Aric Almirola – Aric Almirola should prominently be on your fantasy NASCAR radar at Talladega. He’s been strong here and in the season opening Daytona 500 he nearly raced his way to victory lane. At Talladega, Almirola currently has a series best 3 straight top tens and last year he was the only driver who swept the top five. Last fall Almirola didn’t do much in the race but when the checkered flag waved he finished 5th. In spring 2017 he dodged all the trouble and came home with a 4th place finish, that marks his best result at this “Wild Card” venue. In fall 2016 he once again finished in the top ten and came home with an 8th place result. In spring 2016 Almirola was involved in an accident and finished 27th. In 2015 he finished in the mid-teens twice with results of 15th and 16th.
Paul Menard – Paul Menard is a solid sleeper option at Talladega. In 5 of the last 6 races he’s finished in the top 13. In the one race he finished outside that range he was involved in an accident. Over those six events he has an 11.5 average finish and the 10th best driver rating. Last fall Menard escaped with a 12th place finish. It’s important to note he had gear issues and if the attrition rate wasn’t sky high there’s no way he would’ve finished that good. Last spring he had a good race. He finished 9th, had a 15th place average running position and earned the 15th best driver rating. In fall 2016 Menard had a solid showing. When the checkered flag waved he earned the 10th best driver rating, had an 11th place average running position and finished 13th. In spring 2016 he was caught up in the “Big One” which led to his 26th place finish. In 2015 he swept the top ten with results of 3rd and 6th. In the season opening Daytona 500 Paul Menard finished 6th.
Ryan Newman – Ryan Newman is a solid performer at Talladega. Over the last 7 races he has 3 top tens and 5 top fourteens. In the two races he finished outside that mark he was involved in a wreck. His average finish over these events, minus his two troubled races is 8th. Last fall he had a strong showing and raced his way to a 2nd place finish. Late in the race he teamed up with Denny Hamlin and they drove up to the front of the pack. Last spring Newman used his typical drive in the back until the end driving style but it back fired because he ended up being the final caution when he wrecked with 3 laps to go. Since the attrition rate was so high he still managed to finish 25th. If his race would’ve been incident free I wouldn’t count him out of being able to sneak in a top ten. In fall 2016 he drove in the back until the end but managed to walk away with a 14th place finish. In spring 2016 Newman was collected in a wreck that led to him finishing 28th. His three results prior to spring 2016 were 12th, 7th and 5th. In the season opening Daytona 500 Newman finished 8th.