What: Geico 500
When: May 7th
Where: Talladega Superspeedway
2016 Winner: Brad Keslowski
I will follow Yahoo's Fantasy Auto Racing where you pick 2 A Racers, 4 B Racers and 2 C Racers. As such I will pick one from A, 2 from B and 1 from C (as if they were your starters) along with one Dark Horse pick.
Quick aside from picks over the Toyota Owners 400 - I mentioned Trevor Bayne sneaking in the top 10, I was elated but dismayed that he finished 13th, I was so close!
Track: Talladega Superspeedway. There is a great USA article out this week which basically states: "Talladega, a guaranteed thrill machine". When you hear the words Talladega, everyone immediately thinks of the history and excitement of this track.
Dale Earnhardt Jr. He is having the worst season among the A drivers. There I said it, I can't take it back. Retirement looming, concussions derailing and now he finds himself with his most familiar track. It would be an epic story for him to pull out a win here on Sunday. He finished 40th in this race last year, it was due to an accident on lap 63 but prior to that in 2015 he finished 1st and 2nd in the two races here. He has the 2nd most starts among active drivers here and is among the top drivers in total wins in Alabama.
Hopefully nothing more like these derail his retirement tour:
Chase Elliot. 5th and 12th here last year, he generally succeeds in these restrictor plate races and I think he has one of the quickest cars on the circuit right now. I'm not sure if he will win but I'd put him as a good top ten finish.
Ricky Steinhouse Jr. Fresh off back to back top 10 finishes, I'm betting on the trifecta. He has a great track record here with 3 top ten finishes in his last 5 races here. If for nothing else then to give a week off picking Kyle Larson I think this is a solid selection to finish in the top 15 and possibly top 10.
David Ragan. I'm nervous about this pick. The last 3 years he has consistently finished in the 30's every time here BUT he's back with Front Row Motorsports who helped him win here in 2013, he generally does well on restrictor plate races and I could see a bounce back, plus the C-Group isn't ripe with comfortable picks at Talladega.
Cole Whitt. It's not the flashiest pick but he solidly lands in the top 20 here repeatedly. He finished 18th at the Geico 500 last year, 13th in 2015 and 22nd in the playoffs that year. He's a sneaky Talladega Driver and should be a sleeper for a top 20 possibly top 15 finish.