NASCAR Fantasy Fusion: 500 at Talladega

Drivers with Most Top 10s (Last 5 Years):
By Race
Joey Logano - 4
All with 3 - Brad Keselowski, Ricky Stenhouse Jr., Clint Bowyer, Denny Hamlin, Aric Almirola, and Kurt Busch

By Track
Both with 6 - Ricky Stenhouse Jr. and Kurt Busch
All with 5 - Joey Logano, Brad Keselowski, Denny Hamlin, Aric Almirola, Clint Bowyer, Kevin Harvick, and Paul Menard
Ryan Newman - 4

Recent Pole Winners: 
2018 Kurt Busch
2017 Dale Earnhardt Jr.
2016 Martin Truex Jr.

Last Year's Race Winner: Aric Almirola

The Likely Suspects: Talladega has nothing on these drivers who excel here: Chase Elliott, Joey Logano, Brad Keselowski, Kurt Busch, Ricky Stenhouse Jr., Clint Bowyer, Denny Hamlin, Aric Almirola, and Ryan Newman.

My 2 Cents: It's pick and pray time for all you fantasy racers. Talladega can be a wild card race where a select few excel. It's a great time to take a few risks on drivers you normally don't pick. My no-brainer pick is Brad Keselowski. My next picks are Chase Elliott, Ricky Stenhouse Jr., Kurt Busch, Clint Bowyer, and Ryan Newman. I will round out my team with Brendan Gaughan and Daniel Hemric.

My Final Four: Chase Elliott, Ricky Stenhouse, Jr., Kurt Busch and Brendan Gaughan.

Second-Look Driver: This week's second-look driver is Kyle Busch. Kyle may not be on your radar this week, but he is a Talladega winner, and could sure use a playoff win. Kyle has six Top 5 and eight Top 10 finishes in 28 starts at Talladega. His average finish of 20.3 is 19th-best in Sunday’s field. Last week's second-look driver William Byron finished in 13th place after starting sixth on the grid. William had a pit road penalty, but did manage to pick up some stage points with a Top 10 finish in Stage 1.

Points to Ponder:
  • Kevin Harvick leads all active series drivers in poles at Talladega with two (2005, 2018).
  • Brad Keselowski leads all active Monster Energy Series drivers with five wins (2009, 2012, 2014, 2016, 2017); followed by Joey Logano (three wins).
  • The outside front row (second-place) starting position is the most proficient starting position in the field, producing more winners (20) than any other starting position at Talladega. 
  • Jimmie Johnson and Kevin Harvick lead all active drivers with three runners-up finishes each.
  • Kurt Busch and Joey Logano lead all active drivers in top fives at Talladega with eight each.
  • Kurt Busch leads all active drivers in top 10s at Talladega with 20.
  • Ricky Stenhouse Jr. (12 starts) leads all active drivers in the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series in average finishing position at Talladega with a 11.8.
Remember, if you're playing Driver Group Game, make your picks by 8 a.m. ET on Saturday, October 12th and your final picks by 2 p.m. ET on race day Sunday, October 13th.

Enjoy the race!

Carol D’Agostino wields fantasy-racing superpowers. Each week, Carol researches statistics and combs through her personal racing notes to provide fans with fantasy racing advice in NASCAR Fantasy Fusion, a column she has written for Skirts & Scuffs since October 2011. Carol also does race coverage for Skirts & Scuffs at Richmond Raceway and occasionally at her home track, Dover International Speedway. This year she joins the NASCAR Expert Picks panel at Fantasy Racing Cheat Sheet. When she isn’t crunching numbers, you’ll find Carol in business meetings or hammering out a news release or creating a marketing strategy at a small niche public relations firm she founded called Purple Cat. 

NASCAR Fantasy Fusion: 500 at Talladega NASCAR Fantasy Fusion: 500 at Talladega Reviewed by Carol D'Agostino on Thursday, October 10, 2019 Rating: 5