The MENCS will compete at Talladega Superspeedway this week. This is the most unprintable race of the season so we need to save our allocations without top drivers. Any driver who starts the race has a good chance to finish in the top 10. There are some drivers who are better than other at avoiding wrecks at Talladega and those are the drivers we want on our team this week. Here are my picks for Sunday…
Brad Keselowski (7): Keselowski has been money at Talladega. Last year he needed a win to advance in the playoffs and he got the job done. He could do the same Sunday. Keselowski has won every Stage at Talladega since NASCAR incorporated Stage racing into their scoring system. Keselowski has 5 wins at Talladega and he is the best pick in the field this week.
Group A Driver Rankings: 1) Brad Keselowski 2) Joey Logano 3) Kevin Harvick 4) Denny Hamlin 5) Kyle Busch 6) Martin Truex Jr.7) Jimmie Johnson 8) Kyle Larson
Ricky Stenhouse Jr. (3): Stenhouse will be one of your favorite drivers if he is on your team and the driver you will hate if he is not. Stenhouse is one of the most aggressive drivers at Talladega. He is a high risk, high reward driver, but the stats say he is successful most of the time. Stenhouse will probably run up front with the pack of Fords Sunday. Their engines usually perform well at this track so I will gamble with Stenhouse this week.
Aric Almirola (4): Almirola said after the race last week, “We should have a win and secure spot in the playoffs but since we don’t, we need to go to Talladega and try to lead every lap. Staying out front is where I want to be.” That sounds good to me. I want a driver who will try to stay up front to avoid the wrecks. Amirola has the 2nd-best average finishing position in the last 8 restrictor-plate race. I like having another Ford on my team this week.
Group B Driver Rankings: 1) Kurt Busch 2) Ricky Stenhouse Jr. 3) Ryan Blaney 4) Aric Almirola 5) Clint Bowyer 6) Chase Elliott 7) Ryan Newman 8) Austin Dillon 9) Paul Menard 10) Jamie McMurray
David Ragan (2): Ragan has been very good at Talladega since joining Front Row Motorsports. He has never finished outside the top 10 while driving the No. 38 car. Ragan finished 10th in both races last year and 6th in the April race at Talladega. He also finished 15th and 6th in his last two races at Daytona. Ragan has 2 wins on his MENCS resume. One at Daytona (2011) and one at Talladega (2013). I will roll the dice with Ragan as my Group C driver this week.
Good luck this week!
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