Detailed driver notes and statistics to help set your fantasy racing lineup for Sunday’s Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series GEICO 500 at Talladega Superspeedway, the first race at the track in 32 years that will not use restrictor plates.
Who’s HOT at Talladega
- Team Penske’s Joey Logano (3) and Brad Keselowski (2) have combined to win five of the last seven races.
- Ricky Stenhouse Jr. has finished in the top five in four of the last five races, including a win in the 2017 spring race.
- Kurt Busch has finished in the top 10 in five of the last seven races.
- Aric Almirola is the only driver that has finished in the top 10 in each of the last five races, including a win last fall.
- Denny Hamlin, winner of the 2014 spring race, has posted an average finish of 7.6 in the last five races.
- David Ragan, winner of the 2013 spring race, has finished in the top 10 in three of the last four races.
Keep an Eye On at Talladega
- Clint Bowyer and Jimmie Johnson are each two-time winners at Talladega. Their last wins at the track came in 2011.
- Kevin Harvick, winner of the 2010 spring race, won the pole and finished fourth in this event last year for his first Talladega top 10 driving a Ford. He also led 46 laps in the fall but had to pit for fuel prior to an overtime restart.
- Kyle Busch, the 2008 Talladega spring winner, has finished in the top 10 in every race this season.
- Chase Elliott has started in the top 10 in all six of his Talladega starts, including a pole in 2016, and has finished in the top five twice.
- Ryan Blaney leads all drivers in stage points earned at Talladega.
- Alex Bowman, Kyle Larson and Daniel Hemric participated in the Goodyear tire test at Daytona to help determine this weekend’s tire combination. Hemric’s Richard Childress Racing teammate Austin Dillon has three top 10s in the last 10 races at superspeedways, including a win in the 2018 Daytona 500.
- Ty Dillon (13.5 – four starts), Paul Menard (14.6), Daniel Suarez (15.0) and Ryan Newman (15.0) each rank in the top 10 in average finish at Talladega in the last five races.
- Matt DiBenedetto and William Byron led 49 and 44 laps, respectively, in this year’s Daytona 500, the last race with the restrictor plate.
Notes: For the first time in over 30 years, Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series teams will race without restrictor-plates at Talladega…Teams will race with the 2019 rules package with adjustments for the 2.66-mile superspeedway that includes a 0.922-inch tapered spacer, an increase in the height of the spoiler to nine inches and a 1-inch bolt-on track bar mount to change the height from 11 to 12 inches, raising the rear of the car by one inch…Teams will run a brand new left-side tire code and the same right-side tires that were used last season…The tire set-up came after a test at Daytona International Speedway in February…Ford has won the last seven races at Talladega…Fifty-six percent of Talladega winners have come from a top-five starting spot…The second starting spot has produced the most winners (20)…Ricky Stenhouse Jr. is the last of 14 drivers to win from the pole…Stewart-Haas Racing won both poles in 2018 with Kevin Harvick and Kurt Busch.
*Best Average Finish at Talladega
|Last # of Races||Driver||Average Finish|
|Two Races||Joey Logano||3.0|
|Four Races||Aric Almirola||4.2|
|Six Races||Aric Almirola||8.7|
|Eight Races||Kurt Busch||10.1|
|*Ten Races||Kurt Busch||12.1|
*Must have competed in every race in that span
Laps Led Leaders at Talladega
|Last # of Races||Driver||Laps Led|
|Two Races||Kurt Busch||113|
|Four Races||Joey Logano||139|
|Six Races||Brad Keselowski||216|
|Eight Races||Brad Keselowski||216|
|Ten Races||Joey Logano||235|
Click Here to view all laps led leaders at Talladega over the past 10 races.
Talladega Loop Data Stat Leaders (Last Six Races)
|Average Running Pos.||Laps in Top 15|
|1. Joey Logano – 8.9||1. Joey Logano – 959|
|2. Brad Keselowski – 10.2||2. Brad Keselowski – 890|
|3. Kurt Busch – 10.5||3. Kurt Busch – 885|
|4. Chase Elliott – 10.9||4. Chase Elliott – 852|
|5. Kevin Harvick – 11.6||5. Ryan Blaney – 808|
|Fastest Laps Run||Driver Rating|
|1. Clint Bowyer – 39||1. Joey Logano – 106.5|
|2. Kurt Busch – 31||2. Kurt Busch – 99.7|
|3. Austin Dillon – 31||3. Brad Keselowski – 98.5|
|4. Ryan Newman – 30||4. Denny Hamlin – 92.2|
|5. Ricky Stenhouse Jr. – 27||5. Chase Elliott – 91.3|
Top 10 Stage 1 & 2 Points Earned at Talladega
|Ricky Stenhouse Jr.||25|
|Martin Truex Jr.||22|
2018 Spring Talladega Stage Finishes
|Stage 1||Stage 2|
|1. Brad Keselowski||1. Paul Menard|
|2. Joey Logano||2. Joey Logano|
|3. Martin Truex Jr.||3. Ryan Blaney|
|4. Kyle Busch||4. Kevin Harvick|
|5. Paul Menard||5. Ricky Stenhouse Jr.|
|6. Denny Hamlin||6. David Ragan|
|7. Ryan Blaney||7. Jimmie Johnson|
|8. Ricky Stenhouse Jr.||8. Kurt Busch|
|9. Kevin Harvick||9. William Byron|
|10. Jimmie Johnson||10. Kyle Busch|
Top Five in Stage Points Earned in 2019 (9 Races)
|Driver||Stage Points||Stage Wins|
MRN.com Staff Picks
Jeff Wackerlin: Brad Keselowski
Pete Pistone: Joey Logano
Tyler Burnett: Alex Bowman
Kenneth Lee: Chase Elliott
Driver Notes – Ordered by Average Finish (Top 15) in the Last Five Races at Talladega
Aric Almirola is the latest winner at Talladega, taking the checkered flag last fall. The win was Almirola’s fifth straight finish of eighth or better to give him the best average finish (5.0) in that span.
Denny Hamlin has finished 14th or better in the last five races at Talladega with two top fives in the fall race. Hamlin holds the fourth best driver rating in last six Talladega races and has combined to lead 75 laps in that span. He won this year’s Daytona 500 with the restrictor-plate rules package.
Ricky Stenhouse Jr. has finished in the top five in four of the last five races at Talladega, including a win in this event in 2017. He holds the eighth-best driver rating in last six races with his 26th-place result (crash) in the 2017 fall race his only outside the top 16 in that span. He ranks seventh in stage points earned in the last four races.
Joey Logano has won three of the last seven races at Talladega. He holds the best driver rating in last six races and leads all drivers with 959 laps while running in the top 15 in that span. Logano is the only driver that has finished in the top five in the last three races at the 2.66-mile track. He ranks third in stage points earned in the last four races.
Kurt Busch has finished in the top 10 in five of the last seven races at Talladega, including a second-place finish last year in this event. Busch, who led 108 laps last fall and ran out of gas in Turn 4, has the second best driver rating in the last six races. He ranks fifth in stage points earned in the last four races.
Ty Dillon has a solid average finish of 13.5 in four starts at Talladega. He has yet to finish worse than 15th.
Paul Menard is coming off his fourth top 10 in the last eight races at Talladega. He led eight laps last year in this event but was swept up in an accident while running 10th with 23 laps to go.
Jimmie Johnson has finished 12th or better, including two top 10s, in the last four races at Talladega. He is a two-time winner at the track with his last victory coming in this event in 2011. Since 2016, Johnson has recorded the 10th best driver rating at Talladega.
Daniel Suarez scored his first top 10 in four starts at Talladega as a member of Joe Gibbs Racing. Suarez, who has a 15.0 average finish at Talladega, comes into the weekend with three top 10s in the last four races this season with Stewart-Haas Racing.
Ryan Newman has finished in the top 10 in two of the last three races at Talladega, including a ninth-place finish last year in this event. This weekend, Newman will make his first start at Talladega as a member of Roush Fenway Racing.
Kevin Harvick won the pole and finished fourth in this event last year. It marked his fifth top 10 in 10 track starts with Stewart-Haas Racing. Harvick’s lone Talladega win came in this event in 2010 when he was with Richard Childress Racing. Harvick, who holds the seventh-best driver rating in the last six races at Talladega, led 46 laps last fall but had to pit for fuel right before an overtime restart. He ranks fourth in stage points earned in the last four races.
Kyle Larson has finished 13th or better in four of the last five races at Talladega. Overall, Larson has two top 10s and an average finish of 20.3 in 10 starts. Larson was one of three drivers (Alex Bowman and Daniel Hemric) to participate in the tire test at Daytona to help Goodyear determine this weekend’s tire combination.
Chris Buescher scored his best finish in seven Talladega starts last year in this event, 11th.
Bubba Wallace has finished 16th and 19th, respectively, in his two starts at Talladega.
David Ragan has finished in the top 10 in three of the last four races at Talladega. He won this event in 2013.