The Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series will compete at Talladega Superspeedway for the Geico 500. It is a new era for NASCAR at Talladega. The restrictor-plates are gone. The cars will run the 550 HP engines with the 2” splitter, 9” spoiler. 1” wicker bill, choice of 2 different gear ratios and aero ducts. NASCAR hopes this provides better racing for the fans. It will surely make the race unpredictable. The GEICO 500 can be seen Sunday at 2 p.m. ET on Fox.
Fantasy Live Lineup
Brad Keselowski (6): I had Keselowski penciled in for a start at Richmond but I decided to leave him in the Garage. That gives me an extra allocation with the No. 2 car so I will use Keselowski this week. He has a series-high 5 wins at Talladega and he has won Stages in 3 of the last 4 races at the track. Keselowski qualified 4th and he has a great pit stall. The No. 2 car should dominate the early portion of the race Sunday.
Ryan Blaney (6): I would love to have all 3 Team Penske cars but I am down to 5 allocations with Joey Logano (If you have 6 or more allocations with the No. 22 car, I would use Logano Sunday). I will pair Blaney with Brad Keselowski to give me 2 Team Penske cars. Blaney has learned a lot from his teammates and he has become a good Superspeedway driver. I will use another allocation with Blaney and if he falls back too far I will put him in the Garage.
Clint Bowyer (7): I watched the 2 Talladega races from last year during the off week. No organization worked as well together as Stewart-Haas Racing. Their 4 cars qualified up front and dominated most of the race in October. There is no reason for them to use any other strategy this week. I expect Bowyer to team up with Aric Almirola and the 3 Team Penske cars and spend a lot of time dominating this race.
Aric Almirola (7): Almirola is one of the best picks in the field this week. He has a series-best 4.25 average finishing position since 2016 at Talladega. Almirola has finished 5 consecutive races at this track in the top 8. That includes a trip to Victory Lane last October. He is also good at running up front so that means a lot of Stage points. I have 7 allocations left with Almirola so I am not worried about burning another one this week. The No. 10 car is the safest pick in the field Sunday.
Ricky Stenhouse Jr. (9): Stenhouse has the 2nd-best average finishing position (8.75) and a win at Talladega over the last 2 seasons. He finished 3rd and 5th in the 2 races at the Biggest and Fastest Track on the circuit last year. Stenhouse had one of the fastest cars in practice and he qualified 6th. This is one of his best tracks so there you will not find a better race to use an allocation with the No. 17 car.
My Garage Driver this week will be Austin Dillon (9). He won the pole so he should be able to stay up front with the top pit stall. That means a lot of Stage points. If for some reason Dillon falls back in the field, I will leave him in the garage. If he does run up front in the first 2 Stages and scores a lot of Stage points, I will put the No. 3 car into my starting lineup.
Stage 1 Winner: Brad Keselowski
Stage 2 Winner: Joey Logano
Race Winner: Joey Logano
Winning Manufacturer: Ford
** Photos from NASCAR Media
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Good luck this week!
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