Congratulations to Denny Hamlin for racing his way into the round of 8. That’s was a huge win for this team seeing the next two races can be very tough on the rest of the playoff drivers who are still trying to advance.
This week the series heads back to the Talladega Superspeedway for the running of the YellaWood 500. This is a restrictor plate race which means any driver who starts this race can win it. There is such a potential for the Big One to take out so many cars that no one is safe here. I think that potential gets even greater with it being a playoff race where some drivers will take an even bigger chance on making a move that might cause one of those wrecks.
Aric Almirola: I’m going to go out on a limb and pick Aric to win this weekend. He has a win and eight top ten finishes in his last ten Talladega starts. If he can stay out of trouble in the early stages of the race he will be a contender at the end and could take away a win from someone in the playoffs who might need it to advance.
Ryan Blaney: Ryan has been running very well lately and has won two of the last four races at this track. He has also scored stage points in all but two of the last eighteen stages run here. That tells me he runs towards the front of the pack for the most part which cuts down on the chance of getting caught up in a wreck until those up front really start making moves.
Joey Logano: Joey has won two races here in his career and has led laps in eleven of the last twelve races run here. That means he has a car that drafts well at this track and gets a lot of people to help him out in the draft. In fact, all of the Penske drivers really run well here each and every time they visit this track.
Brad Keselowski: Brad has six career wins at Talladega. I just don’t know what to think about this team right now as they haven’t been running very well lately, but this is a restrictor plate race where anyone can win. I think that gives Brad a chance this week to win a race and move into the round of eight. Do I use him here or wait for a short track at the end of the season? That is my dilemma right now.
Denny Hamlin: Denny won this race last year and has finished in the top five in four of his last six starts at Talladega. He also runs very well at Daytona all the time. He doesn’t need to win either of the next two races to advance now that he won at Las Vegas, but I’m sure they will go for the win, but might just push a teammate to victory to help them advance also. Either way I think they run towards the front on the pack again.
Chase Elliott: Chase won here a couple of years ago and currently has a twenty-two point cushion to work with. Twenty-two points isn’t a lot when you head to a restrictor plate track. An early incident can knock you out of the race and other drivers can score stage points and easily put you behind the eight ball so to speak. He just needs to be careful early on and then go for it towards the end of the race to try and protect that cushion.
Ricky Stenhouse Jr.: Ricky is pretty much a wild card on a wild card weekend. He runs very well at the restrictor plate tracks, but takes a lot of chances very early in the races in my opinion which leads to him causing some wrecks. That in turn leads to many drivers not wanting to help him in the draft. If he can make it to the late stages of the race all of those concerns go out the window and any driver will go with someone who will get them to the front of the pack.
Ryan Newman: Ryan is another driver who could potentially take a win away from a playoff driver this week. In his five starts here with Roush/Fenway Racing he has three top ten finishes with one of those being a runner-up finish. This is very likely his last year in the Cup series and this might be one of his best chances to win one last race.
Kevin Harvick: Kevin hasn’t run consistently well at this track in his career, but he is smart enough to know that he needs to stay out of trouble early on here. It wouldn’t surprise me to see him and some other drivers fall back from the lead pack and just drive around the track early on and wait until closer to the end to get back into the mix. He might need a win to advance. The thing is, if you fall back to stay safe early on you can’t get any stage points.
DRIVER GROUP GAME FANTASY NASCAR PICKS FOR TALLADEGA SUPERSPEEDWAY
Driver Group Game Group A
- Ryan Blaney
Driver Group Game Group B
- Aric Almirola
- Ryan Newman
Driver Group Game Group C
- Ricky Stenhouse Jr.
MY TOP-5 OVERALL AT TALLADEGA SUPERSPEEDWAY
- Aric Almirola
- Ryan Blaney
- Joey Logano
- Denny Hamlin
- Brad Keselowski
Dark Horse: Michael McDowell
Stay Away From: Martin Truex Jr.
Big 18: Ryan Newman