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Filed under: 500: Power Rankings

Aric Almora as the dark horse

NASCAR: GEICO 500 Peter Casey-USA TODAY Sports

Race Information

Race: 500
Laps: 188
Date: October 13th
Venue: Talladega Superspeedway
2018 Winner: Aric Almora (3:20:24)
Broadcast: NBC


Talladega Superspeedway. There is a great USA article out which 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.

Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series GEICO 500 Photo by Sean Gardner/Getty Images

Power Rankings

The Favorites

Alex Bowman (fourth selection this year) — He has three top 10 finishes in the playoffs so far and he comes to Talladega where he was 2nd earlier this year and 8th last year.

Kurt Busch (eighth selection this year) — Kurt has arguably the best track record at Talladega over the last three years with a myriad of finishes in the top 10 averaging out to 5th. He finished 9th last week as he is progressively getting better each playoff race. He also finished 6th earlier this year at Talladega.

High Risk / High Reward

Ricky Stenhouse Jr. (fifth selection this year) — He has been in the top 20 each of the last three playoff races and outside of earlier this year at Talladega, he has averaged 7th over the last three years. It’s not great but I think he’s a safer top 10 bet than most.

Denny Hamlin (eighth selection this year) — He finished 31st, 1st and 14th here the last three years. In addition to that he’s alternating finishes in the top 5 and outside the top fifteen each playoff race. So, expect a top 5 or bottom 15 finish.

The Dark Horse

Aric Almirola (fifth selection this year) — The winner here last year, Aric finished 9th here earlier this year and now has an average finish of 12th here. Additionally, he’s been in the top 17 each playoff race and seems to consistently finish in that area.

2019 Results

Favorite: Avg Finish 13th (34th Percent)
High Risk/High Reward: Avg Finish 10th (28th Percent)
Dark Horse: Avg Finish 17th (44th Percent)