For most folks, it’s the most beloved race of the Spring. Pack racing at its finest, at speeds that top 200 mph, chaos is the norm. For some, Talladega poses an opportunity to break the ol’ unlucky streak. For others, it’s an opportunity to make a name for yourself. For yet a select few, its all about avoiding “the big one”… or not being the cause of it. So, who makes it out in one piece this week?
Driver to Fade:
Tough one, here. A guy who is making leaps and bounds this season and has stayed relatively consistent, we look for Daniel Suarez to struggle today. Starting 22nd, he has yet to prove a threat on superspeedways. Not to mention, he starts right in the eye of the hurricane…
Michael McDowell is a superspeedway threat at any given moment. Last year here, in both races, McDowell proved promising, with an 8th place in the Spring and 3rd place finish in the Fall, respectively. Today, he starts 21st… not so hot in a field where the side draft is practically nonexistent with the new cars. It may take some time but look for the #34 to run up front at some point.
Really, the only driver Bubba Wallace needs to beat in order to be a consistent threat is… himself. The #23 team tends to favor Talladega; since 2020, Wallace has garnered a win, a top 5, and a top 10 here and has managed to keep it clean. Don’t sleep on this team today. He starts 12th in his home state.
It’s hard to find consistency at superspeedways. But if anyone knows how to keep it near the front here, it’s Ryan Blaney. Today, we predict that Blaney snaps the second longest winless streak since his last win and pulls the #12 Ford Mustang into Victory Lane after a late-in-the-race pass for the lead. He starts 5th today at, arguably, his best track.