After a week off, we make our first of two scheduled trips to Alabama for the GEICO 500, one of the fast races of the year and even set a record in 1997 with an average speed of 188.3 miles per hour. Our winning streak came to an end at the Toyota Owners 400, but four of the five drivers listed finished eighth or better, including Joey Logano at runner-up at +750 odds. Let’s get back on track this week.
Here are five drivers to consider throwing on this week’s card.
Brad Keselowski, +750 - Brad Keselowski is a three-time winner of this race, most recently winning it in 2016. Overall, Keselowski has five victories at the Talladega Superspeedway in the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series. Keselowski has also finished seventh or better in five of his last nine appearances at this track. Keselowski also has a victory at Talladega in the NASCAR Xfinity Series. Don’t be surprised if Keselowski joins Jeff Gordon as the only driver to win this event four times.
Kurt Busch, +1650 - Kurt Busch has been nibbling around victory lane all year, which includes top-10 finishes in six of his last eight races. Busch has mentioned how happy he is with his car and that a tweak here or there will help his team get over the top. Busch finished runner-up in this race last year and is averaging a finish of 5.3 in his last three trips. Busch has finished 10th or better in six of his last nine appearances at the Talladega Superspeedway overall. Busch has won a race before Talladega in five of the last 10 years, so maybe it’s a sign his first career win at this track is approaching.
Martin Truex Jr., +2000 - Martin Truex Jr. doesn’t have the history at this track that others have, but he does hav a long history of stringing wins together. Truex is one of those drivers who seems to pile up victories once tasting victory lane for the first time, and of course, he’s coming off a win in Richmond. Last year, Truex had three wins within a six race period and finished 2017 with four wins in his last 10 races. Truex also has three career wins at the Talladega Superspeedway during NASCAR Nationwide Series, so he’s not completely success free at this track.
Joey Lagano, +800 - Joey Lagano could easily have five wins this year and has finished in the top-three in his last two races. Lagano is the defending champ at this particular race and has two wins at the other Talladega Superspeedway event. Lagano has finished no worse than fifth in five of his last seven appearances at this track. Lagano has also won three races at this track in the NASCAR Xfinity Series and has other top-five finishes. Few can say they have the success rate in Talladega the way Lagano can.
Jimmie Johnson, +2000 - For the odds you get with Jimmie Johnson these days, it’s tough to leave him off the card when he’s finished 12th or better in four of his last six races. While winning is the only thing that matters, we are seeing progress in Johnson, and that includes a fifth place finish in Texas where he had a chance to win late. Johnson is a two-time winner of this event and has finished eighth or better in four of his last eight trips. Johnson averaged an eighth place finish in his two trips at the Talladega Superspeedway last year. While many have written Johnson off, and for good reason, there’s enough progress being made that suggests he could win a race again at some point.