Brief Playoff overview: The first three races will taper the 16 eligible playoff drivers down to 12. The next three races bring the field down to 8. Three more races will bring it to the final four who have one race at Homestead-Miami to decide who the 2018 Monster Energy Cup Series Champion will be.
Race: 1000Bulbs.com 500
Date: October 14th
Venue: Talladega Superspeedway
2017 Winner: Brad Keslowski (3:13:09)
Broadcast: NBC (Rick Allen, Jeff Burton, Dale Earnhardt Jr. Steve Letarte)
Most Race Wins: Dale Earnhardt (7)
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. Opened in 1969 this tri-oval 2.5 mile asphalt track is the longest on the circuit. It has turns ranging from 32 – 33 degrees with the straights being around 3 degrees. Trust in the quicker cars.
1) Brad Keselowski (7th selection this year). Brad had three straight races this season without a top ten finish just once, I don’t see it happening again. He finished 31st and 14th in the last two races and at Talladega he has top 12 finishes each of the last four races.
Brad Keselowski talks about his team's plans for Talladega and the outlook for the rest of the playoffs. #RaceHub pic.twitter.com/V8ZwhbLMsP— FOX: NASCAR (@NASCARONFOX) October 10, 2018
2) Kyle Busch (5th selection this year). He has top eight finishes in three of his four playoff races. Has a mixed history at Talladega over the last two and a half years ranking from 30th to 2nd, I’m banking on a big race from him.
High Risk/High Reward
3) Chase Elliott (6th selection this year). Three consecutive top ten finishes, I’m going to keep riding this train.
4) Kurt Busch (6th selection this year). Top ten finishes four of the last five races at Talladega. Add to that he has finished fifth in the last two races and he might be in line for a third consecutive top five finish.
5) Paul Menard (3rd selection this year). Average finish of 13th over the last five years at Talladega and while he has one top ten finish in the playoffs I think he could be in for another this week.
Favorites: avg finish 11th (29th percentile)
High Risk/Reward: avg finish 16th place (41st percentile)
Dark Horse: avg finish 18th place (47th percentile)
The rules I have implemented for myself are:
- I will not pick a driver more than 10 times this season.
- Due to #1 these are “Power Rankings” (in quotations) I’m looking for value here.
My general format for my power rankings:
- Top 2 picks will generally be the favorites, the ones who should be top 5 or top 10 finished
- #3 and #4 will be your riskier picks, could be top 5 or bottom 15.
- Pick #5 is the dark horse.