Joey Logano – Joey Logano will be a favorite at Talladega. He won this spring and overall he’s won 3 of the last 6 races. I’ll note he’s really thrived in the fall races here. Over the last three October races he’s won twice, has the best driver rating, a 2.0 average finish and has led a series high 124 laps. This spring, Logano had a great car and raced his way to victory lane. In the race he earned the best driver rating, had a 6th place average running position and led 70 laps. Additionally, he finished 2nd in Stage #1 and 2nd in Stage #2. Last fall, Logano had a strong showing and finished 4th despite being involved in a wreck that damaged his car. Additionally, he earned the best driver rating and led a race high 59 laps. In spring 2017, 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 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. In addition to winning he earned the 2nd best driver rating, had a 6th place average running position and led 20 laps.
Brad Keselowski – Brad Keselowski will be the man to beat at Talladega. He’s an elite restrictor plate racer who is always a threat to win. He knows how to race his way to the front and once he gets there he’s hard to get around. At Talladega, he’s a five-time winner who’s finished in the top five 37% percent of the time and in the top ten 58% percent of the time. This spring he had a great car but finished 33rd after getting collected in a wreck with 23 laps to go. From the race it should be noted he won Stage #1, finished just outside the top ten in Stage #2 and led 21 laps. In Stage #2 on lap 68 he was caught speeding on pit road under green. Last fall he had a great car and raced his way to victory lane. In the race he won Stage #1, finished 2nd in Stage #2 and led 7 laps. In spring 2017, 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.
Chase Elliott – Chase Elliott will be a contender at Talladega. He’s a strong plate racer and he runs exceptionally well on this track type. I think it’s just a matter of time until he gets his first win at a plate track. At Talladega he’s run well and has been a top five contender the last three races. This spring he had his best result at this wild card venue. When the checkered flag waved he finished 3rd and earned the 7th best driver rating. When it was time to run up front he was consistently near the front of the pack. Last fall he wrecked while battling three wide for the lead with 6 laps to go which led to his 16th place finish. I thought he had a great chance of winning if that didn’t happen. In spring 2017 he ran well but was collected in the late “Big One.” Two laps prior to the accident he was running in 3rd. In fall 2016 Elliott ran very well and was a consistent front runner. When the checkered flag waved he finished 12th, earned the 8th best driver rating, had a 7th place average running position and led 9 laps. In spring 2016 Chase Elliott had a successful Talladega debut. He started on the pole, finished 5th, earned the 3rd best driver rating and led 27 laps.