The NASCAR Cup Series seasons continues on this weekend, as we head from the predictable Richmond Raceway last week to the unpredictable Talladega Superspeedway and the GEICO 500. We get four superspeedway races each season–two at Daytona, two at Talladega–and when you hear people say “pull out the dart board” for these races, they’re not kidding. We know who should be strong here on Sunday, but one slip up and half of the field can be wiped out in “The Big One” wreck. The races here at Talladega are ones where pretty much anyone in the field can end up with a good finish, as long as they can survive to the end.

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How the algorithm works: There are quite a few statistics that go into the Power Index formula, including recent performance both overall and at this week’s track specifically, similar track performance, projected strength of the car, practice speeds (when applicable), starting position, and a few other variables.

Before We Get To The Algorithm Results…Thoughts On A Couple Drivers

Michael McDowell celebrates in victory lane after winning the 2021 Daytona 500
Photo Credit: Jared C. Tilton/Getty Images

Martin Truex, Jr. – You might be surprised by Martin Truex, Jr.’s 20th-place ranking by the algorithm this weekend. Don’t be. Yeah, the guy has two wins this year, is a previous Cup Series Champion, and can fight for the win at most race tracks, but he’s just not good at the superspeedways. The adage, “a blind squirrel finds a nut every once in a while,” is true with Truex; yes, he has a few good finishes on superspeedways–three top 5s in the last eleven at Daytona–but over the last 17 races at this track type, MTJ has finished 20th or worse in 14 of those events, including nine straight races (and counting) here at Talladega.

Michael McDowell – This year’s Daytona 500 Champion will no doubt get some attention in the NASCAR Fantasy world this weekend, but just a word of warning: Daytona and Talladega are different racetracks, and being strong at one doesn’t necessarily translate into being good at the other. At Daytona, for example, it probably wasn’t extremely surprising that McDowell was in position to win for anyone that looked into how he has raced there recently (top 15s in ten of his last eleven starts), but here at Talladega, McDowell hasn’t quite “cracked the code.” He has a 5th-place finish to his credit here in 2019, but six of his last eight Talladega starts have ended with him in 30th or worse.

Talladega GEICO 500 Algorithm Predicted Finishing Order

1.Logano, Joey32.14
2.Hamlin, Denny31.96
3.Blaney, Ryan30.77
4.Bowman, Alex25.45
5.Busch, Kyle25.09
6.Keselowski, Brad24.86
7.Byron, William21.19
8.Elliott, Chase20.36
9.Busch, Kurt18.31
10.Buscher, Chris18.03
11.Newman, Ryan16.60
12.Almirola, Aric15.05
13.Stenhouse, Jr., Ricky13.88
14.Dillon, Austin13.69
15.Harvick, Kevin13.50
16.Larson, Kyle12.08
17.DiBenedetto, Matt10.89
18.Bell, Christopher07.09
19.Jones, Erik02.36
20.Truex, Jr., Martin01.63
21.Reddick, Tyler-01.80
22.Preece, Ryan-02.99
23.McDowell, Michael-07.67
24.Burton, Harrison-08.45
25.Haley, Justin-10.24
26.Suarez, Daniel-10.84
27.Wallace, Bubba-12.41
28.Custer, Cole-14.31
29.Grala, Kaz-14.67
30.LaJoie, Corey-14.98
31.Chastain, Ross-17.12
32.Alfredo, Anthony-19.22
33.Briscoe, Chase-20.02
34.Yeley, J.J.-27.81
35.McLeod, BJ-28.79
36.Ware, Cody-29.50
37.Bilicki, Josh-29.62
38.Gase, Joey-30.81
39.Houff, Quin-32.30
40.Hill, Timmy-33.96
As someone who has always been obsessed with numbers, Fantasy NASCAR has been the perfect fit with me. I pride myself on the quality of my analysis for each race, and am glad that I have been able to help others along the way. I've been a serious Fantasy NASCAR player for over 10 years now, and I'm just getting started.