Kurt Busch shook things up a bit last week with his hometown win at Las Vegas. He jumped into the top transfer spot in the Cup Series Playoffs and is locked into the next round. It was a great win – but oddsmakers don’t see that carrying over to this week's favorites at Talladega Super Speedway.
Denny Hamlin is the lone favorite under +1000 this weekend coming in at +900. Behind him are four drivers locked up at +1000. Kurt Busch comes in at +2000 which is well behind the favorites – which could make him a perfect payoff pick!
Of course, Talladega is a track where anything can happen including the so-called “Big One” wreck which always seems to eliminate half the field. However, there are always a few drivers that seem to run strong there every time they visit the track.
That’s list is essentially the five drivers listed below. Here’s how the favorites to win the NASCAR Cup Series Yellawood 500 at Talladega this weekend.
Kurt Busch made the jump from last on the playoff list to first after winning last weekend at Las Vegas. The other major change was Austin Dillon dropping below the cut line to the last spot. Twelve drivers remain in the Playoffs. The cutline is eight after the next two races – Talladega and Charlotte.
Ryan Blaney has won the last two races at Talladega and has four top-ten runs and three in the top-five. He seems to do well in Alabama – especially since moving to Penski. He has not had the best success during the playoffs but hid did finish 7th last week in Vegas. That’s a stat worth digging into. He’s run great on the big tracks this season. Daytona 2nd, Charlotte 3rd & 3rd, Talladega 1st.
Chase Elliott +1000
Chase Elliott won at Talladega last year and continues to run strong this season. He’s the best Chevrolet driver this season with three top-ten runs in the last five races. He crashed out earlier this season at Talladega but finished 2nd a few weeks ago at Daytona.
Aric Almirola +1600
The numbers are bunched up a bit this week – so saying Aric Almirola at +1600 is a value pick may be a stretch. But I do think he may be slightly overlooked this weekend. He’s won at Talledega and he’s finished top-ten or better fifteen times. Since 2016 – he’s finished 3rd, 4th, 9th, 1st, 7th, 5th, 4th, and 8th respectively.
Others I like
Kevin Harvick and Ricky Stenhouse Jr: I’m fading Kevin Harvick (+1200) a bit this week as he’s not run his best at Talladega – his last win there came in 2010. But, he’s been dominant all year so you have to take a look. Ricky Stenhouse Jr (+1800) has great numbers at Talladega. In fourteen starts at the track – he has one win and nine top-ten runs, He’s finished fifth or better in three of the last six trips to the track.
One Fantasy Driver
My must-have fantasy driver this weekend is Aric Almirola. Take a look at the finishes he has had at Talladega the last several seasons and you’ll know why.
Kent Whitaker is an award-winning author, culinary writer and
sports writer. Whitaker's books range from BBQ, Grilling, Tailgating and additional
culinary titles to WWII history books, books about NASCAR and racing and titles
Whitaker, known as “the Deck Chef,” has a culinary, history
and journalism background. He credits this for his cookbook writing style. “My
books are people based. I interview, gather recipes from real people and
sources – and combine the recipes with back-stories. My cookbooks are slices of
Whitaker can also be found on TV, Radio, Print, and as a
celebrity spokesperson. He has appeared on radio and TV including Food Network.
He’s the Emeril Live Barbecue Contest winner and columnist for the National
Whitaker has covered NASCAR, IndyCar, ARCA Racing, The NFL,
SEC Football, Professional Golf and more. His books include:
·Great American Grilling – Ultimate Backyard Barbecue
·The Gulf Coast Seafood Cookbook
·Smoke in the Mountains - The Art of Appalachian
·Checkered Flag Cooking - Tailgating Stock Car Racing
·The Hometown Cookbook Series; The Tennessee Hometown Cookbook,
as well as Georgia, Texas, Mississippi, Louisiana, South Carolina, West
Virginia, Alabama, and Florida.
·The USS Alabama - The History of the Mighty A
·Bullets and Bread - Feeding the Greats and Grunts of
·Big Mo's Tennis Ball Hunt
the Mountains Smokey?
Kent has worked with several brands as spokesperson. Companies
include Check Mark, ALPO, TimberTech, Vermont Castings, Pabst Blue Ribbon, E.H.
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Kent and his wife Allyson live in Tennessee and have one ARMY
Strong son, Macee. You can visit him online at www.thedeckchef.com and Twitter/Instagram