NASCAR Playoffs Sunday: 12 are at Talladega for the Yella Wood 500 – The Eckel 4 like Ryan Blaney, Joey Logano
Yella Wood 500, Talladega, 2 p.m. TV: NBC
Here’s a rhetorical question for you. Do you have to have a win at Talladega to win at Talladega?
As NASCAR heads to one of its most famous tracks Sunday for the Yella Wood 500, only six of the drivers remaining in the Round of 12 playoffs have ever won at Talladega.
Of those six — Kyle Busch, Ryan Blaney, Chase Elliott, Joey Logano, Brad Keselowski and Kevin Harvick — Elliott, Busch and Harvick have just one win in a combined 84 races.
It’s not an easy place to win, unless you’re Keselowski who has six wins, eight top fives and 12 top 10s in 25 starts. Logano has three wins to go with eight top fives and 10 top 10s in the same 25 starts.
And then there’s this: The Penske team has won five of the last seven races at Talladega and Ford has won 10 of the past 12. Logano and Keselowski are both with team Penske in Fords.
So is it a two-man race this Sunday with a lot on the line? That’;s doubtful. Although The Eckel 4, which as always includes Scott “Tobacco Road’’ Baker, Mike “Left Turn’’ Sweeney and Barry “Dr. NASCAR’’ Davis like the chances of both Logano and Keselowski.
Here are this week’s selections.
Ryan Blaney (10-1): The third member of Team Penske drew the favor of “The 4’’. Three of “The 4’’ mentioned him prominently and “Tobacco Road’’ has him on top. In just 14 races at ‘Dega, Blaney has won twice and has five top 10 finishes.
Joey Logano (9-1): Two of “The Four’’ like Logano with “Left Turn’’ singing his praises the loudest. You know one thing for sure, he’s going to be going all out.
Brad Keselowski (12-1): You can’t leave out a guy with twice as many wins as anyone else at the track and the best average finish at 15.4. You just can’t.
Chase Elliott (10-1): The Dr. bucked the trend with his pick of Elliott from the Hendricks team in a Chevy. And he wasn’t alone. Last year’s Cup Champion has just 11 career races here, but he has a win, four top fives and five top 10s to go with an average finish of 15.6.
Longshot Play: Martin Truex Jr. (20-1): The New Jersey native is winless in 33 Talladega starts, which explain the odds. But you won’t see odds like this on him again.