Drivers to watch in Sunday’s Cup race at Talladega


NASCAR teams head to Talladega Superspeedway for a Sunday afternoon race (3 p.m. ET on Fox).

This is the first trip to Talladega this season and the fifth race at the 2.66-mile track of the Next Gen era. The last seven Talladega races have featured seven different winners.

Chevrolet has won three of these races. Ford and Toyota have both won twice. Toyota has not won at Talladega in the Next Gen car.

Two former Cup champions are outside a playoff spot a third of the way through the regular season.

Here is a look at the drivers to keep an eye on during Sunday’s race.

FRONTRUNNERS

Ryan Blaney

Points position: 7th

Best finish this season: 2nd (Atlanta I)

2024 stats: Nine starts with four top-10 finishes and four top fives. An average finish of 13.9 with 74 laps led. Blaney’s best finish of the season is on a drafting track.

Past at Talladega: Nineteen starts with eight top-10 finishes, six top fives and three wins. Blaney’s last three finishes at Talladega are second, second and first.

Chase Elliott

Points position: 4th

Best finish this season: 1st (Texas)

2024 stats: Nine starts with four top-10 finishes, three top fives and one win. An average finish of 10.3 with 126 laps led. Elliott has finished fifth, third and first in the last three races.

Past at Talladega: Sixteen starts with eight top-10 finishes, five top fives and two wins. Elliott won the 2022 playoff race at Talladega.

Chase Elliott wasn’t the only who left the track feeling good Sunday.

William Byron

Points position: 5th

Best finish this season: 1st (Daytona 500, Circuit of the Americas, Martinsville I)

2024 stats: Nine starts with six top-10 finishes, four top fives and three wins. Byron’s first win of the season was at a drafting track.

Past at Talladega: Twelve starts with four top-10 finishes and three top fives. Byron finished seventh and second in the last two Talladega races.

Bubba Wallace

Points position: 9th

Best finish this season: 4th (Martinsville I)

2024 stats: Nine starts with four top-10 finishes and three top fives. An average finish of 14.3 with 28 laps led. Wallace finished fifth at Daytona and Atlanta.

Past at Talladega: Twelve starts with one top-10 finish, one top five and one win. Ninety-one laps led at Talladega.

William Byron scored his second consecutive top-three finish at Texas.

QUESTIONS TO ANSWER

Kyle Larson

Points position: 1st

Best finish this season: 1st (Las Vegas I)

2024 stats: Nine starts with four top-10 finishes, four top fives and one win. Larson has won the pole for the last three races. An average finish of 11.8 with 531 laps led.

Past at Talladega: Eighteen starts with three top-10 finishes and one top five. Larson’s best finish at Talladega in a Next Gen car is fourth in the 2022 spring race. Larson has failed to finish five of the last eight races at drafting tracks (Atlanta, Daytona and Talladega).

Brad Keselowski

Points position: 17th

Best finish this season: 2nd (Texas)

2024 stats: Nine starts with four top-10 finishes and three top fives. An average finish of 17.0 with six laps led. Finished 33rd at Daytona and Atlanta this season.

Past at Talladega: Thirty starts with 14 top-10 finishes, 10 top fives and six wins. Keselowski’s last Talladega win was in 2021. He has one top-five finish at Talladega in the Next Gen era. Keselowski’s other finishes are 23rd, 24th and 32nd.

Tyler Reddick

Points position: 8th

Best finish this season: 2nd (Las Vegas I)

2024 stats: Nine starts with six top-10 finishes and three top fives. An average finish of 14.1 with 111 laps led. Reddick finished 29th and 30th at Daytona and Atlanta.

Past at Talladega: Eight top-10 finishes with two top fives. Reddick’s finishes at Talladega in the Next Gen era are 39th, 28th, 16th and 16th.

Ty Gibbs

Points position: 6th

Best finish this season: 3rd (Phoenix I, Circuit of the Americas)

2024 stats: Nine starts with five top-10 finishes and three top fives. An average finish of 10.6 with 200 laps led.

Past at Talladega: Three starts with three DNFs.



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