It seems like every time we go to a superspeedway that we have to talk about the potential for fluke winners. In reality though, the wiser bets for Talladega are on the usual suspects that normally run up front instead of a longshot.
Since 1995, we’ve really only seen what you could consider six “fluke” winners at the Talladega Superspeedway. That’s six in the last 49 races on the 2.66-mile high banked oval. Even out of those six, a few aren’t all that flukish after all.
TALLADEGA, AL – APRIL 28: Chase Elliott, driver of the #9 Mountain Dew/Little Caesar’s Chevrolet, and Alex Bowman, driver of the #88 Nationwide Chevrolet, race during the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series GEICO 500 at Talladega Superspeedway on April 28, 2019 in Talladega, Alabama. (Photo by Sean Gardner/Getty Images)
Bobby Hamilton’s win back in was. Brian Vickers’ win in 2006 would fall under that category as well. Brad Keselowski’s win in 2009 would too but he’d later become one of the greats on superspeedway’s, so looking back on it, it’s not as much as a fluke now as it was then. David Ragan’s win in 2013 would be one, but that’s about it. You could throw Ricky Stenhouse Jr’s win in 2017 as one but he’d win later in Daytona that season too. Same for Aric Almirola’s last year as both of his wins have come on superspeedway’s.
Just six times since 1995 has a driver earned their first or second career wins at Talladega.
What about Daytona? It’s the opposite actually.
They’ve had more fluke winners than Talladega in recent years. Just look at their recent winners in fact.
Justin Haley (1st career win) in July’s Coke Zero Sugar 400. Erik Jones (1st career win) in last year’s Coke Zero Sugar 400. Austin Dillon (2nd career win) in the 2018 Daytona 500. Ricky Stenhouse Jr. (2nd career win) earned the 2017 Coke Zero Sugar 400 win. That’s four of the last five points paying Cup Series race winners at Daytona earning either their first or second career victory. Kurt Busch was kind of a fluke for the 2017 Daytona 500 race as that was his first career points paying restrictor plate victory.
Aric Almirola’s 2014 Coke Zero Sugar 400 triumph was his first career Cup win. Trevor Bayne and David Ragan each won their first career Cup races at Daytona in 2011.
The fluke winners come at Daytona for whatever reason, but that hasn’t been the case for Talladega.
So, if you’re looking for a wise wager on Sunday’s race, I’d throw money the way of the favorites.