Brad Keselowski – Brad Keselowski will be the man to beat at Talladega. He’s an elite restrictor plate driver and is always a factor. At Talladega he’s a five-time winner who’s finished in the top five 39% percent of the time and in the top ten 61% percent of the time. Last fall he had a great car and raced his way to victory lane. Additionally he won Stage #1 and finished 2nd in Stage #2. Last spring Keselowski had a strong showing. He finished 7th, earned the 2nd best driver rating, won Stage #1 and led 31 laps. In fall 2016 his car was exceptionally strong and if he didn’t have an engine failure he was going to be the driver beat. Prior to his engine failure he led 90 laps. In spring 2016 he had a great car and raced his way to victory lane. In addition to finishing first he earned the best driver rating, led the most laps (46) and had a 5th place average running position. In fall 2015 he had a strong performance. He earned the 3rd best driver rating and finished 4th.
Kyle Busch – Kyle Busch is a strong performer at Talladega. He’s a past champion and over the last eleven races he has 5 top fives and 7 top twelve finishes. In the four races he finished outside of that mark he didn’t have an incident free race. Last fall he wrecked and finished 27th after getting collected in the “Big One” with 17 laps to go. One lap prior to wrecking he was running in 13th. Also earlier in the race he was involved in a minor accident on lap 26 which had an impact on his level of performance. Last spring performance wise I thought he had the best car and if there wasn’t a late caution he likely would’ve won. On the final lap while leading he was passed. When the checkered flag waved he earned the best driver rating, finished 3rd and led a race high 48 laps. In fall 2016 Busch finished 30th. Don’t read into that result any and pretend it never happened. Due to Chase implications he elected to run around in the back all race long. In spring 2016 he had a great car. He finished runner-up, earning the 2nd best driver rating and leading 12 laps. In 3 of the 4 races prior to that he finished in the top 12. One attribute you have to love about Kyle Busch is his momentum. He has three straight wins and since March he’s finished in the top 3 every race and has a 1.7 average finish.
Joey Logano – Joey Logano will be a favorite at Talladega. He’s an elite restrictor plate racer who ranks as one of the best on this track type. In recent Talladega races he’s performed at a high-level. Over the last five races he has 2 wins, the 2nd best driver rating, the best average running position (9.4) and a misleading 12.6 average finish. Last fall Logano had a strong showing and raced his way to a 4th place finish despite being involved in a wreck that damaged his car. Additionally he earned the best driver rating and led a race high 59 laps. Last spring he ran well but finished a misleading 32nd after getting collected in the late “Big One.” Two laps prior to the “Big One” with 22 laps to go he was running in 5th. In fall 2016 Logano had a great car and raced his way to victory lane after leading the final 45 laps. He made aggressive moves and overcame a pit stop penalty. In spring 2016 Logano had a great car, and was one of Keselowski’s toughest competitors, but he was collected in a wreck. If his race would’ve been incident free he was a lock for a very good finish. In fall 2015 he was extremely fast and raced his way to victory lane holding off Dale Earnhardt Jr. In addition to winning he earned the 2nd best driver rating, had a 6th place average running position and led 20 laps.