Race: YellaWood 500
Date: October 4th
Venue: Talladega Superspeedway
2019 Winner: Ryan Blaney (3:39:35)
Talladega Superspeedway — There was a great USA article that came out last year 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 three degrees. Trust in the quicker cars but also anticipate there will be some bumping as the cars try to go three wide on this track.
Joey Logano (tenth selections this year) — Logano has nothing but top 12 finishes at Talladega the last four races and if you look at the playoff specific races here, he’s finished in the top five four of the last five years. This time of year Logano has a tendency to turn it on—he started the playoffs with back to back third place finishes.
Denny Hamlin (eighth selections this year) — Hamlin had a 36th place finish in a wreck filled 2019 race that saw almost half the field in various accidents. If you remove that race, here are his results since 2017: sixth, first, fourth, 14th, third and he finished fourth this year.
High Risk/High Reward
Chase Elliot (eighth selections this year) — Elliot has finished in the top 10 the last three races at Talladega. He DNF earlier this season with an accident at lap 135 putting him at 38th. Elliot has been hot and cold in the playoffs with two top ten finishes and two finishes in the 20s.
Aric Almirola (fifth selections this year) — Almirola is slowly becoming the Talladega king. He may only have one win here over the last three years but he has nothing but top ten finishes. Since 2017—fifth, fourth, first, seventh, fourth, ninth, and then third earlier this year (it doesn’t matter if it’s regular season).
The Dark Horse
Ty Dillon (first selections this year) — Dillon, dating back to his rookie season in 2017, has averaged less than 15th here each of the last three years. It’s not elite but it’s consistent and he seems to have solidified an ability to finish between 10th and 17th here each race. This was further confirmed when he finished 12th here earlier this year.
Fun Fact: Dale Earnhardt had his final Winston Cup win at this race.
Favorite: Avg Finish 11th (27th Percent)
High Risk/High Reward: Avg Finish 16th (40th Percent)
Dark Horse: Avg Finish 19th (49th Percent)