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YellaWood 500: Power Rankings

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Ryan Blaney has been on a good streak.

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

Race Information

Race: YellaWood 500
Laps: 188
Date: Sunday, October 3rd
Venue: Talladega Superspeedway
2020 Winner: Denny Hamlin (4:05:58)
Network: NBCSN

Track: Talladega Superspeedway

There was a great USA article 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 to 33 degrees with the straights being around 3 degrees. Trust in the quicker cars but also anticipate there will be some bumping as the cars try to go 3+ wide on this track.

Talladega Superspeedway Photo by ISC Archives/CQ-Roll Call Group via Getty Images

Favorites

Kevin Harvick (eighth selection this year) – Harvick has top 10 finishes his last two races at Talladega and he is one of five racers to post top 10 finishes in every playoff race thus far.


Ryan Blaney (ninth selection this year) — Ryan is seemingly getting better with each playoff race. He began in the 20s and now has back-to-back top five finishes. Since 2019, he has two wins here and three top 10 finishes.

High Risk/High Reward

Aric Almirola (ninth selection this year) — Aric has seven top 10 finishes here across his last nine races. He has been above average lately, finishing in the top 20 in nine consecutive races (but only one finish in the top 10).

William Byron (eighth selection this year) William’s last three races at Talladega have all yielded top 12 finishes. I’m concerned, however, that he only has one top 12 finish in the playoffs so far. Byron did overcome the 2nd largest point deficit to advance two weeks ago.

The Dark Horse

Ryan Preece (third selection this year). Preece has landed among the top 15 in each of his last three races in Talladega. His playoffs so far haven’t been anything amazing but he does have two top 20 finishes.

Fun Fact: This is one of four races currently run with tapered spacers.


2021 Results

Favorite: Average Finish 13th (34th Percent)
High Risk/High Reward: Average Finish 16th (43rd Percent)
Dark Horse: Average Finish 18th (47th Percent)