TALLADEGA, Ala — Sunday’s YellaWood 500 (2 p.m. ET, NBC, MRN) is here and someone is going to pick up a victory in the penultimate race of the Round of 12. The question remains, whom?
All 4 postseason races have been won by a non-playoff driver. Does that trend continue in one of the biggest wildcard races of the playoffs in Talladega?
- 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.
- Ford has won 10 of the last 14 overall Cup races at Talladega
- Toyota has won the last 2 Fall races but has only won 3 times in the last 27 races overall. 2 of which were won by Denny Hamlin.
- Chevrolet has won 4 of the 5 superspeedway races this season all by different drivers (Byron, Elliott at Atlanta, Dillon at Daytona, Chastain at Talladega).
- 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.
- 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.
Without practice, who wins?
- 12 Blaney – He’s won a superspeedway race in each of the last 4 years (2018 Duel, 2019 Talladega, 2020 Talladega, 2021 Daytona summer race). He’s not won a speedway race in 2022…. He starts 19th. The last 2 winners here have come from….19th.
- 6 Keselowski – This just seems like the writing is on the wall, right? Keselowski has 5 Talladega wins to his credit and his team, RFK Racing, is surging. Between he leading 109 laps at Bristol and his teammate Chris Buescher leading the most laps and taking the win coupled with Keselowski earning the pole last weekend, this seems set up for him to win.
- 2 Cindric – He has 2 top 3 finishes in 3 superspeedway starts this year.
- 43 Jones – He led the white flag lap before being shuffled out of the lead in the final corner. He had a top 5 car in the Daytona 500 and was 3rd in Atlanta 2.
- 3 Dillon – Was 2nd in the spring and won at Daytona.