2018 Talladega Superspeedway, Geico 500

Congratulations to Kyle Busch who won his third straight race of the season at Richmond on Saturday night. The win ties him with Kevin Harvick for the series lead in wins and gives him a series leading seventeen playoff points right now. As we saw last year with Martin Truex Jr., if you rack up enough playoff points during the regular season you are tough to knock out of the playoffs.


This week the drivers head to the Talladega Superspeedway for their second restrictor plate race of the season in the Geico 500. At this point of the season, even though a Toyota has won the last three races, the Ford’s are still the class of the field and I think we need to fill our roster up with drivers who are running them. The Ford drivers will stick together when drafting and are by far the fastest of all the makes right now. That doesn’t mean one of the other manufacturers won’t win the race, but we want the odds in our favor.

Brad Keselowski: Brad has won two of the past four races at Talladega and has led the most laps of all drivers in those races. He is my pick to win once again this weekend. Remember, we want to use drivers we aren’t going to need all nine starts for in the Driver Group Game and in the A Group we shouldn’t have to worry about using anyone up other than maybe Harvick or Kyle Busch. We can use one of Brad’s starts here and should be none the worse for wear later in the season.

Joey Logano: One of Brad’s teammates, Joey has led the second most laps at Talladega over the past two seasons. This shows me we are starting to develop a pattern here. Joey also won one of these past four races giving Penske Racing three of the last four wins at this track. Hard to stay away from having these two on your roster this weekend. They work well together in the draft and seek each other out on the track. When they find each other and get hooked up they move to the front of the pack in a hurry.

Ricky Stenhouse Jr.: Ricky won this race last season and then followed that up with another win at Daytona in July. He has led laps here in his last three starts and has two top five finishes in those races. If he can stay patient early in the race, which was part of his problem at Daytona earlier this year, he can make his way to the front in an orderly fashion and put himself in position to win here once again.

Ryan Blaney: Ryan led a bunch of laps here last fall when he was running for the Wood Brothers and now he is with the Penske crew. I think he is going to be even better this year, but he is one of those drivers in the B group where we are probably going to want to save his starts for other races. I would love to have him on my team, but I won’t put him on my roster this weekend because of the potential for the big wreck to occur and take out half of the field. No sense taking chances like that on a driver you will use up during the season anyway.

Aric Almirola: I haven’t started Aric yet this year and I think it might be time for me to do so, or at least have him on my roster. We have seen how fast all of the Stewart-Haas drivers have been all season and know we want the Ford drivers on our roster this weekend. Aric finished in the top five in both Talladega races last season while running for Richard Petty and should have even a little more speed and more teammates to draft with this year which will help him out even more.

Kurt Busch: Kurt has been great here even though he is still looking for his first win at this track. He has finished in the top ten in eighteen of his thirty-four starts hear, but once again he is another of those B group drivers that I will be using up at other tracks and I don’t want to take a chance on him here. This is one driver who will be really hard to leave off your roster this weekend, but once again, the risk out weighs the reward.

Paul Menard: Paul has always run very well on the restrictor plate tracks during his career and now he is with the fabled Wood Brothers team. He ran great at Daytona in his first race with this team and is my dark horse for this weekend. Some people will be surprised to see him run up front during this race, but I am not one of them. We saw David Ragan win a couple of these races with one of the smaller teams on the circuit and we saw Trevor Bayne win the Daytona 500 with the Wood Brothers not so many years ago.

Austin Dillon: Let’s not forget this year’s Daytona 500 winner. There are three things I don’t like about Austin at Talladega this weekend that will keep him off my roster. The first one is that his winning Daytona car is not available to him this weekend because it is at Daytona U.S.A. for the rest of the year due to him winning the Daytona 500. The second is that he doesn’t run as well at Talladega as he does and Daytona, and the third thing is he is not in a Ford.

Trevor Bayne: The former Daytona 500 winner has finished in the top ten at Talladega in two of the last four races there including a third place finish in last fall’s race. He has shown patience and skill on the restrictor plate tracks and I’m sure he has learned from a lot of different drivers how to draft and side draft on these tracks to get yourself to the front. Remember, he was a drafting partner of Jeff Gordon when he won the Daytona 500 and kept Jeff up front all day until the end when he was the lead car in a draft across the finish line.

Denny Hamlin: If you want to take a chance on a non-Ford driver, Denny is the drive to take that chance on in my opinion. However, he is also my short track guy and could be used on the road courses and at both Pocono races depending on how everyone is running when we get to that point of the season. I just think I will stick with the Penske drivers in the A group this weekend even though Denny has led laps here in each of his last eight starts.


Driver Group Game Group A

  • Brad Keselowski
  • Joey Logano

Driver Group Game Group B

  • Ricky Stenhouse Jr.
  • Aric Almirola
  • Paul Menard
  • Trevor Bayne

Driver Group Game Group C

  • David Ragan
  • Michael McDowell


  1. Brad Keselowski
  2. Joey Logano
  3. Ricky Stenhouse Jr.
  4. Kurt Busch
  5. Aric Almirola

Dark Horse: Paul Menard

Stay Away From: Martin Truex Jr.

Big 18: Aric Almirola

53 thoughts on “2018 Talladega Superspeedway, Geico 500

  1. It be a great time for Nascar to throw a monkey wrench in things and those Chevrolet’s show the speed this weekend and Chase Elliott #9 goes to Victory Lane,now that he holds the same record for the most 2nd place finishes before a victory with his father Bill Elliott.

  2. I have 3 of your picks on my roster this week in Steinhouse, Almorola & Menard! How do you feel about Bubba Wallace who ran well in the Daytona 500! I feel the restricterplate tracks will be the #43 teams best chance to getting to Victory Lane! Also I have the #95 of Kasey Kahne as a Dark horse in the garage just in case I need him! Any advise on this roster?

    1. This looks good to me. Anyone can win here, so Kahne is also a good choice. I would caution against using Elliott this weekend because of the potential for him to get caught up in “The Big One” and you are going to use him in 9 other races this year anyway.

  3. I assume when you speak of the big one, you are talking about in the middle of the pack where it usually happens. I have to disagree with you this week. Ryan Blaney will win.

    1. I’m not saying one of these drivers won’t win. I’m just saying you are taking a big chance using those drivers in this race and it could affect your whole season.

    2. Plus, it doesn’t always happen in the middle of the pack. With the leader trying to block lanes by changing all of the time it can happen right at the front of the pack. This is why some teams opt to run in a second pack in single file behind the lead pack until late in the race.

  4. I cant believe the people on here arguing over Talladega Superspeedway and disagreeing with who can win or not. Give your heads a shake. Take the top 25 guys or so and put their names on a dart board and throw…….that is how you pick for this type of track.

  5. Kenseth and Bayne.

    If kenseth were to win a race, would he get to take part in the chase?

    Also, kinda worried for bayne since he does have ms. Have you heard anything or is the reason for kenseth.

    Thanks for all you do….

  6. As for Kenseth making the Chase, it is highly doubtful he would run enough races to get into the top 30 in points.

    I haven’t heard anything about Trevor, but I am guessing he hasn’t been consistent enough and the Roush organization wanted to get someone behind the wheel with a lot of experience that can tell them what is different now that they can try to fix. Matt will give better feedback just because he is a past champion and has won a lot of races in his career.

    1. I think he is worth taking a shot on. He has run 2 races at Talladega and 2 at Daytona and has finished in the top 20 in all of them.

  7. Keselowski hasn’t looked to good in practice…do you still think he’s going to win. Nothing personal, but I wish you would write you article closer to race time at least after practice. Alot can happen in 5 days, just saying.

    1. I was working, so I didn’t get to see the practice sessions. I’m not worried about how everyone ran in practice though because most of them are making single car runs and not drafting. Those who are drafting in practice are going to be faster and look what happened to some of those who did. Big wreck with their primary car.

      As for writing the article closer to race time, I can’t do that. I have a job and a family life on the weekends. Most people are asking where the article is if I don’t have it posted by Monday. Sorry.

  8. I fully understand Jeff, you have been spot on for me also the last 2 yrs. I was just wondering, and thanks again.

    1. If you read my article you would have noticed that I have Almirola finishing in the top 5. Save Busch for other tracks where there isn’t the potential for the big wreck.

        1. No, it doesn’t really matter where you start in a restrictor plate race because it is easy to go from the back to the front in these races.

  9. I won in my league this week! thanks for the advice! I took Elliot out as the winner & put Lagano in as the winner! Even though Chase had a good finish I was worried about him getting caught up in the big one!

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