The first race of Round 2 is in the books and now the Cup Series drivers face two “wild card” races. There are some drivers who are better at Superspeedway racing then others, but it still takes a lot of luck to finish up front. The last race at Talladega we relatively calm. I do not expect it to be that way this week. The YellaWood 500 can be seen Sunday at 2 p.m. ET on NBC.
Here are my picks for the YellaWood 500 …
Driver Group Game A Picks
Denny Hamlin (Start): I wasn’t planning on using an allocation with one of the best drivers at Talladega but I mapped out my allocations for the final six races and I have an extra start to use with Denny Hamlin. I will use it at Talladega. The No. 11 car finished three of the last four races at Talladega in the top four. Hamlin has also been the best driver on the Superspeedways this year. He finished 1st, 4th and 3rd in the three races.
Joey Logano (Bench): Joey Logano is the next best option if you do not have an allocation with Denny Hamlin to use. Logano has a series-best Driver Rating and a series-best average finishing position at the Superspeedways since 2016. His average finishing position in his last six races at the track is 7th. Not too bad.
Group A Driver Rankings: 1) Denny Hamlin 2) Joey Logano 3) Brad Keselowski 4) Kyle Busch 5) Chase Elliott 6) Kevin Harvick 7) Martin Truex Jr.
Driver Group Game B Picks
Ricky Stenhouse Jr. (Start): I need to save the allocations with my top drivers from Group B so I will use Ricky Stenhouse Jr. Sunday. He has a reputation of causing crashes at Talladega but the good news is that he has a habit of not receiving any damage from the wrecks. Stenhouse has finished 2nd, 9th, 25th, 3rd and 5th in his last five races at Talladaga. He nearly won the race at this track in June. I would not be surprised if he played the role of spoiler and won the race Sunday.
Chris Buescher (Start): Chris Buescher is a good sleeper pick and he is on a bit of a hot streak. Buescher finished 8th at Bristol and 9th at Las Vegas so he has some momentum heading into the race Sunday. Buescher also finished 6th at Talladega last June. He is one of the most underrated drivers on the Superspeedways. All he did this year was finishe 3rd (Daytona 500), 6th (Talladega) and 9th (Daytona in August). I will roll the dice with Buescher Sunday.
Ryan Blaney (Use if you can): If you have two or more allocations laying around with Ryan Blaney’s name on it, you need to use one of them Sunday. He has been the second-best driver at the Superspeedways behind Denny Hamlin. Blaney won this race last year and he has been blistering hot on the Superspeedways in 2020. He finished 2nd in the Daytona 500, won the race at Talladega in June and finished 6th at Daytona in August. He should be battling Hamlin for the win Sunday.
Aric Almirola (Use if you can): Aric Almirola is one of the safest drivers in the field this week. What he has done at Talladega since 2015 is simply amazing. Amirola has finished 3rd, 4th, 9th, 1st, 7th, 5th, 4th and 8th at Talladega over the last five seasons. That is a 5th-place average finishing position. This race is very unpredictable but Almirola is the safest pick for a top-10 finish this week. If you have any allocations left with Almirola, use it Sunday.
Group B Driver Rankings: 1) Ryan Blaney 2) Aric Almiorla 3) Ricky Stenhouse Jr. 4) Chris Buescher 5) Alex Bowman 6) William Byron 7) Ryan Newman 8) Kurt Busch 9) Jimmie Johnson 10) Erik Jones
Driver Group Game C Picks
John H. Nemechek (Start): People say that the apple does not fall far from the tree. This is true with the Nemechek family. Joe Nemechek was always considered one of the best Superspeedway drivers. John H. Nemechek is pretty good too. He has finished 11th (Daytona 500), 8th (June race at Talladega) and 11th (August race at Daytona) at the Superspeedways this year. He also has some momentum heading into Sunday’s race since he has had back-to-back top-20 finishes. I will take a chance with the rookie driver this week.
Ty Dillon (Bench): Ty Dillon is the driver I had penciled in as my Group C driver for Talladega. He has been very consistent at the Superspeedways in his career. Dillon finished 12th, 10th, 17th, 15th, 15th and 11th in his last six races at Talladega. I went with John H. Nemechek over Dillon simply because the No. 13 team is getting ready to go out of business. I am not sure how much money they will spend to ensure the aerodynamics is right for their car Sunday. Nemechek is the safer pick, but Dillon should finish in the top 15 too.
Group C Driver Rankings: 1) John H. Nemechek 2) Ty Dillon 3) Ryan Preese 4) Corey LaJoie 5) Cole Custer
Driver Group Game Team
Good luck this week!
*Stats from Fantasy Racing Cheat Sheet Pro
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