Early Week Driver Rankings for Talladega


The MENCS returns to the Talladega for the second race in the Round of 12 of the playoffs. The drivers are all scared of this track because they know they have little control over their fate at Talladega. Some drivers are better than others at avoiding the wrecks but even the best drivers have a 50/50 chance of getting caught up in the “Big One” this week. That means we will need a lot of luck with our Fantasy NASCAR lineups as well. It should be exciting. The 1000Bulbs.com 500 can be seen Sunday at 2 p.m. ET on NBC.

NASCAR will have two practices Friday. The first practice is at 12:30 p.m. ET on NBCSN and final practice is at 3:30 p.m. ET on NBCSN. Qualifying for the 1000Bulbs.com 500 is Saturday at 4:30 p.m. ET on NBCSN.

* I will not be posting Garage Talk Notes this week since practice is almost meaningless at Talladega. Even the less funded cars can run up front at this track. Most teams do not talk about their downforce on the radio so little information is released.

The cars will have the 550 HP engines with the 2” splitter, 8” spoiler and aero ducts this week. It is the same package used earlier this season at Talladega and both races at Daytona. The cars were slower but the racing was about the same as what we have seen in the past at the track.

My early week pick for the pole is Austin Dillon. Teams can almost choose their starting position at Talladega. Teams can take out downforce from their car to add speed and start up front or keep the downforce in the car and allow it to move easily around the track once the green flag is waived. Richard Childress Racing has given up drivability this season so they can start up front. I expect that trend to continue this week.

This race is impossible to predict. The Driver Rankings this week are based on each driver’s ability to avoid wrecks, average finishing position at Talladega, average finishing position on the Superspeedways and momentum in the playoffs.


Here are the early week driver rankings for Talladega…


1. Joey Logano
2. Chase Elliott
3. Brad Keselowski
4. Kurt Busch
5. Alex Bowman
6. Ricky Stenhouse Jr.
7. Aric Almirola
8. Jimmie Johnson
9. William Byron
10. Martin Truex Jr.
11. Kevin Harvick
12. Paul Menard
13. Denny Hamlin
14. Kyle Busch
15. Kyle Larson
16. Daniel Hemric
17. Ryan Newman
18. Ryan Preece
19. Daniel Suarez
20. Austin Dillon
21. Ty Dillon
22. Ryan Blaney
23. Clint Bowyer
24. David Ragan
25. Erik Jones
26. Matt DiBenedetto
27. Chris Buescher
28. Michael McDowell
29. Darrell Wallace Jr.
30. Brendan Gaughan
31. Corey Lajoie
32. Matt Tifft
33. Landon Cassill
34. Ross Chastian
35. B.J. McLeod
36. Reed Sorenson
37. J.J. Yeley
38. Garrett Smithley


* I will post my final driver rankings Saturday night.

**Stats from Driveraverages.com and NASCAR Media. Career stats from Racing-Reference.Info

*** Photos from NASCAR Media


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