Martin Truex Jr. continued his shared dominance of the NASCAR Monster Cup playoffs, along with Kyle Busch, as he won at Charlotte. The two have combined to win the first four races of the playoffs as they head to Talladega, which is considered the wild card race where anything and everything can (and probably will) happen. Here’s a closer look at the Alabama 500.
Event: Alabama 500
Category: NASCAR Monster Energy Cup Series
Date: Sunday, October 15th, 2:00 PM PM ET
Location: Talladega Superspeedway, Talladega, Alabama
Truex led 91 laps after starting 17th, while Chase Elliott had another second-place finish. Kevin Harvick (who led a race-high 149 laps), Denny Hamlin and Jamie McMurray finished in the top five for the second points race of the year at Charlotte. The scene shifts to Talladega, where Joey Logano has won the last two fall races. Ricky Stenhouse Jr. won the spring Talladega race.
Past Five Winners
2016: Joey Logano
2015: Joey Logano
2014: Brad Keselowski
2013: Jamie McMurray
2012: Matt Kenseth
Taking a look at the driver ratings for Talledga, Chase Elliott comes in at 91.4, Dale Earnhardt Jr. is at 91.0 and Brad Keselowski is a 88.7. Earnhardt Jr. leads all active drivers with six wins at this track followed by Keselowski, who has four wins. Look for drivers who are in the outside front row starting position as that one has produced plenty of success. More winners have come from second than any other starting position on the track.
Truex Jr. and Elliott are the hot drivers right now as Truex Jr. won last Sunday at Charlotte. As for Elliott, he has placed in second in each of the last two races and now is up to fourth in the standings. While Keselowski has done well on this track, he was just 15th last week, so he’s clearly cooled off after winning a stage at Dover.
What To Know About The Track
Talladega Superspeedway opened in 1969 and is the biggest track in NASCAR at 2.66 miles. It is banked at 33 degrees in Turns 1 and 2, 32.4 degrees in Turn 3, 32.5 degrees in Turn 4, 16.5 degrees through the tri-oval and three degrees down the back straightaway. It is a track where restrictor plates are used to limit the speeds, which means the drivers ride around in packs and use drafting to get around. In recent years, the early parts of the race involve a lot of single-line racing, but when the last 50 laps come around, drivers get antsy and the action starts to pick up.
A Good Matchup To Bet: Clint Bowyer over Kurt Busch
Bowyer is the underdog in this matchup with the older Busch brother, who is -130 to +100 for Bowyer. But Bowyer has been great in the fall here with wins in 2010 and 2011 in 11 starts, along with an average finish of 11.5. In 23 overall starts at Talladega, Bowyer has an average finish of 14.7. In the fall here, Busch sits at 16.1 in 16 starts and overall in 33 starts, Busch has an average finish of 15.6. Bowyer is slightly better here than Busch, who won’t be at Stewart-Haas Racing after the season is done. Even though Busch finished sixth here in the spring and Bowyer finished 14th, Bowyer is the play here.
Top-Five Pick: Jamie McMurray
McMurray is one of the best plate-track drivers in the business and he finished to Stenhouse here in the spring. He has seven wins in total in his Cup career, and three have come at Talladega and Daytona, so he knows how to get around here. McMurray is eighth in the standings, so he is right there on the cutoff line to get into the next round, so he’ll also be trying to keep his car clean, which might be the most important skill at Talladega. He is a good bet to get to the top five by the end of Sunday.
Odds To Win 2017 Alabama 500
Brad Keselowski +900
Kyle Busch +900
Dale Earnhardt Jr +1200
Denny Hamlin +1200
Kevin Harvick +1200
Kyle Larson +1200
Martin Truex Jr +1200
Jimmie Johnson +1200
Joey Logano +1200
Kurt Busch +1500
Chase Elliott +1500
Matt Kenseth +1500
Clint Bowyer +2000
Ricky Stenhouse Jr +2000
Ryan Blaney +2000
Jamie McMurray +2500
Erik Jones +3000
Kasey Kahne +3000
Austin Dillon +3000
Daniel Suarez +3000
Ryan Newman +3000
Trevor Bayne +4000
Aric Almirola +4000
Paul Menard +5000
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