On Sunday, October 14th, NASCAR’s 5th race of the playoffs will be live from Talladega for the 1000Bulbs.com 500. As the second race in Round 2, things are heating up for the 12 remaining drivers looking to move on to Round 3. The catch is, only the top 8 drivers will advance which leaves 4 drivers facing elimination. Talladega is not only a track where drivers can reach speeds of over 210 mph, but it’s also the track where big crashes known as “The Big One” happen. Add the tensions and anxieties of advancing to the next round of the playoffs into this mix, and we have a pressure cooker ready to explode on Sunday.
For those looking to jump straight into the betting action on the 1000Bulbs.com 500, here are the top sites we recommend:
The Talladega Superspeedway is one of NASCAR’s classic tri-oval tracks where drivers can reach impressive speeds along the straightaways and fly right through the 4 turns that this 2.66 mile track features. The 1000Bulbs.com 500 race breaks down as follows:
- Stage 1: First 55 laps
- Stage 2: Second 55 laps
- Final Stage: Remaining 78 laps
- Total Laps: 188 laps
The race will air live on NBC and begin at 2PM ET.
Heading into Talladega
Last weekend, Chase Elliott surprised many pundits and fans with a big win at Dover. Not only did the win automatically advance Elliott into Round 3 of the playoffs, but it gave this young driver a ton of confidence and a realistic chance to compete for the championship moving forward. Unfortunately, there were a few playoff drivers that didn’t fare as well last weekend with both Alex Bowman and Clint Bowyer crashing out of the race.
In addition to Elliott, 9 other playoff drivers finished within the Top 15 at Dover. However, Talladega is a different type of animal than Dover. It’s a track where drivers position themselves to win the race, while trying to avoid the big crash that always punctuates a Talladega race.
Current Playoff Standings
The following standings is based on points. However, Chase Elliott has already advanced due to his win last weekend at Dover:
- Kevin Harvick (3101 pts) +68
- Kyle Busch (3096 pts) +63
- Martin Truex Jr. (3069 pts) +36
- Joey Logano (3064 pts) +31
- Chase Elliott (3056 pts) Advanced
- Kurt Busch (3054 pts) +21
- Brad Keselowski (3054 pts) +21
- Ryan Blaney (3043 pts) +10
Cutoff Line to Advance to Round 3
- Aric Almirola (3033 pts) -10
- Clint Bowyer (3033 pts) -10
- Kyle Larson (3031 pts) -12
- Alex Bowman (3009 pts) -34
What to Watch for at Talladega
This race is going to be packed with speed and excitement. Here’s what to watch for on Sunday:
- When will The Big One happen?
- Which playoff drivers will crash out?
- Will a playoff driver win and advance to Round 3?
- Does any non-playoff driver have a shot at taking the checkered flag?
Previous 1000Bulbs.com 500 Winners
The following is a list of the last 10 winners in this fall race at Talladega. Brad Keselowski is the defending champ for this race:
|Year||Winning Driver||Winning Team|
|2008||Tony Stewart||Joe Gibbs Racing|
|2009||Jamie McMurray||Roush Fenway Racing|
|2010||Clint Bowyer||Richard Childress Racing|
|2011||Clint Bowyer||Richard Childress Racing|
|2012||Matt Kenseth||Roush Fenway Racing|
|2013||Jamie McMurray||Earnhardt Ganassi Racing|
|2014||Brad Keselowski||Team Penske|
|2015||Joey Logano||Team Penske|
|2016||Joey Logano||Team Penske|
|2017||Brad Keselowski||Team Penske|
1000Bulbs.com 500 NASCAR Betting Odds
The following NASCAR betting odds are courtesy of BetOnline:
- Brad Keselowksi +700
- Joey Logano +800
- Kyle Busch +1000
- Denny Hamlin +1200
- Ryan Blaney +1200
- Clint Bowyer +1200
- Kevin Harvick +1200
- Chase Elliott +1200
- Aric Almirola +1400
- Ricky Stenhouse +1400
- Kurt Busch +1400
- Alex Bowman +2000
- Martin Truex Jr +2200
- Erik Jones +2500
- Jimmie Johnson +2500
- Kyle Larson +2800
- Paul Menard +3300
- Daniel Suarez +4000
- Austin Dillon +4000
- Jamie McMurray +5000
- William Byron +5000
- Ryan Newman +5000
- David Ragan +5000
- Bubba Wallace +5000
- Trevor Bayne +5000
- Chris Buescher +6600
- Ty Dillon +7500
- AJ Allmendinger +7500
- Regan Smith +7500
- Michael McDowell +10000
- Ross Chastain +12500
- Matt DiBenedetto +12500
- Corey LaJoie +12500
- Jeffrey Earnhardt +12500
- JJ Yeley +15000
The Favorites to Win at Talladega
The following drivers are considered the odds on favorites to win this weekend at Talladega according to BetOnline’s betting odds:
Brad Keselowksi (+700)
As mentioned above, Keselowski is the defending champ for this fall Talladega race. He’s become one of the best active restrictor plate drivers in NASCAR, which is evident by his 5 career wins at Talladega in 19 races. Additionally, he has 7 Top 5’s, 11 Top 10’s, and an average finish of 15.1.
Brad crashed out of the spring race at Tallageda, but has 4 top 7 finishes in the last 6 races at this track with two of those being wins.
Last weekend, Keselowski finished 14th at Dover, but did lead 8 laps. It was an improvement over his 31st place finish at Charlotte two races ago. Currently, Brad is 7th in the playoff standings.
Keselowski will be a dominant force on Sunday, but will that translate into a playoff race win or will he get caught up in a big crash like in the spring?
Joey Logano (+800)
Other than Keselowski, Joey Logano has been the best active driver at Talladega with 3 career wins in 19 starts. He won the spring race this year, which was his only win of the season, and finished 4th in this race last year. Logano has 6 Top 5’s, 8 Top 10’s, and an average finish of 17.7 at Talladega.
Last weekend, Joey had a strong run at Dover with a 3rd place finish and 6 laps led. He sits 5th in the playoff standings, 5 points behind Truex Jr. If you don’t count Elliott’s win, and only go off points, then Logano is in 4th place overall.
Over the last 8 races, Logano has finished no worse than 14th. In the first 4 playoff races, Logano has 3 Top 10’s. He’s been a model of consistency and I expect that to continue this weekend at Talladedga.
Kyle Busch (+1000)
Despite being arguably the best driver in NASCAR, Kyle Busch hasn’t had a great deal of success at Talladega throughout his career. In 26 career starts, Busch has 1 win, 6 Top 5’s, 7 Top 10’s, and an average finish of 20.5. Kyle only has 3 Top 10 finishes in his last 10 Talladega races. Fortunately, he’s 2nd in the playoff standings based on points, because this could be a disappointing race on Sunday for Rowdy.
Last weekend, Kyle finished 8th at Dover. Since the start of the playoffs, Kyle has 3 Top 8 finishes, 1 victory, and a crash at Charlotte. He’ll be looking to avoid the big crash on Sunday and finish at least in the Top 10.
Denny Hamlin (+1200)
Like Kyle Busch, Denny Hamlin has only 1 career win at Talladega. However, in 25 starts, Hamlin has 5 Top 5’s, 9 Top 10’s, and an average finish of 18.1. Denny was eliminated from the postseason after Round 1. But, that doesn’t mean he’s given up on trying to win races.
Last weekend at Dover was the perfect example of how Hamlin is still racing for checkered flags. Although he came up short, Hamlin did finish in 2nd place. Now, he’s looking to sneak his way into the winner’s circle on Sunday by avoiding the big crash and finding the fastest line toward the finish.
Ryan Blaney (+1200)
Other than his win at Charlotte, which was due to a last turn crash with the leaders, Blaney has been relatively quiet and overshadowed in the playoffs. However, that doesn’t mean he hasn’t been running well. Over his last 12 races, Blaney hasn’t finished lower than 19th. He’s also racked up 1 win, 3 Top 5’s and 4 Top 10’s. In the playoffs, he’s averaging a 9.0 finish. But, that good fortune could end on Sunday.
For his career, Blaney has just 1 Top 5, 2 Top 10’s and an average finish of 20.5 at Talladega. He also has 3 DNFs including crashing out in 2 of the last 3 Talladega races. In the spring, Blaney was able to finish the race, but ended up 18th. He hasn’t cracked the Top 10 since the spring Talladega race in 2016.
The Best 1000Bulbs.com 500 Betting Value
Anytime I can get two of NASCAR’s Big 3 Drivers at these odds, I’m all over it. Both Harvick and Truex Jr. are excellent choices for betting value this Sunday at Talladega:
Kevin Harvick (+1200)
Harvick has been one of the best drivers all season long. In fact, many pundits and fans would say he was the best driver during the 2018 regular season. Unfortunately, he hasn’t been able to win a race since Michigan, which was 8 races ago. In the playoffs, Harvick has 3 straight Top 10 finishes after his crash at Vegas in the opening race of the postseason. Last weekend, Kevin finished 6th.
Talladega has been a hit or miss track for Harvick over the last 6 races. He’s either finished in the Top 10 or outside of the Top 15 during that span. For his career, Harvick has 1 win, 7 Top 5’s, 15 Top 10’s, and an average finish of 15.1 in 35 career starts at Talladega.
Harvick crashed out of the fall race last year, but did manage a pole and a 4th place finish for the spring race this year.
With odds this high, Harvick provides excellent betting value and is definitely worthy of a bet to win this race on Sunday.
Martin Truex Jr. (+2200)
Truex Jr. has the second worst average finish (21.3) out of the remaining 12 postseason drivers. However, he is the reigning NASCAR champ and he does sit in 3rd place in the playoff standings according to points.
Truex’s bad luck at Talladega can’t continue forever. He has 4 straight DNFs and 13 overall in 27 starts. That means he doesn’t finish a race at this track about 50% of the time. It should come as no surprise that Truex has never won here and has only 2 Top 5’s and 8 Top 10’s.
With that said, I believe Truex will turn it around this weekend. He should’ve won at Charlotte two weeks ago, but Johnson crashed into him on the final turns of the last lap, which resulted in a 14th place finish. Last weekend, Truex finished 15th at Dover. In the first two playoff races, Truex finished in 3rd place at Vegas and Richmond.
Talladega has been a thorn in Truex’s side, but I think this is the weekend he will survive the race and be a contender on the final lap. His odds of +2200 are definitely worth considering.
The Best Longshot to Win at Talladega
Jamie McMurray at +5000 is an excellent choice for the best longshot driver to have a realistic shot at winning the 1000Bulbs.com 500 on Sunday. In 32 career starts at Talladega, McMurray has 2 wins, 8 Top 5’s, 9 Top 10’s and an average finish of 20.3. Jamie has 2 Top 4 finishes in the last 5 Talladega races. Despite not being in the playoffs, McMurray scored a 2nd place finish at Charlotte two weeks ago. Over the last 6 races, Jamie has 3 Top 9 finishes. I believe McMurray could be a darkhorse threat to stealing the checkered flag on Sunday. His +5000 betting odds makes him a decent flier this weekend.
NASCAR Prop Bet: Driver Matchups
The following NASCAR prop bet places drivers in a head to head matchup. It’s up to you to decide which driver will finish with the best race result on Sunday. I really like the following matchups, according to 5Dimes:
Alex Bowman (-115) vs Martin Truex Jr. (-115)
As mentioned above, only Bowman has a worse average finish (27.3) than Truex (21.3) among the remaining postseason drivers. In 6 career starts, he has 3 DNFs at Talladega. Bowman was able to score an 8th place finish in the spring race at this track, but with the pressure of the playoffs mounting, I don’t see him cracking the Top 10 or Top 15. I do feel that Truex is going shake off the recent streak of bad luck at the track and I see him scoring at least a Top 10 finish. Take Truex, the reigning Cup champ to win this head-to-head matchup.
Kyle Larson (-115) vs Paul Menard (-115)
Menard has a better average finish of 19.3 than Larson at 21.3, but Kyle is desperate for a strong finish this weekend at Talladega due to his current position of 11th in the standings. Larson needs to get above the cutoff line, which is 8th or better, in order to advance into the 3rd Round. Larson crashed in the spring race here, as did Menard. Over the last 4 races, they both have similar finishes. With that said, you have to go with Larson and his playoff desperation to win this head-to-head matchup.
Brad Keselowski (-135) vs Chase Elliott (+105)
Keselowski is the overall favorite, but that doesn’t mean Elliott won’t run well this weekend. In 5 career starts at Talladega, Elliott has 2 Top 5’s, 2 Top 10’s, and the best average finish of playoff drivers at 13.2. However, he also has 2 DNFs in 5 races. I believe Elliott is going to be a contender this weekend as he had a lot of momentum and no pressure on him after winning last weekend at Dover. However, you can’t ignore Keselowski’s dominance at Talladega. I believe Brad will finish higher than Chase this weekend, but not by much.
1000Bulbs.com 500 Checkered Flag
Talladega is always an exciting race. Fans and drivers know that the big crash will come late in the race, so it keeps NASCAR fans glued to the action all race long. This weekend, won’t be any different. The only question is – which playoff drivers will get caught up in “the big one?”
I believe Keselowski and Logano are going run well this weekend and get into the Top 5. Chase Elliott and Kevin Harvick will also crack the Top 5 on Sunday. One driver that I didn’t discuss already is Clint Bowyer who currently sits in 10th place, but has 2 career wins at this track and an average finish of 16.1. In 25 Talladega starts, Bowyer has 6 Top 5’s and 12 Top 10’s. That’s nearly half of his starts finishing inside the Top 10. I believe Bowyer will be one of those drivers inside the Top 5 this weekend that sneaks up on everyone.
Rounding out the Top 10 will be Martin Truex Jr., Kurt Busch, Kyle Larson, Denny Hamlin and Ricky Stenhouse Jr. Don’t be surprised if Stenhouse wins this race as he has the best average finish at Talladega among all active drivers with 11.3.
I think this race comes down to luck as much as it does skill. With that said, anyone in the Top 10 could win this race. However, taking luck out of the equation, you have to like Keselowski, Logano, Elliott, Harvick and Bowyer this weekend.
I don’t believe Logano will sweep Talladega this year and I don’t see Elliott winning two straight playoff races. Bowyer has not run well in the playoffs over the first 4 races except for his 3rd place at Charlotte. So, I think this race comes down to Keselowski and Harvick. The smart money is on Keselowski, but I think Harvick is due for a win and this will be the weekend.
My Top 5 Drivers
- Brad Keselowski
- Joey Logano
- Chase Elliott
- Clint Bowyer
- Kevin Harvick
1000Bulbs.com 500 Betting Recap
- Winner: Kevin Harvick (+1200)
- Betting Value: Kevin Harvick (+1200) and Martin Truex Jr. (+2200)
- Longshot: Jamie McMurray (+5000)
- Martin Truex Jr. (-115) over Bowman
- Kyle Larson (-115) over Menard
- Brad Keselowski (-135) over Elliott
Talladega Fun Facts
The following Talladega fun facts are compiled from a variety of NASCAR resources:
- The first race was in 1969 and won by Richard Brickhouse.
- There have been 98 total races at Talladega so far.
- Dale Earnhardt has the most all-time wins with 10.
- Earnhardt Sr. also has the most Top 5’s at 23, the most Top 10’s at 27, and the most laps led at 1,377.
- Bill Elliott has the most poles with 8.
- Ricky Rudd has the most all-time starts at Talladega without a win at 59.
- Terry Labonte and Dave Marcis have the most career starts at 61.
- 13 drivers have won this race from the pole.
- In 55% of the races (54 out of 98), a driver within the Top 5 has won the race.
- 111 different drivers have finished within the Top 5.
- In 71% of the races (70 out of 98), a driver within the Top 10 has won the race.
- 189 different drivers have finished in the Top 10.
- No driver that has won at Talladega in the playoffs, has gone on to win the NASCAR championship.
- Pete Hamilton holds the records for most laps led with 153. He also holds the record for the best average finish at 5.6.
- The most lead changes in a Talladega race was 88 in 2010 and then in 2011.
- The most caution flags in a race was 11 back in 2004 and then again in 2017.
- Childress and Hendrick are tied with the most owner wins at 12.
- Chevrolet has the most manufacturer wins at 40.
- Matt Kenseth leads all active drivers with races (36), laps (6,509) and laps led (524).
- 191 different drivers have led at least 1 lap at Talladega.
- The #2 spot has the most wins at Talladega with 20.
- Buddy Baker and Tony Stewart hold the record for most 2nd place finishes with 6. Harvick and Jimmie Johnson lead active drivers with 3 runner ups.
- 13 of the 98 Talladega races have gone into OT.
- Danica Patrick, Janet Guthrie and Matty Moise are the only female drivers to have competed in a Talladega MECS race.