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NASCAR Geico 500 at Talladega Superspeedway Picks: DraftKings Sportsbook Pool Predictions

NASCAR has been back in full force and continues on Sunday with the Geico 500. DraftKings is offering a number of ways to get involved, including a free-to-play pool on DraftKings Sportsbook. To enter, simply answer 11 questions about this event for your chance at the $250 prize…

NASCAR has been back in full force and continues on Sunday with the Geico 500. DraftKings is offering a number of ways to get involved, including a free-to-play pool on DraftKings Sportsbook. To enter, simply answer 11 questions about this event for your chance at the $250 prize pool. This free-to-play pool locks at 3:00 p.m. ET on Sunday. Head here to participate: DraftKings Sportsbook Pools.

If you’re looking for Daily Fantasy action, you can also enter the NASCAR $1.25M Big One [$250 to 1st] (Cup) event. This contest carries a $20 buy-in and locks at 3:00 p.m. ET on Sunday afternoon. Set your lineups here: NAS $1.25M Big One [$250K to 1st] (Cup).


Who will have the highest finish this week?

Joey Logano


Denny Hamlin


Chase Elliott


Kyle Busch


Brad Keselowski


Ryan Blaney

Technically, Talladega is no longer a restrictor-plate race, but the racing has not changed. With only 500 horsepower under the hood at Talladega, the only way to quickly get around this track is to tuck into the draft of the lead car. Every car falls in line and the large convoy churns away the laps. Inevitably, a driver is unsatisfied with this process, and they try to make something happen, and what happens is a wreck. That wreck collects the 10 to 15 cars because of the proximity of cars in the draft. That’s step one. Pick a driver that avoids the wrecks. Step two is to pick a driver that not only survives but thrives. That driver is Joey Logano. His average finish over the last nine Talladega races is 9th; that’s tied for the best in NASCAR.


Who will have the highest finish this week?

Kevin Harvick


Martin Truex Jr.


Kurt Busch


Aric Almirola


Alex Bowman


Jimmie Johnson

It might be a surprise to some, but the best driver in this tier is Aric Almirola. At any other track, Almirola would not be the best driver among this group, but this is a plate track. Not only has Almirola won recently at Talladega (2018), but he is one of the most consistent plate finishers in NASCAR. His average finish of 9th at Talladega is tied for first with Joey Logano. His expertise extends beyond the Alabama border. Almirola is good at the other plate track in Daytona. Over the last 18 place races, Almirola averages a 12th place finish; that’s tied for the best in NASCAR.


Will Tyler Reddick finish in the top 10?

No.

Tyler Reddick is hot right now, but streaks pause during plate race weekends. This is a completely different style of racing, and much of a driver’s success at Talladega has to do with being in the right spot at the right time. Reddick’s skill and the speed of his car are almost irrelevant this weekend. At Daytona, Reddick made it to lap 199 of originally scheduled 200, but his wreck was inescapable. His fate was not predestined because of luck or plate race misfortune. His DNF was of his own doing. Reddick ran the entire race between positions in the teens and twenties. This is the most precarious position on the track. The drivers with the most success, either cruise in the back or lead the pack.


Will Chase Elliott finish in the top 3?

No.

The answer is no for any driver. Even with the greatest driver in his prime, the answer is no. Logano has the best average finish at Talladega, and it’s only 9th, not 3rd. In Logano’s last nine races at Talladega, he only has three top-3 finishes. If the odds are against Logano, then they’re against Elliott, who only has two top-3 finishes in the last eight Talladega races. Play the odds. It’s too easy to wreck or get trapped in traffic at the end.


Who will have the highest finish among these Rookie drivers?

Cole Custer


John Hunter Nemechek


Tyler Reddick


Christopher Bell

John Hunter Nemechek might drive for the smallest team among this group, but Front Row Motorsports knows what they are doing at the plate tracks. David Ragan and Michael McDowell routinely secured top 10 finishes at Talladega and Daytona. Sure, luck has a little to do with it, but Front Row Motorsports puts their cars in a place to get lucky. Nemechek finished 11th at Daytona, and his teammate finished 14th. How did they do it? They safely turned laps in the back all race long. Nemechek spent most of the race just inside the top 30. On lap 175, Nemechek turned it on. He was running 7th with three laps remaining.


Who will have the highest finish for Joe Gibbs drivers?

Kyle Busch


Denny Hamlin


Erik Jones


Martin Truex Jr.

In the Daytona 500, Denny Hamlin and his JGR teammates trotted around the track in last place for the first 60 laps. On lap 68, they were all inside the top 10, but on lap 68 Denny Hamlin had the lead. His 79 laps led are relevant because that’s 79 laps where Hamlin’s odds of wrecking significantly decrease. It cannot be assumed that Hamlin will lead laps again, but it does appear that he has a strategy and can execute that strategy. In the last 18 plate races where Hamlin did not completely wreck out, his average finish is 7th.


Who will have the highest finish for Hendrick Motorsports drivers?

Alex Bowman


William Byron


Chase Elliott


Jimmie Johnson

Past success at a plate track does not guarantee future success, but relying on track history is much better than throwing darts at a dartboard. It’s Chase Elliot and it’s not even close. Johnson, Byron, and Bowman have been the worst collective of plate drivers over the last several years. Among the three, the best average finish is 21st; that ranks 23rd in this field. Elliott has only been slightly better on average, but he’s been very good at Talladega. He has a top-10 finish in three of his last four Talladega races, including a win last spring.


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