The NASCAR Cup Series continues today with the 2021 Geico 500 at Talladega Superspeedway. Read on below to see my prediction for who will win the race, as well as my top 10, dark horse, and driver to fade predictions.
Winner: Ricky Stenhouse Jr.- Stenhouse has been having his most consistent year to date, with 4 top 12 finishes and no finishes outside the top 20 all season. Talladega has been kind to Stenhouse through the years, with 1 win and 9 top 10’s in 15 starts. Stenhouse has typically been a checkers or wreckers type driver on the superspeedways and I believe today is the day Stenhouse will bring home the checkers.
Top 10: Aric Almirola-After a slow start to the season, Almirola is starting to hit his stride, bringing home his first top 10 of the year last week at Richmond. Almirola brings a strong track record into Talladega, where he had 8 straight top 10’s, including a win, before wrecking out in October. I believe Almirola will right the ship and bring home another top 10 today.
Dark horse: Ryan Preece- Alongside teammate Ricky Stenhouse Jr., Preece has quickly become a superspeedway ringer, with 2 top 10s and no finishes outside the top 20 in 4 career Talladega starts. Preece has also shown speed this year, with a 6th place finish in the Daytona 500 and 3 top 15 finishes. I believe Preece will run well with his teammate and will bring home his 3rd top 10 result of the year.
Driver to fade: Michael McDowell- even though he is the reigning Daytona 500 champion, McDowell has had no success at Talladega, with just 1 top 10 and 4 top 20’s in 20 career starts. He may right the ship given the year he has had, but I wouldn’t put too much faith in it. I expect McDowell to finish outside the top 20.