How to pick drivers at Talladega:
1) History at Talladega matters. Some drivers have the knack for restrictor plate racing and some don’t. For those who don’t pass on picking them immediately.
2) When you pick drivers for Talladega you want to make sure they’ve shown the ability to avoid problems on the track in recent races. There’s no need to pick drivers who are “crash magnets” at Talladega. In NASCAR there’s both positive and negative momentum. What you specifically want to avoid at Talladega is negative momentum. Don’t expect drivers with negative momentum to have a good day.
At Talladega you want to pick drivers who’ve shown themselves to have the “Driver Survivor Intangible”.
3) Practice does matter at Talladega, but just a little bit. At practice you want to look for drivers who practice the 1-2 draft, are comfortable in their cars, and are displaying a positive attitude. Drivers who are negative at this track often end up on the wrecker.
4) Recent similar track performances should also be taken into account when you pick drivers for Talladega. As I said before some drivers have a knack for plate racing.
5) Qualifying doesn’t mean a single thing at Talladega, even in terms of pit stall selection. For those who try to complicate things on race weekend these pit boxes are huge.
1) Kevin Harvick – Safest pick by far this week. He’s the defending champion, he avoids trouble on the track (Driver Survivor Intangible), and he has zero DNF’s at Talladega.
2) Clint Bowyer – Bowyer won last fall and in five out of the last six Talladega races he’s finished 12th or better. He’s also entering the race with momentum which I feel is important for Talladega.
3) Kurt Busch – Consistent front-runner who’s due for a points win on a plate track. In the spring race he’s finished in the top ten in five out of the last six races.
4) Dale Earnhardt Jr. – Led laps in 20 out of his 22 Talladega races. Look for this five-time winner to be strong Sunday.
5) Juan Pablo Montoya – Finished 3rd in both races last year. His career best Talladega finish is 2nd.
6) Carl Edwards – Finished second in the Daytona 500 and was in the lead in 2009 until Keselowski sent him sailing into the fence.
7) Jamie McMurray – He’s as solid as they come on plate tracks. Last spring he finished second and in the 2009 fall race he won.
8 ) Matt Kenseth – He’s very underrated at both plate tracks despite his Daytona 500 win. In the mid 2000’s he was as good as anyone on the circuit on these wild card tracks.
9) Ryan Newman – Newman’s batting nearly .500 in terms of getting top tens at Talladega (8 for 18). He’s known for flipping but he can get the job done.
10) Denny Hamlin – He’s perhaps the best two car break away driver and last year he finished in the top ten in both races.
Kevin Harvick 7/1, Tony Stewart 10/1, Kyle Busch 10/1, Kurt Busch 11/1, Dale Earnhardt Jr. 11/1, Clint Bowyer 15/1, Denny Hamlin 15/1, Carl Edwards 15/1, Jimmie Johnson 15/1, Jeff Gordon 15/1, Jamie McMurray 15/1