Greg picked up his 11th win of the season with Tyler Reddick scoring the win in Sunday’s NASCAR Cup Series race at the Texas Motor Speedway. It was a race that was a survival of the fittest in a sense that it was anyone’s game if they could outlast the chaos.
Greg had 3 of his drivers in the top 5 but also his other 4 being 19th or worse including 25-29-34. CJ once again had 3 drivers outside the top 30 (31-32-35) as well as 2 drivers in the top 10 (6-7) as well.
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Eric had a championship type day again with 3 of his drivers in the top 10 but 5 of his 7 in the top 13 as a more consistent week once again.
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The ultimate wildcard of the 2022 playoffs is here but in saying that, past stats show that maybe this race isn’t much of a wildcard after all. At Talladega, just 8 times since 1995 has a driver earned their first or second career wins there. Granted, the last 2 races there this stat occurred, but if you take a step back and look at the grander picture, you’d see that an unlikely winner isn’t all that likely.
Bubba Wallace’s win in last year’s race was the 12th driver to pick up his 1st career win at Talladega joining Ricky Stenhouse Jr. (2017), Brad Keselowski (2009), Brian Vickers (2006), Ken Schrader (1988), Phil Parsons (1988), Davey Allison (1987), Bobby Hillin Jr. (1986), Ron Bouchard (1981), Lennie Pond (1978), Dick Brooks (1973) and Richard Brickhouse (1969). As you can see, it was more prevalent in the 80’s than now.
Since the win and advance format was introduced to the sport in 2014, the playoff race has always been won by an existing playoff driver with the exception of last year. They’re 7-for-8 and as you can see in the picks above, Wallace (stats above) is the 1 of 8 non-playoff drivers to win but it’s also not like he’s a fluke on these types of tracks.
Just 6 times has a non-playoff driver won the NASCAR Cup Series’ playoff race at Talladega. It first occurred in 2005 with Dale Jarrett. It happened again a year later (2006) with Brian Vickers. Then we saw it twice in 2009 and again in 2013 with Jamie McMurray as well as 2011 with Clint Bowyer and last year with Bubba Wallace. Only Wallace is in Cup anymore.
The last four Talladega playoff winners were outside the top eight in the playoff standings entering Talladega including Wallace not even being in the playoffs last year.
There’s also the manufacturers race. Ford has won 10 of the last 14 Talladega races and should be a favorite. However, Chevrolet has won 4 of the 5 superspeedway races this season and have done so with different drivers (Byron, Elliott at Atlanta, Chastain at Talladega, Dillon at Daytona).
Toyota remarkably has won the last 2 Fall races though but has just 3 wins in the last 27 Talladega races.
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· The last 2 winners each started 19th. Starting spots of winners for superspeedway’s race this (5th, 21st Daytona, 19th Talladega). Atlanta was 12th and 1st.
· 13 of the previous 14 races prior to Wallace’s win last year were won by the top 6 Rows.
· Only 2 pole winners (Ricky Stenhouse Jr. 2017, Denny Hamlin 2020) won in the last 35 Cup races at Talladega. Those are the only 2 front row starters to win since the playoff race of 2011 (22 races). Previously, 5 of the 13 races before were won by front row starters.
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· Just 1 in the last 5 Talladega races has the eventual winner scored stage points in the opening stage.
· However, in 3 of the last 4 races, the winner actually finished 2nd in Stage 2. Chastain finished 9th in the 2nd stage back in April. Furthermore, since 2017 (the start of stage race) we’ve had 10 races at Talladega. The eventual race winner finished 2nd in the 2nd stage 5 times.
· In the first stage, they had 5 top 4 finishes in the first 6 tries but since? Just 1 top 10 (6th in Spring 2020).
· For Daytona/Talladega this year, the race winner scored 0 points in Stage 1.
· For Daytona/Talladega this year, the race winner was 6th, 9th, 10th respectively in Stage 2.
· Neither race winner this year led any laps in the first 2 stages. Austin Cindric led all 21 of his laps in the Daytona 500 in the final stage. Chastain led just the final lap here in April while Austin Dillon led all 10 of his laps in the Coke Zero Sugar 400 in the final stage too.
· 2 of the 4 superspeedway races last year saw the race winner lead only the final lap (McDowell Daytona 500, Brad Keselowski here in April 2021). Bubba Wallace only led the final 5 laps here last Fall as well meaning each of the last 3 Talladega races did the winner lead laps only in the end.
2022 FANTASY STANDINGS
1 TEAM GDP
2 TEAM ERIC –340 points
3 TEAM CJ – 975 points
1 TEAM GDP – 6,800 points (11 wins)
T Reddick…1,125 (3 wins)
R Blaney… 1,040 (1 win)
C Bell… 940 (1 win)
A Bowman… 825 (1 win)
K Harvick…815 (2 wins)
B Wallace …590 (1 win)
Waived/Traded Drivers… (1,225; 2 wins)
2 TEAM ERIC – 6,460 points (10 wins)
D Hamlin… 1,180 (2 wins)
J Logano… 1,095 (2 wins)
K Larson… 960 (1 win)
R Chastain… 920 (2 wins)
D Suarez… 775 (1 win)
C Buescher… 305 (1 win)
Waived/Traded Drivers… (1,125; 1 win)
3 TEAM CJ – 5,825 points (9 wins)
C Elliott… 1,200 (4 wins)
A Cindric… 960 (1 win)
Kyle B… 840(1 win)
W Byron… 835(2 wins)
M Truex Jr… 705
E Jones… 665 (1 win)
T Gibbs… 105
Waived Drivers… (515)
9/27 (After Race 30/Texas) Team GDP waives C Briscoe (705 points/1 win) for B Keselowski (240 points).
8/28 (After Race 26/Daytona) Team ERIC waives M McDowell (30 points) for A Dillon.
8/17 (After Race 25/Richmond) Team ERIC waives A Almirola (495 points) and T Gibbs (30 points) for C Buescher and M McDowell.
8/17 (After Race 25/Richmond) Team CJ waives A Dillon (460 points) for T Gibbs.
8/5 (After Race 23/Indianapolis RC) Team ERIC waives Kurt B (295 points, 1 win) for Ty Gibbs.
8/1 (After Race 23/Indianapolis RC)
Team GDP waives B Keselowski (240 points) for B Wallace (200 points).
7/18 (After Race 20/New Hampshire)
Team GDP waives M McDowell (55 points) for B Keselowski (210 points).
5/27 (After Race 18/Nashville)
Team GDP waives R Stenhouse Jr. (105 points) for M McDowell.
5/16 (After Race 13/Kansas)
Team GDP waives J Haley (0 points) for R Stenhouse Jr.
5/9 (After Race 12/Darlington)
Team GDP waives B Keselowski (210 points) for J Haley.
4/25 (After Race 10/Talladega)
Team CJ waives H Burton (55 points) for E Jones.
3/15 (After Race 4/Phoenix)
Team GDP waives D Wallace (200 points) for C Bell.
3/14(After Race 4/Phoenix)
Team ERIC waives C Bell (35 points) for R Chastain.
3/2(After Race 2/Fontana)
Team GDP waives C Buescher (30 points) for C Briscoe.
3/29 (After Race 6/Texas Road) Team GDP Acquired K Harvick (120 points) and T Reddick (120 points) from Team ERIC for K Larson (170 points, 1 win) and Kurt B (160 points).