Championship Contenders May Not Want To Win at Talladega

Ryan Blaney

Getty Ryan Blaney celebrates a win at Talladega Superspeedway.

The NASCAR Cup Series playoffs continue at Talladega Superspeedway. None of the championship contenders have won a playoff race yet, and they may want to keep this streak going based on NASCAR history.

According to the notes provided by NASCAR Communications, winning the playoff race at Talladega Superspeedway does not bode well for championship hopes. The winner of this particular race has never gone on to win the Cup Series title in the Playoff Era (2004-Present).

This streak includes such names as Denny Hamlin (2020), Ryan Blaney (2019), Aric Almirola (2018), Brad Keselowski (2014, 2017), Joey Logano (2015, 2016), and Matt Kenseth (2012) among others. Bubba Wallace was the most recent driver to win the playoff race at Talladega Superspeedway, but he was not a member of the playoff field.

Several Past Talladega Winners Remain in the Hunt

Joey Logano

GettyJoey Logano celebrates a win at Talladega Superspeedway.

There are multiple drivers in the field that have past wins at Talladega Superspeedway. Some are still in the playoffs with an opportunity to move on to the Round of Eight with a win.

Hamlin has two Cup Series wins at Talladega Superspeedway. He won the regular-season race in 2014 and then won the playoff race during the 2020 season. Similarly, Logano has three wins at the superspeedway, two of which were in the playoffs. His third was the 2018 Geico 500.

The list of winners also includes Chase Elliott (2019) and Blaney (2019, 2020). Ross Chastain is the most recent driver to reach Victory Lane at Talladega Superspeedway. He won the 2022 Geico 500 and further secured his spot in the playoffs.

William Byron does not have a win at Talladega Superspeedway in his career, but he will be on a mission to gain as many points as possible. He received a 25-point penalty from NASCAR after spinning Hamlin under caution at Texas Motor Speedway. This dropped him below the cutline and put him in a dangerous situation with two races remaining in the Round of 12.

A Different Streak Could Continue at Talladega

GettyClint Bowyer celebrates a win at Talladega Superspeedway.

The 2022 Cup Series playoffs have featured a fascinating streak. All of the first four races have featured non-playoff drivers celebrating in Victory Lane. This list includes Erik Jones (Darlington), Bubba Wallace (Kansas), Chris Buescher (Bristol), and Tyler Reddick (Texas).

History indicates that this streak could continue at Talladega Superspeedway. There are six playoff races at the Alabama track that have featured a non-playoff driver celebrating a win.

Wallace is the most recent to achieve this feat. He won the 2021 playoff race, and he joined a list that also includes Jamie McMurray (2009, 2013), Clint Bowyer (2011), Brian Vickers (2006), and Dale Jarrett (2005).

The most likely option to continue this streak works as both a driver and an owner. Brad Keselowski has six trips to Victory Lane at Talladega Superspeedway. This run includes 2009, 2012, 2014, 2016, 2017, and 2021. He also finished second behind Wallace during the 2021 playoff race.

Keselowski’s six wins put him in a tie with Dale Earnhardt Jr. and Jeff Gordon for the most all-time at the Alabama track. Dale Earnhardt Sr. holds the all-time record with 10 wins at the superspeedway.

The other non-playoff driver that could shock the field is Ricky Stenhouse Jr. The driver of the No. 47 JTG Daugherty Racing Chevrolet Camaro has one win at Talladega Superspeedway (2017), and he has shown speed during multiple superspeedway races in 2022. This includes the Geico 500 when he ran in the top 10 before a nine-car wreck ended his day.

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