Fantasy Picks: Geico 500 at Talladega

Jamie McMurray during the 2013 NASCAR season

getty iamges

After a wild weekend of racing at Charlotte Motor Speedway the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series comes to Talladega for the final race in the second round of the Chase for the Sprint Cup.

Anything is possible in this one. Trying to pick a winner, or even a driver who will finish the race, is a crap-shoot. Still Tireball Sports will do its best to provide you weekly fantasy advice for the 2.666-mile beast known as Talladega Superspeedway.

Denny Hamlin won this race in the spring while Jamie McMurray who was not in the Chase a year ago (nor is he this year) went to victory lane last fall.  Think about this: In the last seven races at Talladega seven different drivers have went to victory lane.

Five to Pick

Kyle Larson – The worst finish for this rookie in the last eight races this season was a 12th place run at Bristol. How is this for consistency??Since the Chase began he has finishes of 3rd, 2nd, 6th, 2nd and 6th. He was ninth this spring at Talladega.

Jamie McMurray – Much like Larson, McMurray is not competing for a championship so he has stayed out of the drama that has occurred at places like Charlotte. Coming off a third place last week and four top-ten runs in his last six races we like the two time winner at Talladega to do just fine on Sunday even if his recent runs at the track have not been as desirable as hoped.

Jimmie Johnson –  Sure Johnson remains in a funk but if there is one thing that places like Talladega and Daytona allow its for the help of teammates. With pack racing expected, Johnson will have three Hendrick teammates all ready to move to the front of the pack. Though the reality is he is competing with all of them for a spot in the next round… hmmm.

Dale Earnhardt Jr – Five wins here. He won at Daytona. And everything that was previously listed about Hendrick helping one another. We do not think that the dream season ends here.

Ricky Stenhouse Jr – Ok, so normally we give you one dark horse. Since Larson and Ganassi have been running so good of late is it fair to consider them a darkhouse anymore? So with that we give you Ricky Stenhouse Jr who will be making his fourth Talladega start. Stenhouse has quietly finished 13th, 3rd and 10th in his three runs at Talladega.


Three to Avoid

Michael Waltrip – We get it. He won here before. He used to be funny – ok sometimes he still can be. However Waltrip simply does not run in these cars enough anymore to be relevant even at restrictor plate tracks.

Ryan Newman – Newman has a history of being remembered in these races for the wrong reason. Save yourself the worry and pick else where. Newman has two finishes of ninth in his last four races here. His other finishes were 32nd and 18th. Prior to that? Six runs of 23rd or worse. Yikes.

Casey Mears – Sorry folks. Just because it is called the Geico 500 does not mean that the Geico sponsored car does well. This is one of the few tracks that Mears and Germain Racing can hang with the big boys but they simply have not shown an ability to do that. You are better off going with David Ragan and/or David Gilliland if you are in a pinch.