NASCAR Fantasy Fusion: YellaWood 500 at Talladega


Drivers with Most Top 10s (Last 5 Years):
By Race
All with 4 - Aric Almirola, Denny Hamlin, Joey Logano, and Ricky Stenhouse Jr.
All with 2 - Austin Dillon, Brad Keselowski, Clint Bowyer, Kurt Busch, and Ryan Newman

By Track
Aric Almirola -7
All with 6 - Joey Logano, Kurt Busch, and Ricky Stenhouse Jr.
Both with 5 - Denny Hamlin and Ryan Newman
Both with 4 - Brad Keselowski and Chase Elliott

Last Year's Race Winner: Ryan Blaney

The Likely Suspects: Talladega makes for some nerve-wracking racing any time in the season, but add the Playoffs to the mix and we take the excitement and anxiety levels up a notch. But these drivers have mastered "Dega': Aric Almirola,, Denny Hamlin, Joey Logano, Ricky Stenhouse Jr., Brad Keselowski, Kurt Busch, Ryan Newman, Clint Bowyer, and Chase Elliott.

My 2 Cents: It's time to consult the tea leaves and the statistics. At this track either one could work equally well. Pick drivers that excel here and don't hold a grudge for those usually risky drivers that may have tanked your team previously. My no-brainer pick is Kurt Busch, who has that coveted outside front row starting position on the grid, which has produced more winners here than any other starting position. My next picks are Chase Elliott, Joey Logano, Ricky Stenhouse Jr., Ryan Blaney, and Aric Almirola. I will round out my team with Michael McDowell and Corey LaJoie.

My Final Four: Chase Elliott, Aric Almirola, Ryan Blaney and Michael McDowell.

Second-Look Driver: This week's second-look driver is Corey LaJoie. With an 18.6 average finishing position at Talladega, this is one of Corey's better tracks. Last October he finished in seventh place in this race. Corey has an added incentive to shine this week as from here until the end of the season he'll be auditioning for a new team. He took a page out of Matt DiBenedetto's play book and has announced he'll be leaving his current team at the end of the season in hopes he'll be able to race for a better-funded team in 2021.

Points to Ponder:

  • Among active drivers Brad Keselowski (2017, 2014), Clint Bowyer (2010-2011),  and Joey Logano (2015-2016) lead the series in Playoff wins at Talladega with two victories each. 
  • Brad Keselowski leads all active NASCAR Cup Series drivers with five wins at Talladega (2009, 2012, 2014, 2016, 2017); followed by Joey Logano (three wins).
  • Ryan Blaney joined the list of consecutive Talladega winners after winning the 2019 Playoff race and the 2020 June race. Blaney is looking to become the third different driver to win three or more consecutive Cup races at Talladega; joining Buddy Baker (1975 sweep, 1976 May race) and Dale Earnhardt Jr. (2001-2003).
  • The outside front row (second starting position) is the most prolific starting position in the field, producing more winners (20) than any other starting position at Talladega Superspeedway in the NASCAR Cup Series.
  • Hendrick Motorsports leads the series in wins at Talladega with 13 victories among seven different drivers.
  • Jimmie Johnson and Kevin Harvick lead all active drivers with three runners-up finishes each.
  • Denny Hamlin, Kurt Busch and Joey Logano lead all active drivers in Top 5s at Talladega with eight each.
  • Kurt Busch leads all active drivers in Top 10s at Talladega with 21.
  • Ricky Stenhouse Jr. (15 starts) leads all active drivers in the NASCAR Cup Series in average finishing position at Talladega with a 10.9.
  • Matt Kenseth leads all active drivers in laps led at Talladega with 524 in 38 starts.

Remember, if you're playing Driver Group Game, make your picks by 2 p.m. ET on race day Sunday, October 4th.

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 (FRCS). 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: YellaWood 500 at Talladega NASCAR Fantasy Fusion: YellaWood 500 at Talladega Reviewed by Carol D'Agostino on Saturday, October 03, 2020 Rating: 5