NASCAR’s slow roll back to normalcy following their COVID-19 global pandemic shut down takes another small step this weekend with the GEICO 500, returning to the high-banked, high speed drafting action at Talladega Superspeedway.
NASCAR GEICO 500 at Talladega Preview
NASCAR will allow 5,000 fans in the grandstands for Sunday’s event.
What those fans are very likely to see in the GEICO 500 is Chase Elliott running near the front, which is where’s he’s been constantly since NASCAR returned to action in May. In the eight events since returning to action Elliott has a win, two seconds and five top-fives.
Talladega has been a place of big highs and big lows for Elliott (10-1).
He won the first of two events at the track last season and finished eighth in the second event of 2019 at Talladega. In eight career starts at Talladega Elliott has three top-five finishes overall. His average finish of 13.3 at the track is third best for active drivers.
Ryan Blaney (13-1) scored his third career Cup Series victory in the second Talladega event of 2019.
Blaney has looked on the edge of finding his first win of 2020 lately and we expect that to continue in the GEICO 500. He has finished fourth or better in five of the last six events, including a third place this past Sunday at Homestead-Miami Speedway.
Over 11 Cup Series starts at Talladega dating back to 2014 Blaney’s results run the gamut with three top-10 finishes and six finishes of 18th or worse.
Blaney is one of three Penske Racing drivers to watch near the front at Talladega. His teammate Brad Keselowski (10-1) has five Cup Series victories at Talladega in 22 starts, which is a series best for active drivers. His 12.5 average finish at the track is fourth best of active competitors. But Keselowski’s luck has not been good of late in Alabama. Since winning the second event of the season in 2017 at Talladega, Keselowski has finishes of 33rd, 27th, 13th and 25th over the last four events respectively.
The final pillar at Talladega for Penske racing is Joey Logano (10-1) who has three victories in 22 Cup Series starts at the track. In the last nine events at Talladega Logano has three wins and six top-five finishes. Logano’s three wins at the track is second best of any active driver. Logano won twice this season in the first four events before NASCAR’s shutdown.
With two Cup Series victories each at Talladega, Jimmie Johnson (21-1) and Clint Boywer (21-1) represent the other two of the four active drivers who have multiple series wins at the track. Johnson hasn’t won at Talladega since 2011, with his first win coming in 2006. Bowyer won events in 2010 and 2011 at Talladega.
Ricky Stenhouse Jr. (21-1) has two career Cup Series victories with the first coming at Talladega in 2017 and the second on the series’ other drafting super speedway Daytona International Speedway.
Stenhouse’s 11.6 average finish at Talladega over 13 Cup Series starts leads all active drivers with six or more starts at the track.
Over 38 career starts Kurt Busch (15-1) has an average finish of 15.5 at Talladega, which is the best of any driver with 14 or more starts at the track. Busch has never won at Talladega, but has top-10 finishes in 20 his career starts there.
Stenhouse’s JTG Daugherty teammate Ryan Preece actually has the best overall average finish for active drivers at Talladega at 10.5 over two starts at the track. Preece, who has never won a Cup Series race, has been strong in runs at both drafting tracks the last two seasons.
That’s it for our preview of the GEICO 500 at Telladega, good luck with your online betting!