WATCH: NASCAR Price Check – 1000Bulbs.com 500


Rankings below are based on a mixture of expected output and DraftKings’ NASCAR salaries for Sunday’s 1000Bulbs.com 500 at Talladega Superspeedway. The ordering is not based on the highest projected fantasy totals, but rather by value of each driver.

(fppk = average fantasy points per $1,000 of salary.)

1. Joey Logano ($9,400) – If you have no life like me, and you broke down the Talladega spring race on YouTube, then you know Logano should have won the spring race. With just a handful of laps left, Logano had the lead, but he made an ill-advised block on Kurt Busch that allowed a freight train of cars to pass him on the low line. (4.4 fppk)

2. Chase Elliott ($10,100) – He won the spring Talladega race and led the most laps. For years, Elliott has qualified upfront at the plate tracks, but his fast car never raced all that well. NASCAR changed the plate package in the spring and it seems to suit Elliott. (4.3 fppk)

3. Aric Almirola ($7,600) – Some drivers can’t seem to finish plate races, and some drivers can’t seem to wreck at plate races. Almirola has six straight top-10 finishes at Talladega. (3.4 fppk)

4. Alex Bowman ($8,400) – His teammate won the spring Talladega race, and Bowman finished right behind him. Bowman does not have to be aggressive to advance to the next round of the playoffs, but a passive approach can be just as dangerous at a plate track. (4.6 fppk)

5. Brad Keselowski ($9,600) – Dale Jr. is widely considered one of the best plate racers of all time, but even he had spells where he could not finish a plate race. Keselowski is in one of those funks. He has more wins than any other active driver at Talladega, but he’s wrecked in eight of the past 12 plate races. (4.4 fppk)


6. Denny Hamlin ($10,300) – The 2019 Daytona 500 winner wrecked at Talladega in the spring and Daytona in the summer. That’s plate racing. Hamlin has the fourth most plate track wins among active drivers. (4.8 fppk)

7. Kurt Busch ($8,800) – A lightning strike prematurely ended the Daytona summer race. Kurt Busch gave away the lead by hitting pit road, but he expected to get the lead right back when the race resumed. The race never resumed. (3.9 fppk)

8. Kyle Larson ($9,800) – It’s a good thing Larson won and advanced to the next round of the playoffs because he hates Talladega. He has just two top-10 finishes in his career at Talladega, and he was involved in an airborne wreck at Talladega in the spring. (4.3 fppk)

9. Kevin Harvick ($10,500) – The SHR Fords shifted body types from the ancient Ford Fusion model to the Mustang this year. The old body was an aero disadvantage at all tracks except the plate tracks. In the Mustang, the SHR cars have been unable to repeat their Talladega dominance of 2018. (4.4 fppk)

10. Clint Bowyer ($9,200) – Several years ago, Bowyer was considered one the best plate racers in NASCAR. Today, that’s a questionable take. Over the past two seasons, his average finish at Talladega and Daytona is 22nd. (3.2 fppk)


11. Martin Truex, Jr. ($10,700) – Talladega is a plate race and anything can happen except for Truex having a good day. He’s finished 20th or worse in each of the past six races at Talladega. (5.2 fppk)

12. Kyle Busch ($10,900) – Normally, the plate races hurt Kyle Busch. He’s a dominant force at every other track type, but Talladega levels the playing field. This time it’s a little different. Busch has not won since May. Talladega could be a shot in the arm for Rowdy. (5.5 fppk)

13. William Byron ($8,600) – Forget everything you know about the 2019 season. All of your hard work and research can go in the trash. Has Byron turned the corner? It doesn’t matter. Will he be lucky enough to avoid the big one? There’s no way of knowing. (4.4 fppk)

14. Ryan Newman ($7,300) – Over the past three years, Newman has been one of the best plate racers in NASCAR. He has not won, but he rarely wrecks. In seven of those 11 plate races, Newman has earned a top-10 finish. (4.8 fppk)

15. Erik Jones ($8,100) – He won at Daytona in the summer of 2018 and finished third at Daytona in the 2019 February race. Jones has the skill, but he no longer has the support. At Daytona, the Hendrick Chevys worked with the JGR Toyotas. That alliance has ended, and the few Toyotas in the field are alone on an island. (3.9 fppk)


16. Jimmie Johnson ($8,200) – The Jimmie Johnson haters have had it too good for too long. Sure, they were miserable during his run of seven championships, but the past two and a half years have been ugly for Johnson. The hall of famer deserves one more win, and this is the best place for it to happen. (3.5 fppk)

17. Austin Dillon ($7,100) – This has been the worst season of Dillon’s career. The one bright spot is the Daytona summer race. With the help of a cavalcade of Chevys, Dillon led 46 laps. Unfortunately, even the bright spot is dim because Dillon wrecked at Daytona. (2.9 fppk)

18. Ryan Blaney ($9,000) – His back is against the wall. If other playoff drivers wreck at Talladega, which is possible, then Blaney can keep his playoff hopes alive with a solid finish. If they do not wreck, then Blaney needs to win this weekend in order to advance. (4.0 fppk)

19. Ricky Stenhouse, Jr. ($7,500) – His plate racing reputation precedes him. Some might say he is a great plate racer with two wins to prove it. Others will says he’s reckless, aggressive and stupid. Stenhouse doesn’t have a ride next year, and he needs to impress teams and sponsors. We haven’t even begun to see reckless, aggressive and stupid. (2.7 fppk)

20. Ryan Preece ($6,100) – Why not? The sample size is small, but in three plate races, Preece has a third-place and an eighth-place finish. The JTG Daughtery cars are known for their patient approach at plate tracks. Preece will deploy the customary survival mode technique at Talladega. (3.2 fppk)


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