2019 GEICO 500: Predictions and Odds - Talladega Motor Speedway
The NASCAR Monster Energy Cup Series heads to the legendary Talladega Motor Speedway. Brad Keselowski, with five wins at the superspeedway, is the early favorite.
Also check out our GEICO 500 Driver Matchups, where we compare drivers head-to-head.
How To Watch
What: GEICO 500
Where: Talladega Motor Speedway in Lincoln, AL
When: Sunday, April 28th at 2:00 PM EST
How: Fox (TV) | Motor Racing Network (Web radio)
What’s At Stake?
Superspeedways usually provide the best chance for an upset. Drivers who do not figure among the favorites see this race as their best shot at landing a spot in the playoffs.
Recent changes to the bump-draft rules have made the race slightly less unpredictable in recent years. Last autumn’s race turned into a fuel-saving finish – an almost unthinkable scenario in the past due to the high number of cautions over the course of the event.
This doesn’t mean that Talladega has lost its unpredictability factor. The ever-present threat of a big-one could easily turn things around in an instant.
Favorites To Win The 2019 GEICO 500
Brad Keselowski‘s first ever Cup series win came at the track back in 2009 following one of the most memorable finishes in NASCAR history. The 2012 champion went on to add three more victories at the track, moving into fourth place among the all-time winners at Talladega. Perhaps the best superspeedway specialist in the field, Keselowski is a master of the draft technique, which always provides him an advantage, especially during the closing stages of the race.
Teammate Joey Logano is a close second. Logano has three wins over the last four years at the track, which means that Penske Racing has won all but two races at Talladega during that period. His win at the GEICO 500 last year ultimately qualified the #22 for the playoffs on the way to the 2018 championship. Given Ford’s recent dominance at the track, it could very well come down to a duel between Keselowski and Logano.
Denny Hamlin only has one win at Talladega to his name, but this doesn’t mean that the Joe Gibbs Racing driver isn’t a strong contender. The reigning Daytona 500 winner has two top five and three consecutive top 10 finishes at the autumn race. His record at the Great American Race should also be taken into account, as the two superspeedways share some similar traits. Hamlin has an impressive six top five finishes (including two wins) over the last eight Daytona 500, which makes him one of the early favorites for Talladega.
Dark Horses For The 2019 GEICO 500
Clint Bowyer has two wins at Talladega and narrowly missed out on a third win last autumn, coming home second behind teammate Aric Almirola. Ford has dominated at the track over the past seasons, scoring seven consecutive wins. This combination between track knowledge and good equipment should make Bowyer an interesting choice for the weekend.
Almirola won the fuel-saving thriller last autumn and has a streak of five consecutive top 10 finishes this season. Another interesting pick like teammate Clint Bowyer, the driver of the #10 Stewart-Haas Racing car could once again end up as an unexpected winner.
Back in 2017, Ricky Stenhouse Jr. became only the second driver to win at Talladega from the pole-position in the past two decades. The Roush-Fenway driver’s two career wins came at superspeedways during that season, as the #17 followed that up with a victory at the Daytona 400-mile race. The superspeedway’s unique traits usually make up for the difference in equipment, which gives the historic Roush squad another shot at fighting for wins. Stenhouse scored two top five finishes at the track last year.
Also driving a Ford, Ryan Blaney‘s record at superspeedways does not make him look like a solid pick. But the Penske Racing youngster has scored three consecutive top five finishes this season and continues to improve race after race. The #12 could turn out to be a good underdog for the round.
2019 GEICO Predictions and Odds
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