NASCAR Alabama 500
The second round of the 2018 NASCAR Cup Series Playoffs continues Sunday, Oct. 14 with the Alabama 500 at Talladega Superspeedway, which is about 100 miles west of Atlanta. The event will be the fourth and final restrictor-plate race of the year for the series. Team Penske has been in victory lane the last two Cup Series races at Talladega as Joey Logano won there in April and Brad Keselowski last November.
There are a pair of races and betting opportunities remaining in the Round of 12 of the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series. The top eight drivers after the next two races move to the next level and Aric Almirola, Clint Bowyer, Kyle Larson and Alex Bowman are the bottom four after the first playoff race.
Chase Elliott pulled away in overtime and earned an automatic berth into the next round with a win last weekend at Dover International Speedway.
Kevin Harvick leads the standings after 30 races this season. He is just five points ahead of Kyle Busch who, along with Harvick, has won seven events this year. Martin Truex Jr. (32 points behind), Logano (-37), Elliott (-45), Brad Keselowski (-47), Kyle Busch (-47) and Ryan Blaney (-58) round out the Top 8.
Oddsmakers have set Keselowski (+650) as the favorite (NASCAR betting lines provided by TopBet). Logano is the second pick at +750, while Elliott, Harvick, Busch and Denny Hamlin are next at +1000.
Top Contenders at Talladega
- 01#4 Kevin Harvick (+1000)
- 02#2 Brad Keselowski (+650)
- 03#22 Joey Logano (+750)
- 04#9 Chase Elliott (+1000)
- 05#10 Aric Almirola (+1400)
#4 Kevin Harvick (+1000)
The points leader comes into this race off a sixth-place finish at Dover. He has made 35 starts here at Talladega, so his experience will come in handy. He has won once in Alabama (2010) along with 15 Top 10 finishes.
#2 Brad Keselowski (+650)
Last year, Keselowski powered past Ryan Newman on the final lap to win the Alabama 500 — his fifth victory at Talladega. He has led the most laps in the last five races at the superspeedway.
#22 Joey Logano (+750)
Keselowski and Logano have combined to win eight times at Talladega, including five of the past six checkered flags. Logano, who is a three-time winner here, has finished in the Top 5 in three of his last four starts at this track.
#9 Chase Elliott (+1000)
Don’t look now, but here comes Chase Elliott. The 22-year-old won his second career race last weekend in Dover, which guaranteed him a spot in the next round. He has two career Top 5 finishes at Talladega.
#10 Aric Almirola (+1400)
Almirola was in position for his first win in 148 races, but a call for four tires and a wreck late in the race spoiled his day at Dover. He needs a big performance here to rally in the playoff standings.
Prediction — Keselowski (+650). If the veteran driver had to pick a favorite track, this would be it. A playoff victory couldn’t come at a better time either.
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