Prime Sports NASCAR – weekly picks from Bristol Dirt recap to Talladega picks

CJ picked up another small victory last weekend in Bristol with being the only one to pick Kyle Busch (16-1). It netted him $12 for his 7th win in 9 races this season. He’s not +$56 on the season. Busch, led just one lap all night – the final one.

However, CJ was heading towards a win from either Tyler Reddick (2nd) or Chase Briscoe (22nd) anyways with CJ also betting on both and the duo being 1-2 heading towards the final sequence of turns in 3-4. All three would have won CJ $12.

He had 4th and 5th place in Kyle Larson and Ryan Blaney too.

Eric falls to -$293 after not having Busch. He did have Brisoce but his only other top finishers were Larson (4th), Alex Bowman (6th) and Christopher Bell (7th).

Greg had 5th placed Blaney and 7th (Bell) but none other in the top 10.

Now we head to the ultimate wildcard race at Talladega.

On a season that’s been full of fluke winners, you’d think we’d see another one Sunday at the Talladega Superspeedway. 8 of the 9 races in 2022 run were won by drivers with double digit odds including 3 drivers already scoring 1st time victories this season.

2022 Winners:

Daytona – Austin Cindric (28/1)

Fontana – Kyle Larson (4/1)

Las Vegas – Alex Bowman (18/1)

Phoenix – Chase Briscoe (50/1)

Atlanta – William Byron (12/1)

COTA – Ross Chastain (25/1)

Richmond – Denny Hamlin (12/1)

Martinsville – William Byron (12/1)

Bristol Dirt – Kyle Busch (16/1)

9 of the last 15 superspeedway race winners in Cup competition having earned either their first or second career victories. Michael McDowell won his first career race at Daytona last February and Bubba Wallace at Talladega last Fall.

60% of the last 10 Cup races at Talladega have seen the victor earning either in their first or second career victories. Its actually happened in at least 1 of their 2 annual races for 5 straight years now.

33% (3-for-9) of the races run this season have been won by 1st time winners.

This weekend, 12 of the 40 drivers entered in Sunday’s GEICO 500 are still looking for their first NASCAR Cup Series victory. Those drivers are – Corey LaJoie, Tyler Reddick, Daniel Hemric, Harrison Burton, Todd Gilliland, Ty Dillon, Kaz Grala, Cody Ware, Noah Gragson, Landon Cassill, BJ McLeod and Daniel Suarez.

Cassill is 0-for-329, Dillon is 0-for-175, LaJoie is 0-for-173, Suarez is 0-for-188, McLeod 0-for-92, Reddick 0-for-83, Ware 0-for-64, Hemric is 0-for-41, Burton is 0-for-10, Gilliland is 0-for-9, Grala 0-for-6 and Gragson is 0-for-2.

Then you have guys with long winless droughts too.

Chris Buescher (204 races), Ricky Stenhouse Jr. (172 races), Justin Haley (99 races), Erik Jones (92 races), Cole Custer (64 races), Austin Dillon (63 races), Kevin Harvick (52 races), Michael McDowell (44 races), Christopher Bell (43 races), Joey Logano (38 races) and Brad Keselowski (35 races) are riding streaks of a year long.

Keselowski hasn’t won since this race a year ago. Logano hasn’t won since Bristol Dirt last season. McDowell and Bell won the first two races of 2021 at Daytona. The rest haven’t seen victory lane since 2020 or prior.

Which gives? Do you get a first time winner on the season, a first career winner or a usual suspect?

Out of the drivers who’ve won this season (Austin Cindric, Kyle Larson, Alex Bowman, William Byron, Ross Chastain, Denny Hamlin, Kyle Busch and Chase Briscoe), only 2 of them have won at Talladega before. Larson has 0 top 5’s in his career there. Busch’s last eight finishes in the Fall Talladega race have been 11th or worse including his last six being 30th, 27th, 26th, 19th, 27th and 27th respectively. He was 32nd and 18th the last two spring races too as well as being 10th or worse in 4 straight spring races.

Something has to give.

2 of the last 3 race winners took over the lead inside of 5 laps-to-go. Half of the superspeedway races last year saw the winner lead just 1 lap all day – the final one. In fact, it happened in this very race last season. Will Sunday’s GEICO 500 produce another longer shot?

It seems like every time we go to a superspeedway that we have to talk about the potential for fluke winners too. In reality though, the wiser bets for Talladega are on the usual suspects that normally run up front instead of the hot longshot.

Since 1995, we’ve really only seen what you could consider seven “fluke” winners at the Talladega Superspeedway. That’s seven in the last 54 races on the 2.66-mile high banked oval. Even out of those seven, a few aren’t all that flukish after all.

Bobby Hamilton’s win was. Brian Vickers’ win in 2006 would fall under that category as well. Brad Keselowski’s win in 2009 would too but he’d later become one of the greats on superspeedway’s, so looking back on it, it’s not as much as a fluke now as it was then. David Ragan’s win in 2013 would be one, but that’s about it. You could throw Ricky Stenhouse Jr’s win in 2017 as one but he’d win later in Daytona that season too. Same for Aric Almirola’s in 2018 as both of his wins have come on superspeedway’s as well.

Bubba Wallace won last Fall but it’s not like he’s been terrible on these tracks either. He was running second on the final lap at Atlanta, finished second in the last two Daytona races and won at Talladega for what should be four straight top two results on these tracks.

That’s it.

Just seven times since 1995 has a driver earned their first or second career wins at Talladega.

What about Daytona? It’s quite the opposite actually.

They’ve had more fluke winners than Talladega in recent years. Just look at their recent winners in fact.

For the Coke Zero Sugar 400, three of the last five winners have earned their first career Cup victories. The other was just his second.

2020 – William Byron (1st career win in August’s Coke Zero Sugar 400)

2019 -Justin Haley (1st career win)

2018 – Erik Jones (1st career win)

2017 – Ricky Stenhouse Jr. (2nd career win)

2014 – Aric Almirola (1st career win)

2011 – David Ragan (1st career win)

For the Daytona 500, Denny Hamlin has won three of the last six years but the other three winners were Austin Dillon (2nd career win), Kurt Busch (1st career restrictor plate win), Michael McDowell (1st career Cup win) and Austin Cindric (1st career Cup win).

The fluke winners come at Daytona for whatever reason, but that hasn’t been the case for Talladega.

Race Odds

10-1…R Blaney (CJ, Eric)

12-1…J Logano (CJ, Eric)

14-1…C Briscoe, A Cindric (CJ), C Elliott (CJ), D Hamlin, B Keselowski (Eric) and B Wallace Jr. (CJ, Eric)

16-1…Kyle B, K Harvick (Eric) and K Larson (CJ)

18-1…W Byron (Eric, CJ)

20-1…A Almirola (Eric, CJ), A Bowman (CJ) and T Reddick (CJ)

25-1…C Bell (CJ), C Buescher (Eric), Kurt B and R Chastain

30-1…A Dillon (CJ), M McDowell, R Stenhouse Jr. (Eric, CJ) and M Truex Jr.

50-1…H Burton and C Custer

60-1…J Haley and D Suarez (CJ)

70-1…E Jones (Eric, CJ)

90-1…T Dillon (Eric)

100-1…D Hemric, C Lajoie (Eric) andD Ragan

GEICO 500 PICKS: RACE 10

CJ Radune

R Blaney…10-1…$11 ($110) 

J Logano…12-1…$10 ($120) 

A Cindric…14-1…$10 ($140) 

C Elliott…14-1…$10 ($140) 

B Wallace…14-1…$10 ($140) 

K Larson…16-1…$7 ($112)

W Byron…18-1…$7 ($126)

A Almirola…20-1…$6 ($120)

A Bowman…20-1…$6 ($120)

T Reddick…20-1…$6 ($120)

C Bell…25-1…$5 ($125)

A Dillon…30-1…$4 ($120)

R Stenhouse Jr…30-1…$4 ($120)

D Suarez…60-1…$2 ($120)

E Jones…70-1…$2 ($140)

RECORD: 7 for 9

TOTAL: +63

Eric Smith

R Blaney…10-1…$17 ($170) 

J Logano…12-1…$12 ($144) 

B Keselowski…14-1…$12 ($168) 

B Wallace…14-1…$10 ($140) 

K Harvick…16-1…$11 ($176)

W Byron…18-1…$6 ($108)

A Almirola…20-1…$7 ($140)

C Buescher…25-1…$7 ($175)

R Stenhouse Jr…30-1…$4 ($120)

H Burton…50-1…$3 ($150)

J Haley…60-1…$3 ($180)

E Jones…70-1…$3 ($210)

T Dillon…90-1…$3 ($270)

C Lajoie…100-1…$2 ($200)

RECORD: 4 for 9

TOTAL: -293

Greg DePalma

R Blaney…10-1…$20 ($200) 

J Logano…12-1…$17 ($204) 

C Briscoe…14-1…$6 ($84) 

B Keselowski…14-1…$6 ($84) 

K Harvick…16-1…$15 ($240)

W Byron…18-1…$5 ($90)

T Reddick…20-1…$15 ($300)

C Buescher…25-1…$3 ($75)

Kurt B…25-1…$3 ($75)

E Jones…70-1…$5 ($350)

T Dillon…90-1…$5 ($450)

RECORD: 2 for 9

TOTAL: -540

ARCHIVES

FOOD CITY DIRT RACE PICKS: RACE 9

FOOD CITY DIRT RACE WINNER: Kyle Busch

CJ Radune

K Larson…6-1…$18 ($108) …4th

C Bell…8-1…$14 ($112) …7th

W Byron…12-1…$9 ($108) …18th

C Briscoe…14-1…$8 ($112) …22nd

M Truex Jr…14-1…$8 ($112) …21st

T Reddick…14-1…$8 ($112) …2nd

R Blaney…16-1…$7 ($112) …5th  

Kyle B…16-1…$7 ($112) …1st

D Suarez…20-1…$6 ($120) …12th

R Stenhouse Jr…25-1…$5 ($125) …29th

B Wallace…30-1…$4 ($120) …28th

K Harvick…35-1…$3 ($105) …34th

A Dillon…50-1…$3 ($150) …31st  

RECORD: 1 for 1

TOTAL: +19

Eric Smith

K Larson…6-1…$18 ($108) …4th  

C Bell…8-1…$16 ($128) …7th

W Byron…12-1…$9 ($108) …18th

A Bowman…14-1…$10 ($140) …6th

C Briscoe…14-1…$10 ($140) …22nd

M Truex Jr…14-1…$10 ($140) …21st

D Suarez…20-1…$6 ($120) …12th

R Stenhouse Jr…25-1…$5 ($125) …29th

B Wallace…30-1…$4 ($120) …28th

A Dillon…50-1…$10 ($500) …31st 

T Dillon…100-1…$2 ($200) …10th

RECORD: 0 for 1

TOTAL: -100

Greg DePalma

C Bell…8-1…$30 ($240) …7th

R Blaney…16-1…$17 ($272) …5th     

D Suarez…20-1…$25 ($500) …12th

R Stenhouse Jr…25-1…$10 ($250) …29th

K Harvick…35-1…$5 ($175) …34th

E Jones…40-1…$7 ($280) …24th  

A Dillon…50-1…$6 ($300) …31st 

RECORD: 0 for 1TOTAL: -100

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