NASCAR Fantasy Fusion: GEICO 500 at Talladega

I think I can still hear the siren at the Dawsonville Pool Room!
Chase Elliott finally got that monkey off his back with last week's double overtime win at Texas Motor Speedway, snapping a 42-race winless streak.  It was Chase's 19th Cup Series win, and his first at Texas. Oh, and his record at Talladega isn't too shabby, either, with two wins, five Top 5s, eight Top 10s, and two poles, earning the third-best average finish.
This Week's Pick Strategy:
This week should be a good Ford/Chevy week, and wouldn't it be great to finally see a Ford in Victory Lane? I'm going to pack my roster with aggressive drivers who are good pushers, like say, Joey Logano. I'm curious how things will shake up this year since we do have more Toyotas in the field and, therefore more dancing partners.
Drivers with Most Top 10s (Last 5 Years):
By Race
All with 3 - Ryan Blaney, Erik Jones, Kyle Busch, and Alex Bowman
All with 2 - William Byron, Brad Keselowski, Chase Elliott, Chris Buescher, Austin Dillon, and Michael McDowell

By Track
All with 6 - Ryan Blaney, Chase Elliott, Denny Hamlin, and Erik Jones
Both with 4 - William Byron and Michael McDowell

Last Year's Pole Winner: Denny Hamlin
Last Year's Race Winner: Kyle Busch

The Likely Suspects: My Talladega elites include Ryan Blaney, Chase Elliott,  William Byron, Erik Jones, Michael McDowell, Brad Keselowski, Denny Hamlin, and Ricky Stenhouse Jr.
My 2 Cents: This week's no-brainer pick is Ryan Blaney. My next picks are Chase Elliott, Joey Logano, Erik Jones, Kyle Busch, and Brad Keselowski. I will round out my roster with Ryan Preece and Todd Gilliland.
My Final Four: Ryan Blaney, Brad Keselowski, Joey Logano, and Todd Gilliland.

Second-Look Driver: This week's second-look driver is Erik Jones. Erik is sneaky good at Talladega. Jones has two Top 5s, and seven Top 10s with the 10th-best average finish. Last year, he finished sixth in the spring race after starting 24th, and led three laps. Erik is currently 19th in the driver's standings.
Points to Ponder:
  • The outside front row (second-place) starting position is the most productive starting position in the field, producing more winners (20) than any other starting position at Talladega (18.35%).
  • Brad Keselowski leads all active NASCAR Cup Series drivers in victories at Talladega Superspeedway with six (2009, 2012, 2014, 2016, 2017, 2021). Other active Cup drivers with multiple wins at Talladega include Ryan Blaney (2023, 2020, 2019),  Joey Logano with three each (2018, 2016, 2015), and Kyle Busch (2023, 2008), Chase Elliott (2022, 2019), and Denny Hamlin (2020, 2014) with two wins each.
  •  Kyle Busch (2012, 2016), Ryan Blaney (2022, 2023) and William Byron (2021, 2023) lead all active NASCAR Cup Series drivers in runners-up finishes at Talladega Superspeedway with two each.
  • Denny Hamlin leads all active series drivers in Top 5s at Talladega (with 11) and in Top 10s (with 16).
  • Anthony Alfredo leads all active drivers in the NASCAR Cup Series in average finishing position at Talladega Superspeedway with a 11.0 in two career starts.
  • Joey Logano leads all active NASCAR Cup Series drivers in laps led at Talladega Superspeedway with 468 in 30 career starts.
Remember, if you're playing Driver Group Game, make your initial picks by 8:30 a.m. ET on Saturday, April 20th, and your final picks by 3 p.m. ET on race day Sunday, April 21st.
Enjoy the race!
Carol D'Agostino has been playing Fantasy NASCAR for 17 years. She launched  NASCAR Fantasy Fusion for Skirts & Scuffs in October 2011. Each week, Carol pores through statistics and combs through her personal notebooks to arm fans with analysis and picking strategies that will leave their friends wondering how they got so smart. Carol also does race coverage for Skirts & Scuffs at Richmond Raceway and occasionally at her home track, Dover International Speedway. She is also part of the distinguished NASCAR Expert Picks panel at formerly called Fantasy Racing Cheat Sheet.

When she isn’t wielding her fantasy-racing superpowers, you’ll find Carol hammering out a news release or creating a marketing strategy at a small niche public relations firm she founded called Purple Cat or executing downtown revitalization projects for a small town on Maryland’s Eastern Shore.
NASCAR Fantasy Fusion: GEICO 500 at Talladega NASCAR Fantasy Fusion: GEICO 500 at Talladega Reviewed by Carol D'Agostino on Friday, April 19, 2024 Rating: 5