NASCAR Preview: 2020 Yellawood 500 at Talladega Picks

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.

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Denny Hamlin +900

Joey Logano +1000

Ryan Blaney +1000

Chase Elliott +1000

Brad Keselowski +1000

Championship Playoff Drivers:

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.

1. Kurt Busch - Win

2. Kevin Harvick

3. Denny Hamlin

4. Brad Keselowski

5. Martin Truex Jr

6. Joey Logano

7. Chase Elliott

8. Alex Bowman

Round of 12 Cutoff Line:

9. Kyle Busch

10. Clint Bowyer

11. Aric Almirola

12. Austin Dillon

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2020 Yellawood 500 at Talladega Preview

Track: Talladega Superspeedway, Lincoln, Alabama

Type: 2.66 miles, tri-oval, asphalt

Turns: 4

Banking: Turns 1/ 2 - 33°, 3 - 32.4°, 4 - 32.5°, Back 3°, Front 16.5°

Race Distance: 500.8 miles, 188 laps

Defending Track Winner: Ryan Blaney

TV/Radio: NBC / MRN

Start Time: Sunday, October 4, at 2:00 PM Eastern

Wins by Manufacturer: Chevrolet 41, Ford 30, Toyota 3, (Mercury 7, Buick 6, Oldsmobile 6, Dodge 4, Plymouth 3, Pontiac 2)

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Ryan Blaney +1000

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.

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Yellawood 500 at Talladega Odds

Denny Hamlin +900

Joey Logano +1000

Ryan Blaney +1000

Chase Elliott +1000

Brad Keselowski +1000

Kevin Harvick +1200

Kyle Busch +1200

Alex Bowman +1400

William Byron +1400

Aric Almirola +1600

Ricky Stenhouse Jr +1800

Kurt Busch +2000

Martin Truex Jr +2200

Jimmie Johnson +2500

Chris Buescher +2800

Christopher Bell +2800

Matt Dibenedetto +2800

Austin Dillon +2800

Cole Custer +2800

Clint Bowyer +2800

Darrell “Bubba” Wallace Jr. +3300

Tyler Reddick +4000

Erik Jones +4000

Matt Kenseth +4000

Ryan Newman +5000

Michael McDowell +5000

John Hunter Nemechek +5000

Corey Lajoie +10000

Ty Dillon +10000

Ryan Preece +10000

Brendan Gaughan +10000

Brennan Poole +20000

Daniel Suarez +20000

Quinn Houff +25000

Timmy Hill +30000

Joey Gase +30000

J.J. Yeley +30000

Reed Sorenson +30000

James Davison +30000

About the Author

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 for kids.

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 culinary history.”

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 Barbecue News.

Whitaker has covered NASCAR, IndyCar, ARCA Racing, The NFL, SEC Football, Professional Golf and more. His books include:

·      Great American Grilling – Ultimate Backyard Barbecue and Tailgating

·      The Gulf Coast Seafood Cookbook

·      Smoke in the Mountains - The Art of Appalachian Barbecue

·      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

·      Talladega Superspeedway

·      Bullets and Bread - Feeding the Greats and Grunts of WWII

·      Big Mo's Tennis Ball Hunt

·       Why Are the Mountains Smokey?

Kent has worked with several brands as spokesperson. Companies include Check Mark, ALPO, TimberTech, Vermont Castings, Pabst Blue Ribbon, E.H. Campbell Trading, Big Show Foods, and others. Whitaker, and his wife Allyson, hosted a NASCAR and racing themed show on ESPN Radio for several years. That show has morphed into a weekly short format tailgate show heard on over 50 affiliates nationwide.

Kent is also a member of the United States Coast Guard Auxiliary and severed on the National Staff as an AUXCHEF/AUX Food Service Specialist and National Branch Chief.

Kent and his wife Allyson live in Tennessee and have one ARMY Strong son, Macee. You can visit him online at and Twitter/Instagram @thekentwhitaker.