Aaron’s 499 Betting News and Notes

Aaron’s 499 Betting News and Notes

Talladega Superspeedway Data

Season Race #: 10 of 36 (05-04-14)
Track Size: 2.66-miles
Banking/Turn 1 & 2: 33 degrees
Banking/Turn 3 & 4: 33 degrees
Banking/Frontstretch: 16.5 degrees
Banking/Backstretch: 2 degrees
Frontstretch Length: 4,300 feet
Backstretch Length: 4,000 feet
Race Length: 188 laps / 500 miles

Top 10 Driver Ratings at Talladega

Ricky Stenhouse Jr. 94.7
Matt Kenseth 91.6
Dale Earnhardt Jr. 91.5
Kurt Busch 87.4
Brian Vickers 87.3
Jimmie Johnson 85.1
Brad Keselowski 84.4
David Ragan 84.2
Aric Almirola 87.3
Jamie McMurray 83.3

Note: Driver Ratings compiled from 2005-2013 races (18 total) among active drivers at Talladega Superspeedway.

Qualifying/Race Data
2013 pole winner:
None – due to inclement weather

2013 race winner:
David Ragan, Ford
148.729 mph, (03:26:02), 05-05-13

Track qualifying record:
Bill Elliott, Ford
212.809 mph, 44.998 secs. 04-30-87

Track race record:
Mark Martin, Ford
188.354 mph, (02:39:18), 05-10-97

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Re: Aaron’s 499 Betting News and Notes

Talladega Driver Tale of the Tape


Aric Almirola (No. 43 Gwaltney Ford)

· One top 10
· Average finish of 19.9
· Average Running Position of 17.8, 12th-best
· Driver Rating of 83.7, 10th-best

Kurt Busch (No. 41 Haas Automation Chevrolet)

· Six top fives, 13 top 10s
· Average finish of 16.7
· Average Running Position of 14.9, fifth-best
· Driver Rating of 87.4, fifth-best
· 6,599 Green Flag Passes, third-most
· 2,144 Laps in the Top 15 (62.6%), second-most
· 4,529 Quality Passes, second-most

Austin Dillon (No. 3 Bass Pro Shops Chevrolet)

· Average finish of 26.0
· Series-best Average Running Position of 11.5
· Driver Rating of 81.5, 12th-best
· Series-best Average Green Flag Speed of 193.265 mph

Dale Earnhardt Jr. (No. 88 National Guard Chevrolet)

· Five wins, 10 top fives, 14 top 10s
· Average finish of 14.6
· Average Running Position of 14.6, fourth-best
· Driver Rating of 91.5, third-best
· 75 Fastest Laps Run, fifth-most
· 6,044 Green Flag Passes, fourth-most
· Average Green Flag Speed of 193.083 mph, third-fastest
· 2,078 Laps in the Top 15 (60.7%), third-most
· 4,009 Quality Passes, fourth-most

Jimmie Johnson (No. 48 Lowe’s/Valspar Reserve Chevrolet)

· Two wins, six top fives, 10 top 10s; one pole
· Average finish of 17.0
· Average Running Position of 16.9, eighth-best
· Driver Rating of 85.1, seventh-best
· Average Green Flag Speed of 192.872 mph, 12th-fastest
· 1,757 Laps in the Top 15 (51.3%), fifth-most
· 3,436 Quality Passes, fifth-most

Matt Kenseth (No. 20 Dollar General Toyota)

· One win, five top fives, nine top 10s
· Average finish of 17.7
· Average Running Position of 13.9, third-best
· Driver Rating of 91.6, second-best
· 63 Fastest Laps Run, 12th-most
· 5,791 Green Flag Passes, seventh-most
· Series-high 2,239 Laps in the Top 15 (65.4%)
· 4,275 Quality Passes, third-most

Brad Keselowski (No. 2 Miller Lite Ford)

· Two wins, three top fives, six top 10s
· Average finish of 14.2
· Driver Rating of 84.4, eighth-best
· Average Green Flag Speed of 192.936 mph, ninth-fastest

Jamie McMurray (No. 1 McDonald's Chevrolet)


· Two wins, six top fives, seven top 10s
· Average finish of 19.3
· Driver Rating of 83.3, 11th-best
· Average Green Flag Speed of 193.035 mph, seventh-fastest
· 1,692 Laps in the Top 15 (49.4%), sixth-most
· 3,307 Quality Passes, eighth-most

David Ragan (No. 34 KFC Ford)

· One win, four top fives, seven top 10s
· Average finish of 14.2
· Driver Rating of 84.2, ninth-best
· Average Green Flag Speed of 193.080 mph, fourth-fastest

Ricky Stenhouse Jr. (No. 17 Zest Ford)

· One top five, one top 10
· Average finish of 8.0
· Average Running Position of 12.5, second-best
· Series-best Driver Rating of 94.7
· Average Green Flag Speed of 193.253 mph, second-fastest

Brian Vickers (No. 55 Aaron's Dream Machine Toyota)

· One win, four top fives, six top 10s
· Average finish of 20.1
· Average Running Position of 17.0, ninth-best
· Driver Rating of 87.3, sixth-best

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Re: Aaron’s 499 Betting News and Notes

Aaron’s 499 Preview
By Micah Roberts
VegasInsider.com

In 32 NASCAR Sprint Cup races a season, handicappers eagerly await results from the final practices at each track like the Duke brothers waiting for the crop report in "Trading Places." The practices are like the holy grail of NASCAR betting where prices are drastically altered and bettors sway their opinions and bankrolls.

However, for the other four races -- those with restrictor-plates on -- it’s a crap shoot. Put 43 numbers on the board and start throwing darts. Welcome to the world of betting Talladega.

Practices mean the least at Superspeedways like Daytona and Talladega because they really don’t tell the bettor anything. And if a driver is fast alone during practice, it doesn’t necessarily mean they’ll be fast in the draft during the race. So when the plate races come around, like Sunday’s Aaron’s 499 at Talladega, bettors can pretty much make their final analysis on who has the best chance of winning on a Monday or Tuesday, rather than the normal process of waiting until Friday or Saturday after practices.

In 32 races, around 15 drivers have a legitimate shot of winning with not too much randomness, and then that number gets widdled down to about 10 quality candidates after practices. On plate-race tracks, the list of possible candidates is around 38 drivers, and the number doesn’t decrease at all after practices.

The best example to show how random Talladega is was David Ragan winning at Talladega last spring. He drives the No. 34 Front Row Motorsports Ford, which isn’t competitive anywhere else but plate races. Last week at Richmond he was listed in the LVH field at 500/1 and finished 30th. His best finish on the season was 27th at California, but this week at Talladega, if you find 50/1, it’ll be a high number deemed attractive by bettors expanding their odds to win wagering strategy due to the different set of circumstances plate races present.

Danica Patrick even becomes a quality contender. I may have been dead wrong about her stepping her game up in 2014 as she sits 29th in points, but she is one of the 38 drivers that have a great shot at winning this week. In two attempts at Talladega, she’s finished 33rd each time, but she has shown enough during the races at Daytona and Talladega together to believe that this is her best chance in NASCAR to win a trophy.

The driver I’m going to dump most of my chips on this week on is Denny Hamlin just because I know he’ll have somewhat of an edge over the other cars based on what happened at Daytona where he won the Sprint Unlimited Shootout and then one of the Budweiser Duels. He would go on to finish second in the Daytona 500, behind Dale Earnhardt Jr, while leading three times for 16 laps. He was super-fast during the entire Daytona speed weeks, and while Daytona and Talladega are vastly different despite both using restrictor-plates, his performance there should transfer well this week.

Even though Hamlin is currently 14th in points, he can’t be happy with how his season has gone. There were so many high expectations coming into 2014 after ending last season with a win at Homestead. Outside of his stellar Daytona run, he’s been given cars in the eight races since that weren’t capable of winning. He’s fought hard in races to finish as well as he has. The rough part about it for him is that they’ve raced on just about every type of track and he had no edge, which is surprising at places like Martinsville and Richmond -- places he always dominated at.

So knowing the importance of how big this race is for Hamlin, which might be his best chance to get a win if things don’t change, I look for this team to be completely dialed in like at Daytona. If Hamlin does win, it will be his first career restrictor-plate win in a points race.

I expect just about everyone that was good at Daytona to be good, or at least fast with a chance to win. My best advice would be to expand your odds to win wagering while staying away from matchups, unless of course a driver is posted too high -- such as getting +110 on anyone.

Take a favorite or two for a larger amount, then add in a few at 20/1 odds or higher. Drivers like Jamie McMurray or Ryan Newman come to mind among those in the mid-price range that have a good shot at faring well.

Austin Dillon, Ricky Stenhouse Jr. and Paul Menard wouldn't be bad darts to throw either at 50/1 odds or higher.

Top-5 Finish Prediction:

1) #11 Denny Hamlin (12/1)
2) # 24 Jeff Gordon (12/1)
3) #88 Dale Earnhardt Jr. (10/1)
4) #2 Brad Keeslowski (12/1)
5) #20 Matt Kenseth (12/1)

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Re: Aaron’s 499 Betting News and Notes

Drivers to Watch - Talladega
By Sportsbook.ag

NASCAR visits the southeast for the weekend’s action at Talladega Superspeedway in Alabama. The Aaron’s 499 will be the first of two races at this track with the GEICO 500 race occurring five months from now on Oct. 19. This superspeedway was completed in 1969 and measures 2.66 miles in a tri-oval shape. The banking on the turns is quite steep at 33° with a 4,300-foot frontstretch of 16.5° and a nearly flat backstretch (4,000 feet) with 2° banking. The seating capacity of the superspeedway is an impressive 143,231. Last May, David Ragan won this race despite being tabbed with 100-to-1 odds, and Jamie McMurray took the Talladega fall race with 20-to-1 odds.

Drivers to Watch

Jimmie Johnson (12/1) -
On the rare times that Johnson garners odds in the double-digits, bettors must put down a wager on No. 48. Johnson has 17 wins and 46 career top-5's in speedways exceeding two miles long in his career, which includes two wins (2006, 2011) and six top-5's at Talladega. His numbers at this track would be even better if he didn't suffer such bad luck in Alabama, with eight DNFs (4 crashes, 4 engine problems) in his 24 starts. Johnson is also overdue for his first victory this season, as he placed among the top-6 drivers five times already, and has led as least eight laps in six of his nine starts in 2014. Put your largest wager on Johnson this week, who is our pick to win the Aaron's 499.

Jamie McMurray (25/1) - The best value for Sunday's race has to be McMurray at 25-to-1. Not only did he win in Talladega last October, but he also prevailed at this track in 2009 and followed it up with a runner-up in the next Alabama race. The No. 1 car also has three other top-5's at this superspeedway and is one of just seven active drivers to average more than 10 laps led per start (10.4) at this track. He has also made headway in the Chase for the Cup this season, improving his standing in each of the past three starts since a horrible 42nd-place showing in Martinsville. With five of seven career wins coming on superspeedways, McMurray is worthy of a small wager on Sunday.

Brad Keselowski (12/1) - The other favorite I like this week is Keselowski, who has the best career average finish (14.2) at Talladega among all active drivers. This includes three top-5's and two wins (2009, 2012) in just 10 career starts in Alabama. He's also getting his groove back after a five-race slump, as Keselowski finished fourth at Richmond last week, which marked the eighth time in nine starts this season that he has led a race for at least three laps. The fact that his average start over the past eight races is a miniscule 3.8 shows that Keselowski has untapped potential from his great qualifying peformances. Don't forget about the No. 2 car when you place your bets for Sunday's race.

David Ragan (50/1) - His best tracks are the superspeedways, as Ragan has tallied nine top-5's and two wins in his 76 starts at tracks exceeding two miles in length. This includes his victory at this track last May, where although he went off at 100-to-1, his win wasn't a fluke considering it was part of four straight top-7 showings in Alabama. Of all active drivers with more than two starts at Talladega, only Brad Keselowski has a better average finish than Ragan's 14.2. Not counting his two crashes at this track in 2007 and 2011, Ragan has an average finish of 10.5 in his other 12 career starts at Talladega, thanks to seven top-7 finishes. His 2014 season has been dismal, with his best finish being 27th at Fontana, but at 50-to-1 odds, Ragan is worthy of a one-unit wager to defend his Aaron's 499 title.

Danica Patrick (75/1) - She was tabbed with a mere 35-to-1 odds last May, so Patrick is a much more enticing wager at 75-to-1 for Sunday's race. Her lone top-10 finish of her young NASCAR career came at another superspeedway, when she placed eighth from the pole at Daytona last year. She was also racing well at Daytona this season with two laps led before a crash on lap 146 ended her day. Patrick will always be a longshot option, but in this unpredictable race, she appears to be the most valuable longshot wager on the board.

Odds to win Aaron’s 499

Dale Earnhardt Jr. 10/1
Jeff Gordon 12/1
Denny Hamlin 12/1
Tony Stewart 12/1
Brad Keselowski 12/1
Joey Logano 12/1
Kevin Harvick 12/1
Kyle Busch 12/1
Matt Kenseth 12/1
Jimmie Johnson 12/1
Carl Edwards 18/1
Clint Bowyer 18/1
Kasey Kahne 18/1
Kurt Busch 20/1
Greg Biffle 20/1
Kyle Larson 20/1
Jamie McMurray 25/1
Ryan Newman 25/1
Brian Vickers 30/1
Field (Any Other Driver) 30/1
Michael Waltrip 40/1
Paul Menard 40/1
Ricky Stenhouse 50/1
Martin Truex Jr. 50/1
Austin Dillon 50/1
Casey Mears 75/1
Justin Allgaier 75/1
Danica Patrick 75/1
David Ragan 75/1
Marcos Ambrose 75/1
AJ Allmendinger 75/1
Aric Almirola 75/1
Trevor Bayne 100/1
David Gilliland 100/1


Check out more NASCAR Odds and Props at Sportsbook.ag!

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Chassis Selections
Jayski.com

#1-Jamie McMurray: chassis not reported on race preview.
#2-Brad Keselowski: Primary Chassis for Talladega is PRS-659, which is a new chassis. The backup chassis is PRS-649 which last served as a backup at Daytona. Keselowski owns two NASCAR Sprint Cup Series victories (2009 and 2012) at Talladega Superspeedway.
#3-Austin Dillon: will pilot chassis No. 440 in the Aaron's 499 at Talladega Superspeedway. This is the same Chevrolet SS Dillon drove to a ninth-place finish in the Daytona 500 after earning the pole award for the Great American Race in February. Dillon subbed for Tony Stewart in the #14-Bass Pro Shops Chevrolet at Talladega last year and was in position to win at the restrictor-plate track, but was involved in a multi-car crash in the closing laps of the event, posting a 26th-place finish. He also has two starts in the NASCAR Nationwide Series and two starts in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series.
#4-Kevin Harvick will pilot Chassis No. 4-833 at Talladega. Built new for 2014, Chassis 4-833 was utilized for a test session at Daytona in January. Chassis 4-833 will see its first laps of competition this weekend at Talladega. Sunday's Aaron's 499 will mark Harvick's 27th career Sprint Cup start at Talladega. Harvick has one win (April 2010), one pole, six top-five finishes and 10 top-10s at the 2.66-mile superspeedway. Harvick has an average starting position of 22.5, an average finish of 16.2 and has completed 95% of the laps he's contested (4,681 of 4,928).
#5-Kasey Kahne: Crew chief Kenny Francis will unload Hendrick Motorsports Chassis No. 5-856 for Sunday's event at Talladega. This is a new chassis. In 20 Sprint Cup Series starts at Talladega, Kahne has recorded three top-five finishes, four top-10s and has led 50 laps at the high-banked oval. In the October 2012 event, Kahne won his first pole position at the 2.66-mile track.
#7-Michael Annett chassis not reported on race preview.
#9-Marcos Ambrose: chassis not reported on race preview.
#10-Danica Patrick will pilot Chassis No. 10-758 which was wind-tunnel tested in January 2013 before being used by Patrick in the Daytona 500. Patrick qualified the car on the pole with a speed of 196.434 mph and then started first and finished 17th in the first Budweiser Duel. She started on the pole and led five laps in the Daytona 500 before finishing eighth - the best finish ever for a woman in the "Great American Race." Patrick next drove Chassis 10-758 in May at Talladega, where Patrick started 23rd and finished 33rd after being involved in a late-race accident. The car was rebuilt and wind-tunnel tested throughout the summer and then Patrick drove it in October at Talladega, where she finished 33rd after a pit-road speeding penalty cost her any chance of a good finish. Patrick drove chassis No. 10-758 in January 2014 testing at Daytona before piloting it once again in the non-points-paying Sprint Unlimited at Daytona in February. Patrick, who ran as high as fourth in the early part of the event, was caught up in a multicar accident on lap 35, relegating her to a 16th-place finish. The car has been rebuilt and wind-tunnel tested since that race in preparation for Sunday's Aaron's 499.
#11-Denny Hamlin: chassis not reported on race preview.
#13-Casey Mears: chassis not reported on race preview.
#14-Tony Stewart: Chassis No. 14-836 is a brand new car for 2014 and has only seen action during testing Jan. 9-10 at Daytona. It served as a backup throughout Budweiser Speedweeks and has spent considerable time in the wind tunnel since. Chassis No. 14-836 will make its first career start Sunday at Talladega. Stewart has one win, six second-place finishes, nine top-fives, 13 top-10s and has led a total of 317 laps in his 29 career Sprint Cup starts at Talladega. His average start is 16.8, his average finish is 16.1 and he has a lap completion rate of 97.7%.

#15-Clint Bowyer: Chassis No. 754 serves as the primary chassis for Bowyer at Talladega Superspeedway. Martin Truex Jr. drove this Toyota to a 24th-place finish in the 2013 Daytona 500. He also drove this Chassis to a eighth-place finish in the May 2013 Talladega race. Chassis No. 755 serves as the back-up chassis. Bowyer drove this car to an 11th-place finish in the 2013 Daytona 500 and to an 18th-place finish at Talladega in May 2013.
#16-Greg Biffle: and the Matt Puccia led #16 Red Cross team will run chassis RK-798 which last ran at Daytona and finished 8th. The backup chassis will be RK-852 which last ran at Talladega finishing 17th. Biffle has 22 Sprint Cup career starts at Talladega, earning two top-five and five top-10 finishes.
#17-Ricky Stenhouse Jr.: and the #17 Zest team will be using primary chassis Chassis RK-830 at Talladega, which was last run at Daytona, finishing 7th. The backup chassis is RK-872, which is a new chassis. Stenhouse has two Sprint Cup starts at Talladega earning one top-five and one top-10 finish.

#18-Kyle Busch: chassis not reported on race preview.
#20-Matt Kenseth: chassis not reported on race preview.
#22-Joey Logano: Primary Chassis is PRS-656 for Talladega, which is a new chassis. The Backup Chassis is PRS-654 which was raced in the Sprint Unlimited at Daytona, finishing 3rd.
#24-Jeff Gordon: crew chief Alan Gustafson has selected Hendrick Motorsports Chassis No. 24-855 for this Sunday's race. This chassis has been raced previously only one time with Gordon starting sixth and finishing fourth in the 2014 season-opening Daytona 500. Gordon leads active, full-time drivers at Talladega in the following statistical categories: starts (42), wins (six), top-five finishes (15), top-10s (19) and laps led (843). Gordon is the all-time leader in restrictor-plate victories with 12. Dale Earnhardt Sr. ranks second with 11 while Hendrick Motorsports teammate Dale Earnhardt Jr. is third with eight.
#27-Paul Menard will pilot chassis No. 445 in the Aaron's 499 at Talladega. This #27 Menards / Richmond Chevy was utilized in this year's Daytona 500 when the primary car was wrecked in practice. After starting in the back, Menard led 29 laps before getting caught up in a wreck and finishing 32nd. In 15 previous starts at the 2.66-mile superspeedway, Menard has two top-five finishes to his credit. His best start of fifth took place twice at the Alabama track, fall 2008 and spring 2011. His best finish of second took place in spring 2008. Through the last seven races at Talladega, Menard has earned one top-five and four top-15 finishes. Through the 15 starts, he's completed 2,429 of 2,552 laps contested (85.2%) and led 29 laps.
#31-Ryan Newman will race chassis No. 436 on Sunday at Talladega. Chassis No. 436 was raced in the Sprint Unlimited exhibition race on February 15 at Daytona International Speedway where the #31 team finished eighth. Newman owns four top-five and nine top-10 finishes at Talladega and has an average start of 14th and average finish of 22nd. His best start of second came in the fall of 2012, while his best finish of third took place in the spring of 2009.
#33-Brian Scott will pilot chassis No. 432 in this weekend's NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race at Talladega Superspeedway. This Chevrolet SS was made it's on-track debut last season at Talladega where it finished 12th.
#34-David Regan chassis not reported on race preview.
#35-Eric McClure chassis not reported on race preview.
#36-Reed Sorenson chassis not reported on race preview.
#38-David Gilliland chassis not reported on race preview.
#41-Kurt Busch will pilot Chassis No. 664 in Sunday's Aaron's 499 at Talladega, a former #39 Chevy for Stewart-Haas Racing. Chassis 664 started 34th and finished fifth in the 2013 Daytona 500 with driver Ryan Newman. Newman started 21st and finished 10th at Daytona in July 2013. Chassis No. 664 served as a backup for Budweiser Speedweeks at Daytona in 2014.
#42-Kyle Larson: chassis not reported on race preview.
#43-Aric Almirola:: chassis not reported on race preview.
#47-A.J. Allmendinger chassis not reported on race preview.
#48-Jimmie Johnson: Crew chief Chad Knaus has selected Chassis No. 48-871 for this weekend at Talladega which is a new car. The backup car is Chassis No. 48-853, which Johnson most recently raced to a fifth-place result at Daytona in February. In 24 Cup starts at Talladega, Johnson has two wins, six top-five finishes and 10 top-10s. He has an average finish of 17th and has led 297 laps. Johnson has earned one pole position at the 2.66-mile superspeedway.
#55-Brian Vickers: Primary Chassis 810 has not raced. The backup chassis is 753, which finished 30th in the Daytona 500.
#66-Michael Waltrip: will drive Chassis No. 748 at Talladega. Waltrip drove this chassis to a 41st-place finish in the 2014 Daytona 500. Martin Truex Jr. also drove this chassis to a ninth-place finish in the 2013 Sprint Unlimited. Chassis No. 749 will serve as the backup. It has not raced. In 55 starts at Talladega Waltrip owns one win (September 2003), eight top-five and 16 top-10 finishes. He has also led 233 laps.
#78-Martin Truex Jr. chassis not reported on race preview.
#88-Dale Earnhardt Jr.: crew chief Steve Letarte and the #88 National Guard team will unload Hendrick Motorsports Chassis No. 88-872. This is a new chassis that has not been raced. In 28 Cup starts at Talladega, Earnhardt has recorded five wins, 10 top-five finishes and 14 top-10s. He scored a record-setting four consecutive wins at the 2.66-mile superspeedway from October 2001 to April 2003.
#99-Carl Edwards the #99 Ford Fastenal team will unload primary chassis RK-906 at Talladega, which is a new chassis. The backup chassis is RK-870 was last used in 2014 as a backup at the Daytona 500, and as a primary during Daytona testing. Edwards will visit the 2.66 mile superspeedway for the 20th time in his Sprint Cup career this weekend. His highest finish is third which came in May 2013 after starting from the pole. Edwards has an average start of 13.6 and an average finish of 20.6 at Talladega. Edwards has finished in the top-five two times and in the top-ten five times.

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Re: Aaron’s 499 Betting News and Notes

Driver Handicaps: Talladega
By: Jeff Wackerlin
Racingone.com

MRN.com's detailed notes and statistics to help you set your fantasy racing lineup for Sunday's Aaron's 499 at Talladega Superspeedway.

Who's HOT at Talladega

• Five-time winner, and this year's Daytona 500 champion, Dale Earnhardt Jr. is coming off his fourth second-place finish.
• Defending event winner David Ragan is the only driver to finish in the top 10 in the last four races.
• Matt Kenseth, winner of the 2012 fall race, combined to lead the most laps (174) in both races last season.
• Clint Bowyer, winner of the 2010 and 2011 fall race, leads all drivers that have competed in the last 10 races with an 11.9 average finish.
• Two-time winner Jimmie Johnson finished fifth in this event last year helping his series leading average finish (5.0) in the five races with the Gen-6 car on restrictor-plate tracks.
• Jeff Gordon leads all drivers in wins (6) and laps led (843).
• Kyle Busch, winner of the 2008 spring race, has finished in the top five in three of his last four starts.

Who to Keep an Eye On at Talladega

• Jamie McMurray has posted a 7.5 average finish in his last two restrictor-plate starts, including a win last fall at Talladega.
• David Gilliland and Martin Truex Jr. (making first Talladega start with Furniture Row Racing) each finished in the top 10 in both races last season.
• Ricky Stenhouse Jr. recorded an average finish of 8.0 in both Talladega races last season.
• Daytona 500 pole winner Austin Dillon subbed for Tony Stewart last fall at Talladega and was in contention for the win up until an accident late in the race.
• Kurt Busch ranks in the top five in a number of Loop Data categories at Talladega including average running position, laps in the top 15 and driver ratings.
• Two-time Talladega winner Brad Keselowski has posted the fourth-best average finish (14.4) in the five with the Gen-6 car at restrictor-plate tracks. Also, Ryan Newman and Greg Biffle each rank in the top 10 in average finish (15.6) in those races.
• Paul Menard, who finished fourth last fall at Talladega, led 29 laps at Daytona in February before getting caught up in an accident.
• Previous restrictor-plate race winners Michael Waltrip and Trevor Bayne are entered in the Aaron's 499.
• Kevin Harvick (12.5) and Joey Logano (13.5) each rank in the top 10 in average finish in the last two restrictor-plate races with the current tire combination.

Tire Notes: Teams will run same combination of left- and right-side tires they ran at Daytona in February and Talladega last fall. Dale Earnhardt Jr. leads all drivers with a 1.5 average finish in the two races with Ricky Stenhouse Jr. (5.0), Jamie McMurray (7.5), Jimmie Johnson (9.0) and Jeff Gordon (9.0) rounding out the top five. Earnhardt also leads all drivers with 92 laps led.

Qualifying Facts - Note: First at the Track under new "Knockout" Format

MRN.com Staff Picks

Jeff Wackerlin: Austin Dillon
Pete Pistone: Dale Earnhardt Jr.
Dustin Long: Denny Hamlin
John Singler: Jamie McMurray

Top 20 Driver Notes - Ordered by Current Standings

Jeff Gordon:
The last of his series-leading six wins at Talladega came in the 2007 fall race when he completed a sweep of both events that season. His last of 19 top 10s was a runner-up finish in the 2012 fall race and his last top 10 in the spring race was in 2011, third place. In the five restrictor-plate races with the Gen-6 car, Gordon has posted an average finish of 16.6 and finishes of 11th and 14th, respectively, in the races at Talladega. This weekend, Gordon will return behind the wheel of the same car (chassis No. 855) that he finished fourth with in the Daytona 500.

Matt Kenseth: Leads all drivers in laps led with the Gen-6 car on restrictor-plate tracks with 261. He made his plate track debut with Joe Gibbs Racing in last year's Daytona 500 and led 86 laps before the engine failed. He dominated this event last year at Talladega, leading 142 laps en route to an eighth-place finish. His second top 10 on a plate track with JGR came in this year's Daytona 500, sixth place. Kenseth won at Talladega in the fall of 2012 in his last track start with Roush Fenway Racing.

Carl Edwards: Scored his best finish at Talladega last year in this event, third place. It marked only his second top five and fifth top 10 in 19 starts. The third-place run is also his only finish inside the top 15 in the five races on restrictor-plate tracks with the Gen-6 car. This weekend, Edwards will look to another good finish in the spring race driving a new car (chassis No. 906).

Kyle Busch: Coming off his third top five in the last four races at Talladega, a fifth-place finish. He won the 2008 spring race in his first track start with Joe Gibbs Racing. Since then, he's led 144 laps and posted a 17.1 average finish. Busch is fifth in laps led (57) in the five races with the Gen-6 car on restrictor-plate tracks, but his spring Talladega finish last year is his only top 10.

Dale Earnhardt Jr.: Coming off his second runner-up finish and fifth top 10 at Talladega in 12 starts with Hendrick Motorsports. His five career Talladega wins came with Dale Earnhardt, Inc. from 2001-2004, including four straight. Earnhardt holds the second-best average finish (6.0) and is third in laps led (92) in the five races with the Gen-6 car on restrictor-plate tracks. This weekend, Earnhardt will look to post his first top 10 in the spring race since 2012 in a new car (chassis No. 872).

Joey Logano: The last of his four top 10s at Talladega came in this event in 2011, when he was driving for Joe Gibbs Racing. Logano will look to carry his current momentum to generate his first top 10 on a restrictor-plate track since switching to Team Penske last season. His 11th-place finish in this year's Daytona 500 is his best to date with Penske. This weekend, Logano will be driving a new car (chassis No. 656).

Brad Keselowski: The last of his two wins at Talladega came in this race in 2012. His only top 10s with the Gen-6 car on restrictor-plate tracks have come at Daytona. His two top-five finishes in those five races have helped give him the fourth-best average finish (14.4) among drivers that competed in every race in that span. Although Keselowski finished third in this year's Daytona 500, Team Penske will be fielding a new car for him (chassis No. 659) in the Aaron's 499.

Jimmie Johnson: The last of his two wins at Talladega came in this event in 2011. He finished fifth last year, helping build his series-leading average finish (5.0) in the five races with the Gen-6 car on restrictor-plate tracks. Johnson is also second in laps led in that five-race span, including a combined 63 at Talladega. This weekend, Johnson will race a new car (chassis No, 871) in the Aaron's 499.

Ryan Newman: Has a pair of ninth-place finishes in the last two fall Talladega races, but hasn't had much luck in the last two spring races ... with an engine failure and an accident. He's finished in the top 10 in three of the five restrictor-plate races with the Gen-6 car to give him the sixth-best average finish (15.6) among drivers that competed in all five of those races. This weekend, Newman will make his first Talladega start with Richard Childress Racing in a car he finished eighth with in the Sprint Unlimited at Daytona.

Brian Vickers: Won the 2006 fall Talladega race with Hendrick Motorsports and will be making his first track start since 2011. His only restrictor-plate race with the Gen-6 car came this year in the Daytona 500, where Vickers finished 30th. This weekend, he will make his first Talladega start with Michael Waltrip Racing in a new car (chassis No. 810).

Greg Biffle: Has the second-best average finish (12.6) among drivers that have raced in all of the last 10 events at Talladega. He posted top 10s in both races in 2012 and finished 11th last fall. He finished eighth in this year's Daytona 500 to give him an average finish of 15.6 in the five races with the Gen-6 car on restrictor-plate tracks, which is tied for sixth among all drivers that have competed in every race in that span.

Austin Dillon: Last fall, Dillon subbed for Tony Stewart at Talladega and was in position to win but was involved in a multi-car crash in the closing laps. His 26th-place finish in that event is his only Cup start at the track. Dillon won the pole for the Daytona 500 and finished ninth to lower his average finish to 22.0 in his three restrictor-plate starts with the Gen-6 car. This weekend, Dillon will return in the same car he raced at Daytona to kick off the season.

Kyle Larson: Made his first restrictor-plate Cup start in the Daytona 500 and finished 38th after an accident.

Denny Hamlin: The last of his five top 10s at Talladega came in the 2011 fall race, eighth place. His average finish (24.8) in the five races with the Gen-6 car on restrictor-plate tracks took a hit at Talladega last fall with finishes of 34th and 38th, respectively. He's yet to lead at Talladega with the Gen-6 car but ranks fourth among all drivers in laps led in those races with 69 at Daytona.

Tony Stewart: Won at Talladega in the 2008 fall race with Joe Gibbs Racing. In his nine starts with Stewart-Haas Racing, "Smoke" has only managed to finish in the top 15 once. Stewart's second-place finish in his four starts on restrictor-plate tracks with the Gen-6 car is his only finish inside the top 25 in that span. Stewart will look to turn around his luck at Talladega as of late in a new car (chassis No. 836) that was tested in January.

Marcos Ambrose: His lone top 10 at Talladega came in his first start in 2009 with JTG/Daugherty Racing. In his last six starts with Richard Petty Motorsports, Ambrose has posted a 24.2 average finish with his best result coming in the last two spring races, 14th place. His average finish in the five races with the Gen-6 car on restrictor-plate tracks is 23.0.

AJ Allmendinger: Has yet to finish in the top 10 at Talladega in eight starts. He placed 26th in his first restrictor-plate start with JTG Daugherty Racing in the Daytona 500.

Paul Menard: Coming off his first top 10 with Richard Childress Racing at Talladega. In his six starts with the team, he's posted an average finish of 16.5. The finish last fall at Talladega is his only one inside the top 20 in five starts with the Gen-6 car on restrictor-plate tracks. Menard will return in the same car (chassis No. 445) that he led 29 laps with in the Daytona 500 before being involved in an accident.

Jamie McMurray: Coming off his second win at Talladega and first at the track with Chip Ganassi Racing. He has the fifth-best average finish (15.4) among drivers that have competed in every race with the Gen-6 car on restrictor-plate tracks.

Kevin Harvick: Posted one win and an average finish of 16.2 in 26 Talladega starts with Richard Childress Racing. He will make his first track start with Stewart-Haas Racing in a new car (chassis No. 833) that was tested at Daytona International Speedway in January. Harvick finished 13th in this year's season-opening Daytona 500 to give him an average finish of 9.3 in his last three restrictor-plate starts.

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Re: Aaron’s 499 Betting News and Notes

Aaron's 499 Post-Practice Betting Notes
By: Micah Roberts
Sportingnews.com

LAS VEGAS – The space is normally reserved for conveying what happened during practices and how those speeds might be relative in finding who has the best opportunity to win on race day. At just about every track, what happens in practices is a huge factor when making a final decision on what drivers to wager at the sports books.

At Talladega, there is no need to look at either of Friday's two practice sessions. If you’re still unsure what drivers have the best chance of winning Sunday’s Aaron’s 499, then you might want to sit this one out -- or close your eyes and randomly pick anyone. The practices are so meaningless that only 27 drivers participated in the final session, not only because there was nothing to be gained, but also because of fear that a wreck in a meaningless session could force them into a backup car. If the teams feel practice isn’t important, then neither should we.

Because nothing has changed from when we did our first Talladega write-up on Tuesday, my advice is to review why we liked certain drivers. Most of the reasons stem from what we saw at Daytona during speed weeks, plus past history in restrictor-plate races. Some drivers just have a knack for these type of races, like David Ragan and Jamie McMurray; others are becoming respected in them, like Ricky Stenhouse Jr.

Because Talladega is such a crapshoot, some might say this is a good time to take the week off from wagering – but this race is just too damn fun to not have any action.

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Re: Aaron’s 499 Betting News and Notes

Three Drivers to Watch in Aaron's 499
By Jay Dotson

TALLADEGA, AL (The Spread) - The NASCAR season continues at the Talladega Superspeedway for the Aaron's 499 set to go at 1:00PM ET on Fox.

View Jay Dotson's Expert Picks

Let's take a look at 3 drivers worth a look for bettors.

Jimmie Johnson is worth a look in this week's race.  Johnson is set to start 21st, but is patient so his starting position doesn't factor in that much here.  He's overdue for a win, and this could be the week.  He's paying out at +1200 this week and you probably won't find that kind of payout on Jimmie very often.  He finished 5th in this race last season and 13th in the fall race here.  Take a shot on Jimmie.

Kevin Harvick qualified in the 8th starting position this week and with the year he's having so far, he's definitely worth a shot here.  He's paying out +1200, which is a nice payout for a driver the caliber of Harvick.  This track leaves the field a little more open then on other tracks, but he's already got two wins on the season and has made some noise in about every race this season.  Look for Harvick to at least make it interesting.

Carl Edwards is the 3rd driver worth a look in this week's race.  He won the pole and finished 3rd in this race last season.  He's paying out +1800 this week, and with his recent success at the track, makes him an interesting choice this week.  He has a win on the season and he finished in the top 10 last week in Richmond.  Edwards could possibly be the 3rd driver to bring home a 2nd win on the season.

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