The NASCAR Cup Series heads to The Heart of Dixie this weekend for the second superspeedway race of the 2021 season. Sunday afternoon’s Geico 500 will mark the first of two visits that NASCAR will pay to Talladega Superspeedway this season. Talladega is on the record for hosting the fastest Cup Series race ever. If history and NASCAR betting trends are any indications, there promises to be plenty more thrilling high-speed action this weekend. Trust me, you won’t want to miss it!
NASCAR Betting Trends for the Geico 500
With a length of 2.66 miles, ‘Dega is the longest oval track on the circuit. It is also the widest with 48 feet separating the wall from the base. Add a 12-foot wide apron as a buffer and it’s not a rarity to see the cars run three- or even four-wide for portions races. While the tapered engine spacer package that the teams are required to use for superspeedway races certainly evens the playing field, racing at Talladega is far from a “crapshoot”. There is a science to it, and some drivers have proven far better at it than others.
The following sections break down several different types of trends specific to the Geico 500 race. These trends can be useful when making NASCAR betting picks on this weekend’s race.
NASCAR Betting Driver Trends
NASCAR legend and current Fox Sports broadcaster Jeff Gordon won the Geico 500 four times during his incredible career. That mark stands alone as the most victories by any one driver in this race. Among active drivers, only Brad Keselowski has multiple Geico 500 wins. The most recent of his three victories came in 2016.
Looking at the last ten races at Talladega Superspeedway, including both the Geico 500 and the fall playoff race, three drivers have recorded multiple victories in that span. It just so happens that all three run for Team Penske. Keselowski is joined by Joey Logano and Ryan Blaney with two wins apiece in the last ten races at the track. Blaney even managed to win back-to-back Talladega races, taking the fall of 2019 and spring 2020 events.
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Over that same span of the ten most recent races, Aric Almirola leads all NASCAR Cup Series drivers with an average finish of 10.5. This weekend’s NASCAR betting favorite, Denny Hamlin, is not far behind at 11.3 while Joey Logano sits at 12.6. Hamlin won the most recent Talladega showcase last fall and has finished in the top-5 in each of the last three races. We also see the two JTG Daugherty drivers rank well in average finish. Although he has only run the last four races, Ryan Preece has an average finish of 11.5. Veteran Ricky Stenhouse Jr. checks in at 13.0. He also has a win and five top-5 finishes in the last ten Talladega races.
NASCAR Betting Team Trends
When it comes to all-time wins in the Geico 500, Hendrick Motorsports leads the way with eight. The most recent came courtesy of Chase Elliott in 2019. In terms of recent success, Team Penske drivers have combined to win three of the last five editions of the race. Those three wins are part of four total that put Team Penske in a four-way tie for second. Among those teams they are tied with is Wood Brothers Racing, the main Team Penske affiliate. The Wood Brothers won four straight runnings of the Geico 500 from 1971-74.
NASCAR Betting Manufacturer Trends
Chevrolet holds the lead in total victories among manufacturers. Chevys have found victory lane 20 times in the Geico 500. Ford is a fairly distant runner-up, entering Sunday’s race with 14 prior wins. However, Ford cars have managed to win 10 of the last 13 races at Talladega Superspeedway.
Talladega Superspeedway Driver Statistics
The tables below contain NASCAR betting driver statistics specific to recent races at Talladega Superspeedway.
Average Finish at Talladega Superspeedway
Note: Data taken from the ten most recent Talladega races and includes only current full-time Cup Series drivers
|Rank||Driver||Starts||Best Finish||Average Finish|
|3||Martin Truex Jr.||10||2||7.0|
|12||Ricky Stenhouse Jr.||9||10||17.1|
Driver Rating at Talladega
Note: Ratings reflect the six most recent Talladega races and include only current full-time Cup Series drivers
|Rank||Driver||Starts||Car Number||Average Driver Rating|
|3||Martin Truex Jr.||4||19||113.3|
|12||Ricky Stenhouse Jr.||4||47||80.6|
Trends Fail to Predict “The Big One”
Of course, NASCAR betting trends are all fine and good and certainly help both fans and bettors alike to get a gauge on how things may play out on race day. But when it comes to the Geico 500, there’s one factor that trends simply cannot predict. That is “The Big One”, the patented name for the inevitable big wreck that occurs whenever NASCAR races at a superspeedway.
Back at February’s Daytona 500, fans didn’t even need to wait through the multi-hour weather delay to see “The Big One” take place. A massive crash on Lap 14 knocked a whole host of cars out of the race on the spot. Just like Daytona, Talladega Superspeedway has produced many breath-taking crashes over the years. The nature of pack racing that results from the tapered engine spacer package (formally restrictor plates) makes these wrecks unavoidable over the course of 500 miles.
When will “The Big One” occur during Sunday’s Geico 500? Who will be caught up in the carnage? How will this impact the NASCAR betting picks on the race? There’s really no way to tell in advance. That said, drivers and teams with positive trends coming in have proven that they are skilled superspeedway races, particularly at Talladega. It takes avoiding “The Big One” to win, finish top-5, top-10, or even average a respectable finish. Be sure to consider all of the numbers when handicapping this weekend’s race.