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Alabama 500 Predictions

Race: Alabama 500 Race Preview and Picks to Win
Date: Sunday October 15, 2017
Track: Talladega Superspeedway
Time: 2 pm ET
TV: NBC

by Virginia Vroom, NASCAR Handicapper, Predictem.com

This weekend, Martin Truex Jr. managed to take home the checkers at Charlotte Motor Speedway, this coming after Kevin Harvick dominated and won the first two stages of the race. Truex was noticeably emotional during his post-race interview, citing his girlfriend, Sherry Pollex. She had chemo scheduled for Monday and was not able to be at the race. Anyone whoís followed NASCAR in the last couple of years knows about Pollex and her battle with ovarian cancer. Earlier in the year, it returned, despite aggressive treatments in the months prior. As someone who recently lost her father to cancer, all I can say is I have the utmost respect for anyone battling this absolutely terrible disease and also for the family and friends who must watch someone battle and suffer through the treatments. For Sherry to still support Martin and present as much as she has is a testament to their relationship as well. Itís very clear that they put each other first. All of my best goes to Sherry and Martin as she continues to fight her battle.

Truex did a great job in securing his spot for the next segment while in Charlotte. Chase Elliott came in second for the second consecutive week. His time is coming, yíall. This kid is destined for greatness and will get that win before the season is out if he holds on to his confidence. Elliott trumped Kevin Harvick during overtime because of 2 late race cautions. Harvick finished 3rd with Denny Hamlin and Jamie McMurray rounding out the top 5 spots. Each driver was extremely overwhelmed by the heat it seemed, too, by the time that the race ended. Kyle Busch needed medical attention, with crews placing ice bags over his body. Many drivers were drenched in their fire suits. I donít know about the rest of the country, but here in Eastern North Carolina, it was in the 80s with a ton of humidity today. Summer is still here for sure, at least for the next week or week and a half.

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Iím not too sure if the drivers will find any relief as we head to our next track. This weekend, the drivers are going to the most unpredictable track of the Chase. Talladega is going to be quite a spectacle. There are several drivers still trying to cling onto those top 8 spots. There are currently 12 drivers, but without a win or a spot in the top 8, those last four will get knocked out at the end of the round. Talladega is one of those races that drivers canít bet on. They could be knocked out on the opening lap the way that the cards play out here. Thereís no telling. The drivers that are in the bottom four are currently Matt Kenseth, Brad Keselowski, Ryan Blaney, and Ricky Stenhouse Jr. Those guys have a lot of work to do. But, who knows?! Talladega may play right into their hands by eliminating some of the top dogs.

When it comes to picking a winner for this monster 2.667 mile track, you may as well throw the dice. We have drivers who are notoriously good here, that even includes Dale Jr., whoís had a very lackluster year. Lucky for Jr., Governor Ivey declared Sunday Dale Earnhardt Jr. Day! Maybe that will give him that extra umph that he needs to get his behind into victory lane before the year is out. Iím not counting on it, but Jr. has some good stats here and on all restrictor plate races. Other drivers that will force his hand include the likes of the Penske drivers but most likely Brad Keselowski. Joey Logano has won this particular race the last 2 times, but Keselowski has a total of 5 restrictor plate wins, with four of those wins coming at Talladega. I think that he will be the one to watch. Letís take a look at your potential winners this weekend:

My Pick to Win: Brad Keselowski
Middle of the Road Pick: Ricky Stenhouse Jr.
Dark Horse Prediction: Paul Menard

Call me crazy. Itís okay. It wonít be the first time and certainly not the last. Think about it, though. Stenhouse has won 2 of 3 restrictor plate races this season. Thatís not too shabby of a stat. On top of that, he and Keselowski have quite the motivation in needing a win to really catapult them into the next segment. This is his shot in my opinion. And Paul Menard, well, I think that his experience will trump the rookies in his run this weekend. He should have a pretty solid race, with 4 finishes of 6th or better in his last 8 races here. Stenhouse and Keselowski in particular will be racing fiercely for their guaranteed spot in the next segment. Letís take a look at the current standings after Charlotte.

Here are your current top 12 after last week's race:

1. Martin Truex Jr.
2. Kyle Larson
3. Kevin Harvick
4. Chase Elliott
5. Denny Hamlin
6. Kyle Busch
7. Jimmie Johnson
8. Jamie McMurray
9. Matt Kenseth
10. Brad Keselowski
11. Ryan Blaney
12. Ricky Stenhouse Jr.

There are only 10 points separating the bottom 4 from 8th place. Thatís not a whole lot if you think about it, especially at Talladega. All they need is for Jamie McMurray to wreck and theyíre golden as long as they stay 10 spots ahead. Thereís a lot of opportunity this weekend, but thereís also a lot of unknown. Stay tuned as these guys head to Talladega superspeedway for the last plate race of the year! Bet your picks to win at a sportsbook that will match your first deposit dollar for dollar up to $500! ---> GTBets!

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