More Sports Sections: NFL Football College Football NBA Basketball Baseball NHL Hockey Soccer MMA Boxing Golf Horse Racing

Handicapping

Other Great Sites

Geico 500 Predictions

Race: Geico 500
Date: Sunday May 7, 2017
Track: Talladega Superspeedway
Time: 2 pm ET
TV: FOX

by Virginia Vroom, NASCAR Handicapper, Predictem.com

Drivers wrapped up the last of 3 short track races last weekend at Richmond. Joey Logano managed to sweep up the win with teammate Brad Keselowksi taking the runner up spot. The race was much different than those of the past. This race used to be a Saturday night race. It was clear with temps in the lower 90s that fans didnít want to sweat in the stands. From the looks on tv, the crowd was sparse. It obviously changes the track conditions in a pretty dramatic manner as well. Regardless, Denny Hamlin finished third while Ricky Stenhouse Jr. and Kevin Harvick rounded out the top five. I knew Stenhouse Jr. would have a solid run. He did really well and seems to thrive on the short tracks. Hamlin knew he didnít have the best car of the field and stated that he finished exactly where he should have.

There were quite a few other drivers who didnít have the same feelings. Jimmie JohnsonÖwellÖhe had a Jimmie Johnson moment when he basically body-slammed teammate Dale Jr. in the wall on the backstretch, costing them both any shot of anything after that. Jr. finished a very disappointing 30th place. Kyle Busch was another one who had a lot of misfortune on the day. He started early with a speeding penalty on pit road. After spending all race making it back into contention, he managed a commitment cone violation with 22 laps to go after basically being psyched out on pit road strategy by other drivers. To say he was frustrated is an understatement. In true Busch fashion, he stormed off, barely uttering but a few words to reporters and taking off after the race.

This weekend, we are heading to the antithesis of a short track. Talladega is the biggest track on the circuit at 2.66 miles. This asphalt tri-oval has some pretty intricate banking. Turns one and two are 33 degrees. Turn three is 32.4 degrees. Turn four is 32.5 degrees. The tri-oval is 16.5 degrees. Finally, the backstretch has a minimal 3 degrees of banking. This place is crazy fast. Drivers are easily able to maintain over 200mph through a good portion of the track when practicing or qualifying. Actual race speeds tend to average a little below that, but itís pretty incredible to think just how fast these guys are consistently flying around the track. Drivers have huge issues here typically with track position and tires. These two factors make or break the race for these guys. First off, track position is essential. If drivers donít position themselves well, they are liable to end up as part of ďThe Big OneĒ. Anyone whoís a race fan knows just how this particular incident can wipe potentially nearly half the field out of contention with the way that these drivers bunch up at this track. Secondly, tires are essential. While the drivers can maintain track position through drafting to a certain degree, if a driver doesnít have good enough tires, he most certainly canít maintain his position in the draft. He will be quickly left out to dry.

Thatís the thing about Talladega. A driver running in the top 5 can end up in 30th in the blink of an eye because of losing the draft. Itís a very hard race to predict, but since thatís why youíre here, letís do it. Number one drivers this week will without a doubt be the Penske guys of Brad Keselowski and Joey Logano. Engines are everything. These guys have to have the power to run a long and very difficult race on the engines. That garage has its game on point. Other guys to watch are drivers like Dale Jr., whoís simply a super speedway connoisseur, Kevin Harvick, and Denny Hamlin. Letís take a look at your potential winners this weekend as we head into Talladega:

My Pick to Win: Brad Keselowski
Middle of the Road Pick: Clint Bowyer
Dark Horse Prediction: Ty Dillon

With his RCR ties, Dillon is simply at least given the best equipment if nothing else. This guy should have a pretty solid run this weekend simply based on his roots. Clint Bowyer is a strong plate racer. He actually has the best average finish in the last 10 races here out of all active drivers. Honestly, though, these guys will be chasing down Keselowski. His stats donít lie. Heís the defending champ of this race also coming in with a total of 4 wins in 16 starts. Heís got multiple wins this year already, and he should add to them this weekend. Letís take a look at how our points are shaping out after Richmond.

Bet your Geico 500 picks for FREE by taking advantage of a HUGE 50% sign-up bonus up to $1000 at MyBookie!

Here are your current top 16 after last week's race:

1. Kyle Larson
2. Martin Truex Jr.
3. Chase Elliott
4. Joey Logano
5. Brad Keselowski
6. Kevin Harvick
7. Jamie McMurray
8. Jimmie Johnson
9. Clint Bowyer
10. Kyle Busch
11. Denny Hamlin
12. Ryan Blaney
13. Ryan Newman
14. Trevor Bayne
15. Ricky Stenhouse Jr.
16. Erik Jones

Kyle Larson is still sitting pretty on the top of the standings. He really has come to win this year and has proven that heís a top notch driver across the board of all different types of tracks. What I find interesting looking through the points is that there are several drivers who have no race wins and no stage wins, yet they are still doing very well. This might be a solid indication that this points system is pretty good. If these guys can maintain so much in the standings despite not winning every race or leading any segments, their consistency is showing that it can still pay off. This weekend, though, we throw consistency out the window. Stay tuned as we all sit on the edge of our sits during Talladega!

Geico 500 Betting Odds

Free Picks

Virginia Vroom's Picks - Most people think Danica Patrick is auto racing's most popular female. We have something to say about that! She can flat out pick'em!

Betting

Bookmaker - Get a 50% bonus up to $300 in FREE cash! This means that if you deposit $100, they will add an extra $50 to your balance! If you deposit $600, they will add $300 EXTRA! Bet on weekly head to head (driver) matchups and odds on every driver to win the race.

5Dimes - Offers driver vs. driver matchups as well as "odds to win race" for every major track event.

Nascar Betting Rules - Action, no action, crashes, canceled bets and refunds. Rules protect both you and the house from any discrepancies.

FAQ