We’ve got to talk about it. Can a winless drought end on Sunday for the GEICO 500 (2 p.m. ET, FOX, MRN)? These races are ultimate wildcards they’ve produced some new winners lately. You had Michael McDowell, Austin Dillon, Kurt Busch, Erik Jones, Justin Haley and William Byron all as first time superspeedway winners in recent years.
If there’s ever any time that we get to see sleeper winners, this is one of them. 8 of the last 14 superspeedway race winners in Cup competition have earned either their first or second career victories in them. But, 4 of the last 8 at Talladega and 7 of the last 9 at Daytona, saw drivers won their first or second superspeedway race on them too.
Chris Buescher (168 races)
Last win: Pocono 8/1/2016
Stats: He was sixth in this race last year for his lone top 10 in 11 Talladega tries. But, this car has been fast in the past on this track, so never say never.
Ryan Newman (149 races, 146 attempts)
Last win: Phoenix 3/19/2017
Stats: He’s a very underrated superspeedway racer. Three of his last four Talladega finishes have seen him come home in the top seven including a runner-up in the playoff race in 2019. He was also runner-up in the same race in 2017 too.
Ricky Stenhouse Jr. (136 races)
Last win: Daytona 7/1/2017
Stats: A former winner (2017) as both of his Cup wins during his career have come on superspeedway’s. Stenhouse, was runner-up in this race last year and has two top 10’s over his last three ‘Dega starts and four in the last six with three of those four being in the top five.
Aric Almirola (86 races)
Last win: Talladega 10/14/18
Stats: Definitely the strongest of the sleepers. He also has two career Cup wins and both were also on superspeedways. 8 of his last 9 starts at Talladega have seen him finish in the top 10.
Erik Jones (56 races)
Last win: Darlington (9/1/19)
Stats: He scored a pair of top fives last year including a runner-up in the playoff race.
Matt DiBenedetto (0-for-221)
0 top 10’s in 12 starts with a best finish of 18th (spring 2017).
Daniel Suarez (0-for-152)
He’s with a new team and is shining. Is Talladega a spot they can earn their first win together? Suarez’ best finish on this track was 10th in April 2018.
Corey LaJoie (0-for-138)
5 of his last 8 superspeedway races he’s finished in the top 11. In fact, he was ninth in this past February’s Daytona 500.
Bubba Wallace (0-for-121)
He nearly won the Daytona 500 a few years ago. He had a strong car this past Speedweeks too. Last year in Talladega, he finished 14th after being up front near the end.
Ross Chastain (0-for-88)
He came away with a top 10 in the Daytona 500 and has a best finish of 12th in four career Talladega starts.
Ryan Preece (0-for-86)
What a strong showing that he had during Speedweeks. He was the top open qualifier for the Daytona 500. He raced his way in still by finishing sixth in his Duel. He was runner-up in Stage 1 and would finish sixth when it was all said and done. At Talladega, he was third as a rookie in the spring race of 2019 and 10th last Fall.
Tyler Reddick (0-for-47)
He’s won at Talladega in the Xfinity Series and was seventh in last year’s playoff race.