to use the draft to his advantage and because of this he has many drivers who trust him and want to draft with him. You will see him make his way through the field in a hurry and once he gets to the front he usually stays close to the front the rest of the race.
Brad Keselowski: Brad has three wins here in only fourteen starts. He has also finished in the top ten in eight of those fourteen starts which tells me this team should have a great car in the draft. He has already won a race this year and is qualified for the Chase, so I think he will take some chances here late in the race to try and pick up another win or help his teammate, Joey Logano, get his first win of the season.
Joey Logano: Joey won the fall race here last year and the Penske teams have been good at these tracks the past few seasons. I don’t see that changing this weekend. I think both of the Penske drivers will be in position to possibly pick up the win especially if they can hook up with each other in the draft. It’s always good to draft with a teammate because you can be pretty sure he is going to go with you when you make a move.
Denny Hamlin: Denny won the Daytona 500 this year and had a fast car all week long during speed week. That car is now sitting at Daytona U.S.A. but I don’t think that is going to matter. I think all of the Joe Gibbs drivers will have great cars once again this weekend and they will try to win their fifth straight race. Much easier to find a teammate to draft with when you have three of them to look for on the track.
Kurt Busch: Kurt always seems to run well here and has finished in the top ten in fifteen of his thirty starts at this track. Although he is still looking for his first win here, this team will be right there at the end of the race and could very easily pick up their first win here and of the season to qualify themselves for the Chase.
Kevin Harvick: Kevin has one win here and has a fast car every week. He is the driver you might not hear much about at the beginning of the race, but he will come from nowhere at the end of the race and get himself into a position where he can win right at the end. All of the drivers know they can trust Kevin and will be willing to go with him when he makes his move at the end of the race.
Jimmie Johnson: Jimmie has won two races at Talladega and the Hendrick teams always seem to run very well here. This team already has two wins on the season, so they are going to take some chances to win races that they might not take if they were racing for points. The only thing that gets you bonus points when the Chase starts is wins. Jimmie will make a move late in the race no matter who is behind him and hope that whoever it is goes along with him.
Matt Kenseth: Matt is looking for his first win of the season and should have a great car this weekend. Matt will have a lot of friends on the track because the drivers know they can trust Matt to stay out of trouble and work their way to the front of the field. The only active driver who has led more laps than Matt here is Dale Earnhardt Jr.
Ricky Stenhouse Jr.: Ricky has only run five races at Talladega in his young career, but he has come away with three top ten finishes. That tells me he knows how to pick someone who drafts well with him on the track and that there are drivers that will trust him to stay with them as they make their way to the front of the pack. I look for this team to have a chance at the end of this race also.
YAHOO! FANTASY NASCAR PICKS FOR TALLADEGA SUPERSPEEDWAY
Yahoo Driver Group A
- Dale Earnhardt Jr.
- Matt Kenseth
Yahoo Driver Group B
- Ricky Stenhouse Jr.
- Paul Menard
- Aric Almirola
- Danica Patrick
Yahoo Driver Group C
- David Ragan
- Michael Waltrip
MY TOP-5 OVERALL AT TALLADEGA SUPERSPEEDWAY
- Dale Earnhardt Jr.
- Matt Kenseth
- Kurt Busch
- Kevin Harvick
- Brad Keselowski
Dark Horse: Ricky Stenhouse Jr.
Stay Away From: Tony Stewart
Big 18: Ricky Stenhouse Jr.