NASCAR returns to Talladega for the YellaWood 500, as the playoffs race for the Round of 8 – The Eckel 4 make their picks
YellaWood 500, Talladega Super Speedway, 2 p.m. TV: NBC
If you’re a trend bettor, Sunday’s YellaWood 500 at Talladega is the race for you.
Fords have won the last six times and seven of the last eight times in this race.
That’s good news for the likes of Kevin Harvick (just what he needs, right?), Brad Keselowski, Joey Logano, Aric Almirola and Clint Bowyer of the drivers alive in the Round of 12.
Another trend? Team Penske has won five of the last six of these races. So that carries over double for Keselowski and Logano.
As far as the playoffs go, Kurt Busch, with last week’s upset win in Vegas, is in the Round of 8. Harvick (+61) and Denny Hamlin (+58) have all but clinched as well. Alex Bowman currently sits in eighth place, nine points ahead of Kyle Busch. Bowyer (-20), Almirola (-27) and Austin Dillon (-32) need a big day Sunday and again next week in Charlotte.
Here’s how The Eckel 4, which as always includes Scott “Tobacco Road’’ Baker, Mike “Left Turn’’ Sweeney and Barry “Dr. NASCAR’’ Davis sees Sunday’s race.
Chase Elliott (9-1): Both “Tobacco Road’’ and the Doc bucked the trends and went with Elliott. who has a win and three top-8 finishes in his last five races at ‘Dega.
Aric Almirola (15-1): I’m all in on Almirola this week. He has eight straight top 10 finishes and five top-5 finishes in his last seven races here. He won this race in 2018; finished fourth last year and fifth in 2017. “Left Turn’’ is also on board.
Joey Logano (10-1): Logano was No. 1 for “Left Turn’’ and why not? He fits the trends; has won three times here and could be primed for a trip to Victory Lane.
Denny Hamlin (9-1): “Tobacco Road’’ shocked the NASCAR world by not picking Kyle Busch (you know what that means, right?) and went with the driver on the pole. TR has always liked the pole.
Brad Keselowski (9-1): Three of The Four mentioned Keselowski, but none of them put him on top. He fits the trends and has also won five times here, including 2017. He’s almost certain to be in the mix.
Longshot Play: Austin Dillon (28-1)