Trevor Bayne – Trevor Bayne has finished in the top ten in 2 of the last 4 Talladega races. Since 2016 minus a spring 2017 wreck his average finish is 10th. Last fall he had his best Talladega result and finished 3rd. Additionally he earned the 9th best driver rating and had a 14th place average running position. Last spring Bayne showed potential but wrecked. At the end of Stage #1 he finished 5th. If his race would’ve been incident free I think he would’ve had a pretty good chance to compete for a top ten. In fall 2016 there was nothing special about Bayne’s performance. He finished 17th and had a 21st place average running position. In spring 2016 he ran really well and looked like a factor late. When the checkered flag waved he finished 10th, had a 9th place average running position and earned the 8th best driver rating. In the season opening Daytona 500 Bayne finished 13th.
Jamie McMurray – Jamie McMurray is a hero or zero performer at Talladega. Since 2009 he’s won twice, has 5 top fives and 7 top 11’s. All of his other 10 finishes are results of 19th or worse, and 8 of those are 29th or worse. In the last three spring races he’s run well here so hopefully that trend will continue. Over the last three spring Talladega races among drivers who competed in every event his 5.7 average finish ranks as the best in the series. Last fall McMurray had a tough race and finished 37th after wrecking while trying to come to pit road on lap 26. Last spring he had a great car and at the end of the race he made bold moves and raced his way up to a 2nd place finish. In fall 2016 McMurray finished 19th, but I will note he was slightly better than his result. With 5 laps to go Kahne spun right into the nose of McMurray. Prior to that he looked like a low to mid-teens performer. When the checkered flag waved he finished 19th, but don’t overlook his 14th place average running position and 14th best driver rating. In spring 2016 McMurray ran well. He started in 30th and finished 4th. In fall 2015 he looked like a top five contender but his engine blew up with 5 laps to go which caused him to finish 39th. In spring 2015 it looked like he would finish 20th, but on the last lap he dodged the carnage and finished 11th.
Kasey Kahne – Kasey Kahne has Talladega circled on his schedule because it’s one of those rare opportunities for him to sneak in a good finish since he won’t be at such an equipment disadvantage. With Kahne at Talladega there’s some good news and some bad news. The good news is that last year he swept the top ten. The bad news is that prior to last year he was pretty bad here. In his career at Talladega he’s finished in the top ten 25% percent of the time, in 54% percent of his starts he’s finished outside the top 20. Last fall, Kahne had a good race and escaped with an 8th place finish. In spring 2017 he had his best recent result and finished 5th. In the four races prior to that he wrecked. In fall 2016 he maybe showed mid-teens potential at best but was collected in a late wreck that led to his 35th place finish. In spring 2016 he ran well but was collected in a wreck. Later when he returned to the track in a damaged car he wrecked again which led to his 39th place finish. In fall 2015 Kahne ran well but finished 19th. He had solid top ten potential but was caught up in the late carnage. Additionally in that race he earned the 5th best driver rating, had an 8th place average running position and led 18 laps. In spring 2015 he also ran well but was collected in a wreck while he was running around 10th on lap 47.