The traditional off week for Easter is behind us which means that it’s time for the Monster energy NASCAR Cup Series to pay its first visit of the season to Talladega Super Speedway. The 2.5-mile highspeed track built on a former WWII era military airfield is often one of the most exciting races of the year where anything can happen and any driver can win! But, according to oddsmakers that “driver” will probably be behind the wheel of a Ford!

Even though Kyle Busch, driver of the No. 18 Toyota for Joe Gibbs Racing, has been a force all season long he’s a few drivers down the list of favored drivers. Heading into the race weekend the odds are heavy on the side of Blue Oval drivers with Team Penske teammates Brad Keselowski and Joey Logano out front. Both Penske drivers come in at +750 with Busch trailing at +1000. Here are the Cup Series drivers, through +1000, favored to win the Geico 500 outright.

 

Brad KeselowskiFord+750
Joey LoganoFord+750
Clint BowyerFord+900
Kevin HarvickFord+900
Aric AlmirolaFord+1000
Kyle BuschToyota+1000
Ryan BlaneyFord+1000

 

A quick glance at the above drivers tells the tale – Ford is expected to dominate the Cup Series race at Talladega on Sunday. Busch is the only Toyota driver through +1000 and the other drivers represent two teams. Keselowski, Logano and Ryan Blaney are Team Penske Drivers while Clint Bowyer, Kevin Harvick, and Aric Almirola represent Stewart – Haas racing.


Auto Racing Glance: GEICO 500


Busch has three wins this season but ‘Dega is not a track that’s been good to him. He has one win at the track in 27 Cup Series starts. His average finish is 20.7 which is not an indicator of great things to come this weekend. But, he is a Cup Champion, has three wins in 2019 so he can’t be ruled out.

Past Winners are not ‘Any Driver’

The races at Talladega are often tossed into the category of “any driver can win” as I stated above. But that might be a false statement. The common thought about racing at Talladega is that every race boils down to strategy and luck. The strategy will be to avoid “the Big One” which is a name given to huge wrecks at the track and a massive meatball served at the facilities concession stands. To do this drivers may ride in the back for a while.

The Luck side is simple, drivers that are lucky enough to avoid the “Big One” will have a chance to take home the checkered flag. And that’s how the last ten drivers have managed to win at the massive speedway. They survived the big wreck! But, when you look at those drivers, there is a lack of names representing the “any driver” philosophy. This is especially true if you’re thinking a mid-level team will win. Here are the last ten winners at Talladega.

 

2014Denny HamlinToyota
2014Brad KeselowskiFord
2015Dale Earnhardt, Jr.Chevrolet/Retired
2015Joey LoganoFord
2016Brad KeselowskiFord
2016Joey LoganoFord
2017Ricky Stenhouse, Jr.Ford
2017Brad KeselowskiFord
2018Joey LoganoFord
2018Aric AlmirolaFord

 

You may have noticed that one of the drivers, Dale Earnhardt Jr, has since retired and Ford drivers have dominated races for the last ten events at the track.

Geico 500 Prediction

Kyle Busch may leave Talladega with his fourth win of the 2019 Cup Series season. A whole lot of things will have to happen to make his second win at the track a reality. The biggest factor will be how far the teams under the Ford umbrella have improved their understanding of the new Mustang which is in its first Cup Series year.

Ford drivers have done well having won three points-paying races so far. Toyota has won the other six with Busch leading with three. Chevrolet only has one checkered in 2019 with Jimmie Johnson winning the Clash at Daytona and it was not a points race. If a Chevy driver wins then the “any driver” factor has kicked into place!



Look for Busch, both Kyle, and Kurt, to have strong runs along with Martin Truex Jr. In the end, it will probably be a driver from Team Penske or Stewart – Haas Racing that drives their Ford into Victory Lane this Sunday in Alabama… and it might be Ryan Blaney.

Complete Odds for the 2019 Geiko 500 at Talladega

 

Brad Keselowski+750
Joey Logano+750
Clint Bowyer+900
Kevin Harvick+900
Aric Almirola+1000
Kyle Busch+1000
Ryan Blaney+1000
Chase Elliott+1200
Kurt Busch+1200
Martin Truex Jr+1500
Jimmie Johnson+1800
Ricky Stenhouse Jr+1800
Daniel Suarez+2000
Paul Menard+2000
Alex Bowman+2500
Austin Dillon+2500
Erik Jones+2500
Kyle Larson+2500
Matt DiBenedetto+3500
William Byron+3500
Ryan Newman+4000
Chris Buescher+5000
Daniel Hemric+6000
Darrell Wallace Jr+6000
Ryan Preece+6000
Ty Dillon+6000
Michael McDowell+7500
Field+2500

 

 

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