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Ed. – The second segment of Dan’s Nascar pool is coming up in May and he’s opening it up to anyone interested.  If you are already well out of it in your season long pool or are just looking to get in on a growing pool, check out the Rubbin’s Racing Round 2 Rules & Settings if you’re interested!

With Kyle Busch’s victory at Richmond, two drivers have now won 66.6% of this season’s races and proven themselves to be miles ahead of the competition so far. Fortunately for them, it’s a lot easier to show up in Alabama with a guaranteed post-season bid and smiles on your team’s faces. As for the rest of the field, and us fantasy players, a season-derailing incident lurks on every lap this weekend. They call it “The Big One,” and it is a stone cold, points killing beast.


At 2.66 miles, Talladega Superspeedway is the longest track on the schedule. Much like its 2.5 mile counterpart in Daytona, the cars run a restrictor plate that governs horsepower, and therefore speed. By “govern,” I mean keeping cars in the draft around a modest vicinity of 205 mph. Inevitably this results in large packs of cars running around the track together, relying more on aerodynamic drafting forces to influence running position than anything else. The intense racing is literally bumper to bumper, and fortunes are traded on a lap-by-lap basis. Our primary goal is just for our driver to finish the race, preferably on the lead lap, and other standards fade quickly from there. All drivers have a chance to win here if the stars align, and they risk a premature exit when they do not.


This section is less about prognostication, and more about highlighting drivers catching my eye at a given moment. We all play in different formats and have different strategies, but hopefully this adds some value to your results. Good luck!

THE DOWNFORCE (start ’em)

Winners profiled: 56%
Top-5 finishers: 53%
Top-10 finishers: 76%
Avg Finish Position/profile: 9.3
Avg Points/profile: 36.8

Brad Keselowski (Pit Stall Rating 102.35, 1st) – Brad is the cream of the crop at Talladega, with 5 wins in only 18 career starts. He has finished 61% of his attempts in the top-10, including 4 of the last 5 races. Brad has won a race at Talledega in each of the last two seasons, and historically this has been one of his better tracks.

Kurt Busch (Pit Stall Rating 83.87, 2nd) – Kurt has 4 top-ten finishes in his last 5 races at Talladega and is widely considered to be one of the best plate drivers in the field this weekend. I typically like this spot for the #41 because the opportunities to consider him over A-list options are pretty rare.

Ricky Stenhouse Jr. (Pit Stall Rating 75.61, 4th) – This team is basically dedicated to making their restrictor plate program work, and it shows. With Bristol as honorable mention, Daytona and Talladega are the #17’s best chances to snatch a victory and not have to worry about a points battle for the post-season. Once Ricky figures out how to stay patient instead of forcing the issue, he’ll have more consistent results. That said, he’s shown a lot of upside in recent seasons. He looked great and led 11 laps at Daytona before a wreck gobbled him up on lap 197 to end his day (case in point).

Joey Logano (Pit Stall Rating 80.95, 3rd) – In the last 10 overall events at both Daytona and Talladega, Joey has finished 6th or better on seven of those occasions, including two wins at Talladega. However, I think it’s worth noting that his spring numbers are consistently worse than his fall numbers. In the last 5 SPRING races, he has an average finish of 31.4 and 0 finishes in the top-20. Why? I have no idea. Like I say, worth noting.

Kyle Busch (Pit Stall Rating 61.85, 5th) – Infiltrating this group of Fords, enter Kyle Busch. Like Harvick earlier in the season, Kyle will be looking to make it 4 consecutive wins and join racing immortality in the record books. Of course, Talladega will have plenty to say about that happening, as Kyle alluded to in a post-Richmond interview. Kyle is hit-or-miss here, and either finishes in the top-5, or pretty much not at all. Proceed with caution, as the risk of wasting a pick on him is significant.

7-TIME WATCH – Two consecutive top-tens has the Lowe’s Chevrolet back on the right track. Can they keep it going in the right direction? Jimmie ranks 13th with a Pit Stall Rating of 45.47  at Talladega and probably isn’t worth consideration this weekend for a variety of reasons.

THE DRAFT (dark horse)

Aric Almirola (Pit Stall Rating 56.75, 9th) – Aric currently ranks 11th in the point standings, and his stock is on the rise since moving to Stewart-Haas this season. However, in reality, that fact has little influence on being selected here. Instead, I’m focusing on two things: (1) he’s in a Ford with excellent teammates, and (2) something has clicked with him at the plate tracks recently. In his last 5 events at Daytona and Talladega, Aric has finished 8th, 4th, 4th, 5th, and 11th. Looking further under the hood, we can draw a straight line from his average starting position, up to his average running position, up to his average finish position. The numbers seem to demonstrate a methodical patience throughout the race, which is required to survive and succeed at the plate tracks. I’m a believer.

THE DRAG (avoid ’em)

Martin Truex Jr. (Pit Stall Rating 32.16, 23rd) – Long term success in fantasy NASCAR all boils down to distributing the big names into their best possible spots, and that inevitably means passing on their less favorable spots. Over time, too many ‘gut feeling’ picks will leave us with a sour stomach. Martin Truex is capable of winning this weekend, as is true pretty much every weekend. But here are the facts: Martin has never won at Talladega. He has 2 top-five finishes in 26 career starts (8%), and 8 top-ten finishes (31%). Historically, he has only been a 50% coin flip to finish in the top-twenty. None of these are the numbers we’re looking for when investing in a top-tier guy, let alone coupled with a higher probability for an accident this weekend.


10.2, #2 Brad Keselowski
10.6, #41 Kurt Busch
11.4, #17 Ricky Stenhouse Jr.
12.0, #10 Aric Almirola
12.6, #22 Joey Logano

AVERAGE LOOP RATING @ TALLADEGA (last 5 track events)

104.4, #2 Brad Keselowski
102.0, #22 Joey Logano
93.5, #9 Chase Elliott
90.3, #18 Kyle Busch
88.9, #41 Kurt Busch

2018 MOMENTUM (last 5 overall races this season)

51.8, #18 Kyle Busch
41.4, #22 Joey Logano
40.8, #14 Clint Bowyer
33.8, #2 Brad Keselowski
33.0, #41 Kurt Busch

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