Weekend Preview: Talladega Superspeedway


  • GEICO 500
  • Talladega Superspeedway
  • Sunday, April 24, 3:00 p.m. ET
  • Purse: $7,420,008
  • TV: FOX, 2:30 p.m. ET
  • Radio: MRN, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio
  • 500 miles (188 laps)
  • Stage 1 (Ends on Lap 60)
  • Stage 2 (Ends on Lap 120)
  • Final Stage (Ends on Lap 188)

The famed Talladega Superspeedway is a track beloved for its high-action and unpredictability. And those are apt adjectives for NASCAR’s Cup Series competition this season as well – with eight different winners through the first nine races.

The NASCAR Cup Series heads to the 2.66-mile Talladega Superspeedway high banks for Sunday’s GEICO 500 (3 p.m. ET on FOX, MRN, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio) which is traditionally a sure-bet season highlight.

Four Different Winners – Last Four Races

There have been four different winners in the last four races there, including a career first NASCAR Cup Series trophy earned by 23XI Racing driver Bubba Wallace last Fall (October). Former series champion Brad Keselowski is the defending winner of this Spring race and with six career Talladega victories is the winningest driver in the field. He actually boasts an impressive double the number of victories there as any other active driver.

Brad Keselowski

A win would definitely be a huge boost for Keselowski, whose only top-10 finish of this season was a ninth place in the season-opening Daytona 500. The new owner-driver for RFK Racing was penalized after the Atlanta race when NASCAR inspectors found the team modified a “single source” supplied part on the No. 6 RFK Racing Ford. Keselowski lost 100 driver points and 10 Playoff points and crew chief Matt McCall was suspended for four races. And now Keselowski shows up at one of his career-best tracks ranked 30th in the driver standings.

A solid run – a victory this weekend – would go a long way toward turning the season around for the new driver-owner. He scored a win and a runner-up finish in his two Talladega starts last year.

Chase Elliott

Perennial crowd favorite Chase Elliott has led the championship standings for four of the last five weeks, the driver of the No. 9 Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet currently holds a slim three-point edge on Team Penske driver Ryan Blaney and a 21-point advantage over Blaney’s Penske teammate Joey Logano heading to Talladega.

Interestingly, these three drivers ranked highest in the series driver standings are all still winless on the season. But they are all former Talladega winners and race favorites this weekend.

Elliott, who is from nearby Dawsonville, Ga. and considered a “hometown” favorite at Talladega, dramatically won the 2019 October Playoff race at the track, but has only a single top-five finish in the five races since. When it comes to superspeedways (at Daytona and Talladega), however, Elliott has collected six top-five and nine finishes on his career.

Ryan Blaney

Blaney has two victories – in Fall, 2019 and Spring, 2020 – and is the first driver to score back-to-back wins at Talladega since NASCAR Hall of Famer Jeff Gordon swept the 2007 races. However, as with Elliott, Blaney has had a rough go otherwise, with only three top-10 finishes (including those two victories) in the last 11 Talladega races despite leading laps in eight of those 11 outings.

Joey Logano

Logano, driver of the No. 22 Team Penske Ford, trails only Keselowski in the victory count with three wins, the last coming in the Spring, 2018 race. He also has struggled recently with only a single top 10 (third place in Fall 2020) in the last five races. He does boast nine top-five and 11 top-10 finishes in his 26 career starts, however, and has led laps in 12 of the last 13 races.

Any of these drivers has a compelling case to win this Sunday – past Talladega performance plus a desire to score that first 2022 victory.

William Byron

And not to be overlooked is the season’s only multiple-winner, Elliott’s Hendrick Motorsports teammate William Byron. He was runner-up to Keselowski in this race last year and has top-five finishes in two of the last three Talladega races. The driver of the No. 24 Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet scored his first career NASCAR Cup Series win on the series’ other superspeedway in Daytona Beach in August 2020.

“Talladega is one of those places where you just don’t know how your day is going to end up,” Byron said. “I think that’s why driving smart and just doing what you can to make it to the checkered flag is the main focus. Your race can change so fast if you’re in the wrong lane or you get caught up in someone else’s mistake.

“I think if you can avoid those things and finish the race, you’re going to have a decent result.”

Qualifying for the GEICO 500 is schedule for Saturday morning at 11 a.m. ET on FS1.


  • Ag-Pro 300
  • Talladega Superspeedway
  • Saturday, April 23, 4:00p.m. ET
  • Purse: $1,475,583
  • TV: FOX, 3 p.m. ET
  • Radio: MRN, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio
  • 300.58 miles (113 Laps)
  • Stage 1 (Ends on Lap 25)
  • Stage 2 (Ends on Lap 50)
  • Final Stage (Ends on Lap 113)

The NASCAR Xfinity Series returns after a week off to compete in the Ag-Pro 300 this Saturday, April 23 at Talladega Superspeedway (4 p.m. ET on FOX, MRN, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio).

Jeb Burton

Jeb Burton earned his career first NASCAR Xfinity Series victory in this race last year, leading the final nine laps and ultimately holding off Austin Cindric, current series points leader A.J. Allmendinger, Riley Herbst, Ryan Sieg and Noah Gragson.

Burton, who now drives the No. 27 Our Motorsports Chevrolet, would love to back up his victory with his first top-10 finish of the year – and first for his new team – at Talladega this weekend. However, he can expect typically tight competition, among multiple drivers and the kind of last lap drama that has long characterized the speedway and made this one of the most thrilling races of the season.

AJ Allmendinger

Kaulig Racing’s A.J. Allmendinger is in the midst of a stellar season start, earning his first victory of the year at Austin’s Circuit of The Americas road course and is the only driver in the NASCAR Xfinity Series with top-10 finishes in all eight races. Last year’s third place effort at Talladega is his best showing in four Xfinity Series starts there.

Ty Gibbs

Nineteen-year-old Ty Gibb, who will be making his Xfinity Series Talladega debut, is currently second in the Xfinity Series driver standings trailing Allmendinger by 20 points, with a series-best three victories. His only superspeedway experience-to-date, however, is an 11th-place finish in the season-opener at Daytona. The driver of the No. 54 Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota has a series-best 325 laps led on the season and has won pole position in the last three races.

Noah Gragson

Noah Gragson sits just behind Gibbs in the standings and the driver of the No. 9 JR Motorsports Chevrolet has been good on the Talladega high banks earning top-10 finishes in four of his six starts there with a best showing of third-place in 2020. Gragson was third in the first superspeedway race of 2022 – at Daytona. And his four-race run atop the championship standings mid-season is the longest time a driver has led the points consecutively so far.

Brandon Brown – Ryan Sieg – Brandon Jones

Brandon Brown, Ryan Sieg and the most recent Xfinity Series race winner Brandon Jones (at Martinsville, Va.) all have good cases as race favorites too. Brown won the series last race at Talladega in October of 2021 – his only win in the series. He’s finished top-10 in the last three races at the track.

Sieg, who has five top-10 finishes in 2022, has finished 11th-place or better in the last three Talladega races, including a runner-up finish in 2020. Jones, driver of the No. 19 Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota, has three top-five finishes and was runner-up to Brown in the Fall race last year

Dash 4 Cash

Saturday’s race marks the third round of the Dash 4 Cash incentive with $100,000 on the line to the top finishing driver Saturday among these four: Brandon Jones, Landon Cassill, Allmendinger and Austin Hill.

The top-four finishing eligible drivers at Talladega will then race for the final $100,000 courtesy of Xfinity – when the series competes at the “Monster Mile,” Dover (Del.) International Speedway next week. Allmendinger and Jones each pocketed one of the two $100,000 bonuses already awarded this season.

Fantasy NASCAR NASCAR Fantasy Live


With one more race remaining in the second round of the Chase, NASCAR returns to eastern Alabama for the second time this season. Restrictor plate tracks are a challenge at this time in the season because there is so much on the line. This track type requires vehicles to be close to each other and usually results in a major wreck involving half of the field. Determining who will lead laps is challenging, and it is rare that one driver will stay out front for very long.

Because moving forward and backwards through the field is constant, the best advice for Fantasy Live is to start drivers who qualify at the back of the field and take advantage of pass differential.

One look at the value totals for the budget drivers will show the value available with budget options. This is the best opportunity to gain on the competition, so take chances this week. The suggested drivers below are the preliminary roster suggestions until qualifying. Check back in the comments after qualifying for additional roster advice and hope your team misses “the big one”.

The driver who is a clear choice for restrictor plate tracks in Dale Earnhardt Jr. Junior won the May race and led 67 laps. In three restrictor plate races in 2015, Earnhardt Jr. has a 1.7 average finish position and two wins. In these three races, the 88 car has led the most laps and has spend 98% of his laps in the top-15. His history of staying at the front of the field may keep him in front of the inevitable big wreck during the race. In his last five Talladega races, Junior has an average finish position of 15.4 and has led the 3rd most laps of any driver. Expect Dale Earnhardt Jr. to find his way on many lineups; he is not a great options for those needing to gain points in their leagues. My biggest concern is that he needs to win to advance and may take unnecessary risks to try to earn an automatic qualifier.

Due to having the 10th best average finish position of drivers in 2015, I debated the next roster decision. The numbers were too much in the driver’s favor at the track, and I decided to recommend Jimmie Johnson based on track numbers. Jimmie Johnson finished 2nd in the May race and has a 3rd place average in three restrictor plate tracks this year. He has led the most laps of any driver over the last five Talladega races. He has also stayed at the front of the field with 90% of his laps in the top-15. Johnson is not as clear of a roster pick as Junior, and he may be a key to gaining on your competition as he stays under the radar. Johnson is not Chase eligible, but he will still make every effort to win this week’s race. His restrictor plate success is enough to consider him for your roster.

Paul Menard finished in 3rd during the May race and is a sneaky pick for your roster. Although no long Chase eligible, the 27 car has a 15th place average finish position in three restrictor plate races in 2015. Seventy-eight percent of his laps has been in the top-15. Like other drivers, I am hoping that will keep him in front of the big wreck. Over the last five Talladega races, Menard has a 15th place average finish position and three top-10 finishes. With only an 18th place average finish position in 2015, Menard will stay under the radar of many rosters and could be a good play.

Adding Menard to the roster enables additional salary cap to be allocated to the final two roster spots. Casey Mears has a 15th place average finish position for three restrictor plate races in 2015. He did not find much success earlier this year in Talladega and finished 28th. Mears has a 22nd place average so far in 2015, and his salary cap figure is low. David Gilliland finished 20th in the May race. I am slightly fantasy biased against Gilliland because he has a tendency of finishing poorly whenever he has found my roster. Nonetheless, Gilliland has two top-10 finishes in his last five Talladega races and outperforms his average finish position on this track. He will probably be bumped, however, for the lowest qualifier.


Fantasy Live on uses a scoring system that combines laps led, fast laps, finish position, and start-to-finish differential. In order to prevent us from starting the top drivers every week, Fantasy Live uses a salary cap format. Our formula calculates the average number of Fantasy Live points earned by each driver over the last five Talladega races. Next, we divide that number by the driver’s salary cap figure to determine which drivers provide value at a track. For the first time since early in the season, Kevin Harvick is off my roster. We will use his numbers over the past five Talladega races to further illustrate the formula.


  • Average finish position last five Talladega races: 15.2 equals 28.8 Fantasy Live points
  • Start-to-finish differential: Plus 10.4 equals 10.4 Fantasy Live points
  • Laps led: 19 equals 1.9 Fantasy Live points
  • Fast laps: 17 equals 1.7 Fantasy Live points
  • Fantasy Live points per race: 42.8
  • Salary Cap figure: $28.75
  • Fantasy points per dollar: 42.8 divided by $28.75 equals 1.49 points per dollar

It is important to check on qualifying before setting your roster this week. Once again, this is a week to take risks as the upcoming tracks may not provide you with the same opportunities to gain points on your competition. Below are the Fantasy Live points per dollar for each driver in the series:

GROUP A ($25.00 or higher)

  • Jimmie Johnson 1.87
  • Dale Earnhardt Jr. 1.75
  • Kevin Harvick 1.49
  • Matt Kenseth 1.43
  • Denny Hamlin 1.08
  • Kurt Busch 1.04
  • Kyle Busch 0.91
  • Carl Edwards 0.67
  • Joey Logano 0.64
  • Brad Keselowski 0.61

GROUP B ($20.00 – $24.99)

  • Clint Bowyer 1.97
  • Martin Truex Jr. 1.65
  • Paul Menard 1.60
  • Jamie McMurray 1.43
  • Ryan Newman 1.30
  • Kyle Larson 1.25
  • Aric Almirola 1.08
  • Jeff Gordon 0.80
  • Kasey Kahne 0.60

GROUP C ($15.00 – $19.99)

  • Sam Hornish Jr. 2.98
  • Greg Biffle 1.46

GROUP D ($10.00 – $14.99)

  • Ricky Stenhouse Jr. 3.62
  • Justin Allgaier 3.26
  • Cole Whitt 3.17
  • Bobby Labonte 2.65
  • Michael Waltrip 2.55
  • AJ Allmendinger 2.31
  • Ryan Blaney 1.49
  • Danica Patrick 1.30
  • Casey Mears 1.28
  • Austin Dillon 1.19
  • Tony Stewart 0.41
  • Trevor Bayne (-0.34)

GROUP E ($9.99 or lower)

  • Matt DiBenedetto 7.13
  • Travis Kvapil 6.38
  • Josh Wise 6.10
  • Landon Cassill 5.14
  • JJ Yeley 4.63
  • David Gilliland 4.36
  • Michael Annett 2.57
  • Alex Bowman 2.44
  • David Ragan 2.40
  • Michael McDowell 1.75
  • Timmy Hill 0.84
Fantasy NASCAR NASCAR Fantasy Live


Kurt Busch ended up being the driver we all wanted in our lineups at Richmond and has now punched his ticket into the Chase. We now proceed to the unpredictability of restrictor plate racing this week at Talladega Superspeedway. Typically, there is not a dominating car at the Alabama track so you do not have to aggressively chase laps led and fast laps. I will include drivers in this article who have seen success at Talladega for my early week roster recommendations.

The best strategy is to pick a lineup that qualifies near the back of the field and gain points from start-to-finish differential. The restrictor plates allow drivers to easily move from the front to the back of the field. If you are deep in the standings of the league, you may want to pick drivers who do not see many lineups and hope you get lucky. Set your lineup and hope that when the dust settles, you have four cars who can finish one of the most entertaining races to watch all season.

While Dale Earnhardt Jr. is known for his success in Talladega, the driver who has seen the most recent success is Matt Kenseth. Over the last five races at Talladega, Kenseth has led a series-best 209 laps. His 13.6 average finish position is the best of the top-end drivers. Since 2005, Matt Kenseth has spent 64% of his laps running in the top-15. His 13 top-20 finishes since 2005 is tied with Clint Bowyer for the most in the series. If Kenseth qualifies near the back of the field, he will be the first choice for my lineup.

Speaking of Clint Bowyer, watching his team in 2015 has generally been a painful experience. The restrictor plates are an equalizer for struggling teams and Bowyer has found consistent success at this week’s track. While he has not led too many laps here, Bowyer has an 11th place average at the track and a positive start-to-finish differential. His 13 top-20 finishes in 18 races shows that he usually avoids the big wreck. Bowyer will likely be a member of my roster this week.

Ricky Stenhouse Jr. is a scary option for most weeks. With a +14 start-to-finish differential and an 11.4 average finish position in three races, Stenhouse has seen early success. He also has two top-10 finishes already and has stayed away from the carnage. In a race filled with quality budget options, Stenhouse has a high probability of success this week.

David Ragan will soon be switching from the #18 team to the #55 team. Whichever team he drives for, he should have a solid run in Talladega. Ragan’s value has increased since the beginning of the season and almost cannot be defined as a budget option unless you have stashed him on your roster. Ragan has averaged a 15th place finish over his last five Talladega races. Although he has only led nine laps during this time span, one of those laps propelled him to victory two years ago. Ragan has ten top-20 finishes in 16 Talladega races. He should be on your roster if he qualifies at the end of the field.

For once, I still have salary cap room available for the 5th roster spot. I am regretting leaving Kurt Busch off of my roster last week. He has not seen recent success at the track, as evidenced by his 25th place average finish position during the last five Talladega races. Long-term, he is tied for the best in the series with 64% of his laps inside the top-15 since 2005. With 12 top-20 finishes in 20 races, Kurt Busch can drive well here.


Fantasy Live on uses a scoring system that combines fast laps, laps led, average finish position, and start-to-finish differential. In order to manage the talent we choose every week, Fantasy Live uses a salary cap format. Our formula calculates the average number of points earned by each driver over the past five Talladega races. Next, we divide the average number of points by the salary cap figure to help find potential value. By the end of this weekend, Dale Earnhardt Jr. has a good chance to find my roster. He is off right now, and we will use his numbers to further illustrate the formula.


  • Average finish position last five Talladega races: 19.2 equals 24.8 Fantasy Live points per race
  • Start-to-finish differential: Negative 1.2 equals negative 1.2 points per race
  • Laps led: 113 equals 11.3 points per race
  • Fast laps: 14 equals 1.4 points per race
  • Total points per Talladega race: 62.67
  • Fantasy Live Salary Cap Figure: $27.25
  • Points per Dollar:62.67 divided by $27.25 equals 2.30 points per dollar

Below you will find the Points per Dollar for each driver. My picks are highlighted in bold. We will use 2015 numbers for drivers with no track history. Good luck and make sure to tweak your lineup after qualifying.

GROUP A ($25.00 or higher)

  • Matt Kenseth 3.88
  • Jimmie Johnson 2.87
  • Dale Earnhardt Jr. 2.30
  • Kyle Larson 2.13
  • Kevin Harvick 1.69
  • Jamie McMurray 1.62
  • Denny Hamlin 1.23
  • Jeff Gordon 1.17
  • Kasey Kahne 1.06
  • Brad Keselowski 1.00
  • Joey Logano 0.90

GROUP B ($20.00 – $24.99)

  • Greg Biffle 2.81
  • Clint Bowyer 2.15
  • Martin Truex Jr. 1.58
  • Paul Menard 1.29
  • Ryan Newman 1.28
  • Aric Almirola 1.05
  • Kurt Busch 0.89
  • Carl Edwards 0.71

GROUP C ($15.00 – $19.99)

  • Austin Dillon 1.57
  • AJ Allmendinger 1.30
  • Sam Hornish Jr. 0.69
  • Tony Stewart 0.24

GROUP D ($10.00 – $14.99)

  • Ricky Stenhouse Jr. 4.19
  • David Gilliland 3.67
  • Bobby Labonte 3.56
  • David Ragan 3.49
  • Justin Allgaier 2.98
  • Michael Waltrip 2.73
  • Casey Mears 1.91
  • Danica Patrick 1.21
  • Ryan Blaney 0.30
  • Trevor Bayne 0.10

GROUP E ($9.99 or lower)

  • Landon Cassill 5.04
  • JJ Yeley 2.97
  • Josh Wise 2.80
  • Cole Whitt 2.55
  • Matt DiBenedetto 2.50*
  • Brendan Gaughan 2.45*
  • Michael McDowell 1.92
  • Jeb Burton 1.12*
  • Michael Annett 0.75
  • Alex Bowman (-0.14)
  • Brian Scott (-4.75)

* Driver has no track data, and we are using his 2015 numbers.

Fantasy NASCAR NASCAR Fantasy Live

NASCAR Fantasy Live Picks, 2014 Talladega Superspeedway, GEICO 500

Talladega is one of the most exciting races of the season, and the championship implications will only make the race more competitive. Restrictor plate tracks balance the field to the extent that there is little advantage from one team to the next. The results are unpredictable. As a result, your fantasy racing strategy for this week will be different than most. Dispensing Fantasy Racing advice is difficult as my guess is just as likely to fail as it is to succeed. That being said, some drivers have a better Talladega history than others. Below are my pre-qualifying Fantasy Live picks. My strategy is to start with this team and switch the picks with drivers who qualify near the back of the field. The points gained from start-to-finish differential should outweigh the fluky laps led number.

The driver with the most Fantasy Live points over the last five Talladega races is the first pick for my roster. Matt Kenseth has hopefully cooled off from his post-Charlotte riff with Brad Keselowski. Since 2005, Kenseth has a series-best average running position of 13.9 and runs 65% of his laps in the Top 15. Kenseth has 12 Top Twenty finishes in his last 19 Talladega races. He also led the most laps of any driver during this time span.

The second pick for my roster scared me earlier in the year at this race. He stayed in the back of the field to avoid the big wreck and is a risky strategy. With his championship situation, he may need to be more aggressive. Dale Earnhardt Jr. usually drives well at restrictor plate tracks. With an average running position of 14.7 and 60% of his laps in the Top 15, Junior has a chance to finish near the top. He is also third in laps led since 2005.

The third choice for my roster is Brian Vickers. Vickers has 5 Top Five finishes in his last 13 Talladega races. Vickers has a 17th place average finish position and spends 57% of his laps in the Top 15. David Ragan is a great bargain as he drivers much better than his salary cap figure. Ragan has 7 Top Ten finishes in his last 15 starts and holds a 15th place average finish position since 2005. He won this race last spring and has upside. He was running well earlier this year before being involved in a wreck.

There are plenty of options as any driver in the field has a legitimate shot at a Top 15 finish. My fifth roster spot goes to David Gilliland. Gilliland is not as dominant here as his teammate David Ragan, but he understands how to drive at restrictor plate tracks. Once again, my picks will be influenced by the qualifying order, and the weekly picks can change.


Fantasy Live on uses a scoring system that combines fast laps, laps led, average finish position, and start-to-finish differential. In order to prevent us from simply starting the top drivers ever week, Fantasy Live uses a salary cap format. Our formula simply determines the average number of points each driver earned over the last five Talladega races and divides that number by the salary cap figure. The end result is a number that shows how many points to expect form each of your fantasy dollars. I almost picked Jeff Gordon over Dale Earnhardt Jr. simply due to his consistency in 2014. As a consolation prize, we will use his Talladega numbers to illustrate the points per dollar salary cap formula.


  • Total laps led last five Talladega races: 12 equals 1.2 fantasy points per race
  • Average finish position: 19th place equals 25 fantasy points per race
  • Fast Laps: cannot be calculated with 100% accuracy
  • Start-to-finish differential: Negative Ten equals (-10) fantasy points per race
  • Average points per race: 16.20
  • Fantasy Live Salary Cap Figure: $27.75
  • Fantasy points per dollar: 16.20 divides by $27.75 equals 0.58 points per dollar

See each driver’s fantasy points per dollar over the last five Talladega race with this week’s picks in bold. Check the comments after qualifying for some additional advice.

GROUP A ($25.00 or higher)

  • Matt Kenseth 2.15
  • Kyle Busch 1.60
  • Dale Earnhardt Jr. 1.55
  • Clint Bowyer 1.51
  • Jimmie Johnson 1.14
  • Brad Keselowski 1.13
  • Kevin Harvick 1.07
  • Jeff Gordon 0.58
  • Ryan Newman 0.48
  • Carl Edwards 0.28

GROUP B ($20.00 – $24.99)

  • Brian Vickers 2.43
  • Kyle Larson 2.37
  • Greg Biffle 1.82
  • Jamie McMurray 1.46
  • Martin Truex Jr. 1.42
  • Paul Menard 1.37
  • Aric Almirola 1.19
  • Kasey Kahne 0.95
  • Denny Hamlin 0.95
  • Kurt Busch 0.66
  • Austin Dillon 0.65
  • Marcus Ambrose 0.55
  • Joey Logano 0.19
  • Tony Stewart (-0.01)

GROUP C ($15.00 – $19.99)

  • Ricky Stenhouse Jr. 2.57
  • AJ Allmendinger 1.49
  • Casey Mears 1.05
  • Justin Allgaier 0.53
  • Danica Patrick 0.22

GROUP D ($10.00 – $14.99)

  • David Ragan 4.87
  • David Gilliland 3.53
  • Michael Waltrip 1.68
  • Cole Whitt 1.67
  • Trevor Bayne 0.21

GROUP E ($9.99 or lower)

  • Travis Kvapil 5.23
  • JJ Yeley 4.15
  • Landon Cassill 4.00
  • Michael Annett 3.22
  • Michael McDowell 2.53
  • Terry Labonte 2.50
  • Alex Bowman 2.24
  • Josh Wise 1.33
  • Reed Sorenson (-0.25)
Fantasy NASCAR NASCAR Fantasy Live

NASCAR Fantasy Live Picks, 2014 Talladega Superspeedway, Aaron’s 499

Sunday’s race in Talladega will be hard-pressed to top a Richmond track that had a fantastic finish accompanied by hot tempers and one black eye!

Last week’s picks for Richmond yielded 199 points (1.99 points per fantasy dollar). The final standings were decent; however, my choices did not lead enough laps to win the league. This week’s most valuable driver is Reed Sorensen, even though his data is only from one race (5.33 points per dollar). He passed thirty cars for an 11th place finish in his only spring race at the track. Drivers with five races at the track with the most value were David Gilliland and David Ragan. Both drivers had consistent success at the track.

From the perspective of Fantasy Nascar advice, the Alabama track is nearly impossible to predict. Drivers quickly move to the front and back of the field. All we can do is make the best picks that we can hoping the crashes miss our choices, and they find the right line when the race comes to a close.

With the new playoff format, this will be a highly competitive race that offers a potential playoff spot to teams that usually do not run at the top of the field.


Even with the unpredictable nature of restrictor plate tracks, some drivers have better performances at Talladega than others.

The most consistent driver over the last ten years is Dale Earnhardt Jr. Over the last ten spring races, Dale has an average finish of eleventh. Matt Kenseth is also a solid option and has led the most laps over the last five years.

Other drivers with recent success at the track include Kurt Busch, Dave Ragan, and Clint Bowyer.

FANTASY NASCAR LIVE SALARY CAP uses a salary cap format, which limits you from selecting all of the top drivers.

Using a combination of final race standing, fast laps, laps led, and differential from start to finish, this format forces uses to find the diamonds in the rough each week. In order to discover the value drivers, this article looks at the total points accumulated by each driver over their last five spring races at Talladega.

The only data point that will not be included is the fast laps because I cannot promise 100% accuracy of the data.

Basically, the formula that is used is simply dividing the average points accumulated per week for each driver divided by their salary cap number listed on The end result is the total number of points earned per salary cap dollar.

This data below from Matt Kenseth’s last five spring Talladega races should help.


  • Matt Kenseth Total number of laps led last five years: 234 (46.8 per race average)
  • Matt Kenseth Average lap points on format (1 point/2 laps led): 23.4 per race
  • Matt Kenseth Average point differential: (-7)
  • Matt Kenseth Average finish: 18th (26 fantasy points)
  • Current Matt Kenseth salary on 28.25
  • Matt Kenseth’s Fantasy NASCAR Live points per dollar: 42.4/28.25 = 1.5 points per fantasy dollar


In order to incorporate the rookies with no history at Talladega, my formula is using their results for the 2014 season instead of the track data. Another suggestion for success this week is to select drivers who qualify at the back of the field. Their potential to move up the field is very high with restrictor plates and well worth the risk for reliable drivers.

Best Value Picks

  • Reed Sorensen 5.33 (points per fantasy dollar)
  • JJ Yeley 3.71
  • David Ragan 3.43
  • David Gilliland 3.31
  • Michael McDowell 2.67
  • Terry Labonte 2.27
  • Michael Waltrip 2.05

Notable Rookies

  • Michael Annett 3.2 (points per fantasy dollar)
  • Justin Allgaier 3.13
  • Alex Bowman 2.81
  • Cole Whitt 2.81
  • Austin Dillon 2.67
  • Kyle Larson 2.57
  • Brian Scott 2.4

Notable Drivers

  • Ricky Stenhouse Jr. 1.88 (points per fantasy dollar)
  • Kurt Busch 1.59
  • Matt Kenseth 1.5
  • Dale Earnhardt Jr. 1.5
  • Jamie McMurray 1.39
  • Clint Bowyer 1.34
  • Tony Stewart 1.15
  • Brad Keselowski 1.12
  • Kyle Bush 1.11
  • Denny Hamlin 1.05
  • Carl Edwards 0.98
  • Kevin Harvick 0.87
  • Joey Logano 0.86
  • Jimmie Johnson 0.78
  • Jeff Gordon 0.32


Based on my formula for salary cap drivers here is my line-up for this week’s race at Talladega. My total salary cap used is $100.00

  1. Kurt Busch $27.25
  2. Dale Earnhardt Jr. $27.25
  3. Ricky Stenhouse Jr. $21.25
  4. David Gilliland $13.00
  5. David Ragan $11.25