From the short tracks of Bristol and Martinsville, NASCAR heads back to big racing, with a stop at the Talladega Superspeedway for the Geico 500.
We go from the half-mile track at Martinsville, and an average speed win of 75 MPH, to the 2.66 miles track at Talladega, where last October, the winning average speed was 153.5 MPH.
It’s a different kind of racing, and the variety from week to week is what tests these drivers and pushes them to the limit.
Favorites to Win Geico 500
- Joey Logano (+1000)
- Ryan Blaney (+1200)
- Chase Elliott (+1400)
- Denny Hamlin (+1400)
- Brad Keselowski (+1400)
- William Byron (+1600)
- Ross Chastain (+1600)
- Kyle Busch (+1800)
- Kyle Larson (+1800)
- Christopher Bell (+1800)
- Bubba Wallace (+1800)
Last week Joey Logano fell off the lead lap twice but still battled back for a second-place finish. He said after the race, “There are some days that a second-place finish leaves you angry. This is not one of those days.”
Logano is the favorite this week on a track that was unkind to him in 2022, with a 32nd-place finish in April and a 27th-place finish in October. He does, however, have three career wins at Talladega.
Ryan Blaney doesn’t yet have a win this season, but four times he has finished in the top 10. Traditionally he has raced well on superspeedways, with an eighth-place finish at Daytona and a fourth-place finish there in 2022. He was the runner-up at Talladega last October, and he won on this track in 2019 and 2020.
That race in Talladega last October was won by Chase Elliott, who’s making just his second start since returning from a broken leg. In his return last week at Martinsville, he finished in 10th place. He was the runner-up in California in the race before he got injured.
Best Geico 500 Value Bets
The betting curve for this race is pretty flat, with no favorites going for less than +1000. That leaves good value at the back end, like +2800 for Erik Jones. He’s finished in the top 10 in five of the last six races at Talladega and has led for 68 laps in those five.
Kevin Harvick is a bit of an afterthought when racing at Talladega. He hasn’t won here since 2010. But at +2800, and with three top-10 finishes in his last four races here, including a fourth-place finish in 2021, he’s worth a look at that number.
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