Wilfredo Lee/Associated Press
The NASCAR Cup Series heads to one of the most difficult tracks on the circuit Sunday.
Talladega Superspeedway is one of two super speedways on the schedule, and it poses challenges for even the most experienced drivers.
Joe Gibbs Racing could have an advantage from the start, as Martin Truex Jr., Denny Hamlin and Kyle Busch were drawn into the first three positions on the starting grid.
Since finding drafting partners can be difficult, those three should be considered the favorites to win at least the first stage while other combinations of racers scramble to link up.
Geico 500 Information
Date: Sunday, June 21
Start Time: 3 p.m. ET
Live Stream: Fox Sports app or FoxSports.com.
Denny Hamlin: 900 (bet $100 to win $900)
Joey Logano: 900
Brad Keselowski: 1,000
Ryan Blaney: 1,000
Kevin Harvick: 1,200
Kyle Busch: 1,200
Kurt Busch: 1,500
Alex Bowman: 1,800
Martin Truex Jr.: 1,800
Jimmie Johnson: 2,000
Talladega has lived up to its reputation as one of the most unpredictable tracks recently, as six drivers have won the past six events.
Chase Elliott and Ryan Blaney captured the 2019 races in Alabama. Brad Keselowski, Joey Logano, Aric Almirola and Ricky Stenhouse Jr. are the other recent champions.
Of that group, Keselowski has been the most successful driver at the race track, recording five victories.
Even though the No. 2 car driver has a strong history at the track, he believes you have to keep adapting to it, per NBC Sports’ Daniel McFadin:
“You have to keep evolving at Talladega. I don’t know if there’s a track on the circuit where the tactics evolve more rapidly and drastically year over year than Talladega, so you’ve just got to really try to stay on top of that and it’s a hard thing to do. Sometimes you can stay on top of the tactics and it doesn’t matter and you end up getting wrecked anyway, but it certainly is a challenging, challenging place.“
The Team Penske competitor has to be considered one of the favorites to win along with the Joe Gibbs cars since he begins the race in sixth place. Keselowski may have to wait a few laps for teammates Joey Logano and Ryan Blaney to reach him for drafting help, but he should be able to maneuver through the early stages.
Since they have had success at Talladega, the trio of Penske drivers are expected to challenge the Joe Gibbs racers.
The other combinations to look out for are the Hendrick Motorsports collection of Jimmie Johnson, Alex Bowman and Elliott, as well as the Stewart-Haas Racing cars of Kevin Harvick, Clint Bowyer and Almirola.
As the race goes on, you will see members of other teams combine to push forward, but the in-team relationships will be important. The result could come down to something as simple as which team has the most drivers left in a race that could be littered with cautions.
The unpredictability makes it hard to land on a single bet for Sunday, but the most trusted competitors should be those with the most experience and success at Talladega, such as Keselowski