It’s that time of year again; Talladega. If you actually enjoy NASCAR then you understand how important this race is. Not only because of the history that surrounds it but also because fan’s love it. Most none NASCAR fans chalk it up to some kind of redneck gag because of the hilarious portrayal of Ricky Bobby by Will Ferrell. I know personally, I try to avoid telling people that I go to Dega every year just to avoid having to hear “shake-n-bake” one more time. That’s our term, only we can use that language!
Talladega is a restrictor-plate race, which completely changes the landscape of possible outcomes. Regardless of how you feel about plate races, they are unarguably very entertaining. One small slip can cause a massive wreck and knockout a great driver, even if he didn’t do anything wrong. Essentially, anything can happen at a plate race. Regardless of its unpredictability, there are definitely certain drivers who seem to make a name for themselves during plate races.
If you’re a gambling man, you might be interested in know who has the best odds to win the race. Lucky for you, there are plenty of betting outlets with the “insight” of which driver has the best change to make you some money. I, on the other hand, have chosen to offer you a list of the top 6 drivers with the best chance to win Dega this year.
The Safe Picks
Put simply, Keselowski has more plate wins than any other current driver; 12th all time to be exact. Including the Alabama 500 as well as the GEICO 500, Keselowki has won at the Talladega Superspeedway 5 times, which is the 4th most of all time behind Dale Earnhardt, Jeff Gordon and Dale Jr., and is the current leader. To sum it up, Keselowki is the Dega master and will be considered the most likely winner until proven otherwise.
Similar to Keselowki, Hamlin has made a name for himself as a plate racer. As one of the current leaders in leading laps during plate races, he has won two plate races including one in Talladega back in 2014. He is as experienced at Dega as any other current driver and has the second most led laps among active drivers at Talladega (291). Regardless of the current opinion from most fans about Hamlin, he is definitely a contender for a win.
Chase Elliott is one of the best young drivers in the league and has been for a while. With 86 races under his belt however, Elliott is still winless. That is a trend that is sure to end soon. Although he will likely receive a majority of fan votes to get into the All Star race, he currently doesn’t have an automatic bid. I have a feeling Elliott is getting his first win this season and Dega would be the perfect place to do it.
The Under Dogs
Prior to this season, Ford was enjoying a seven-plate-race winning streak. Thanks to Austin Dillon and Almirola’s late block attempt in Daytona (that’s right, it was late bloke and AD made the right move), that streak is over. In Dillon’s young career he is already showing his favoritism towards plate races with eight top 10 finishes, three top 5 and a win in only 19 plate races. For a driver who doesn’t seem to lead a lot, a plate race is perfect for Dillon to grab a finish at the end, assuming he doesn’t get caught up in a wreck.
After what happen at Daytona to start this season, Aric Almirola seems to be due for a win and that seems more likely at a plate race like Talladega. He has proven he can successfully drive at a plate race as well. I don’t think Almirola is the type of driver to seek revenge but fans surely want to see him get it from Dillon. Knowing Almirola however, he will likely drive a clean race and just try to avoid wrecks, which is probably the best thing to do at Dega if we are being honest.
The Dark Horse
Currently, Wallace’s odds to win this race are at 60/1, which makes sense because it is his first season. This could be a great opportunity to make some good money for people watching this new fan favorite however. Although not even halfway into his first season, he already has two top 10 finishes including 2nd at Daytona. He is currently adored by nearly everyone and seems to know how to drive on a plate track. Obviously we haven’t seen enough of Bubba yet to give him a higher win probability but based on what little we have seen, it appears more likely than expected for a rookie.