In this Oct. 13, 2019 file photo, the No. 3 car of the late NASCAR driver Dale Earnhardt Sr., driven by Richard Childress, takes a lap before a NASCAR Cup Series auto race at Talladega Superspeedway in Talladega, Ala. NASCAR's return to racing next shifts to Talladega Superspeedway in Alabama, with a new rules package altered after Ryan Newman's frightful crash in the season-opening Daytona 500.
In this Oct. 13, 2019 file photo, the No. 3 car of the late NASCAR driver Dale Earnhardt Sr., driven by Richard Childress, takes a lap before a NASCAR Cup Series auto race at Talladega Superspeedway in Talladega, Ala. NASCAR's return to racing next shifts to Talladega Superspeedway in Alabama, with a new rules package altered after Ryan Newman's frightful crash in the season-opening Daytona 500.|Butch Dill | Associated Press
NASCAR

NASCAR Sunday: Eckel and friends pick the Geico 500 at Talladega Super Speedway

The Geico 500 takes place Sunday at 3 p.m. ET

Mark Eckel

NASCAR heads to one of its more famous and more difficult tracks Sunday in Talladega for the Geico 500.

When trying to pick a winner here, as the Eckel 3 will attempt later in this story, there is a lot to consider.

Ford Has a Better Idea: Start with picking a Ford, which has won eight of the last nine Cup Series races at Talladega. Chevy broke the steak of eight straight Ford wins when Chase Elliot won here last year. A Toyota has not won at Talladega since 2014 when Denny Hamlin made it to Victory Lane.

No Repeat: Don’t expect Elliot to win again this year. The last driver to repeat in this race was Jeff Gordon in 2005. For that matter the last seven years have seen seven different winners. In order they were David Ragan (2013), Denny Hamlin (2014), Dale Earnhardt Jr. (2015), Brad Keselowski (2016), Ricky Stenhouse Jr. (2017), Joey Logano (2018) and Elliott (2019).

What to make of B.K.: Keselowski has more wins (5) at Talladega than any active driver and has won this race three times. However, his recent run at Superspeedways — Talladega and Daytona — has not been good. In his last nine Superspeedway races he’s been outside the top 10 and didn’t finish six of those nine races.

And MTJ?: Regular readers of this space know that Martin Truex Jr. is one of our favorites. Truex has also struggled at Superspeedways. He’s 0-for-60 in his career at Talladega and Daytona with just four finishes in the top 5. Truex is on the pole Sunday, so maybe his luck is about to change.

Here are the selections of The Eckel 3, which as always include Scot “Tobacco Road’’ Baker and Mike “Left Turn’’ Sweeney. Last week’s win by Denny Hamlin made it seven winners in 12 races this season.

Joey Logano (8-1): Two of the three experts (I’m not sure “Tobacco Road’’ would pick Logano in a one-man race) put him on top and with good reason. Logano has three wins here, including 2018, came in fourth last year and has eight top 5 finishes.

Kyle Busch (12-1): TR’s theory is Busch has to win sooner, or later this year and wants to make sure he picks him when he does. At these odds it’s not a bad pick.

Kevin Harvick (14-1): Harvick hasn’t won here since 2010, but when you can get the overall points leader at double-digit odds it’s hard to say no.

Denny Hamlin (10-1): Hamlin has the most wins this season, with three, and is tied for top 5 finishes with six.

Marin Truex Jr. (16-1): “Left Turn’’ is bucking the trend and looking for a good effort from the Jersey Boy.

Longshot Play: Aric Amirola (20-1): He has seven straight top 10 finishes here, including a win in the fall of 2018.

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