- Denny Hamlin is the favorite this week at the YellaWood 400 on Sunday, October 3rd, 2021
- The “Race For The Chase” continues as the Round of 12 hits the superspeedway
- We’ve got you covered with all the odds and trends ahead of Sunday afternoon’s race at Talladega
NASCAR heads to Talladega for the YellaWood 500 on Sunday afternoon. This is after the race at Las Vegas, where Denny Hamlin took the lead with 39 laps to go and held off Chase Elliott to win. Hamlin now has advanced to the Round Of 8.
Let’s look at the YellaWood 500 odds from the Talladega Superspeedway and figure out which drivers are the best bets.
NASCAR YellaWood 500 Odds
|Driver||Odds to Win||Odds to Finish Top Three||Odds to Finish Top Five|
|Martin Truex Jr.||+2500||+850||+350|
Odds as of September 30th at DraftKings
Denny Hamlin Very Slight Favorite to Win at Talladega
NASCAR drivers will run on the 2.66-mile Talladega Superspeedway when the flag drops for the Sunday afternoon race beginning around 2:00 PM EST.
At Las Vegas, Hamlin dominated during the long run and took advantage of poor pit strategies by Hendrick Motorsports Racing. The first two stages are 60 laps each, but the third and final stage is just 68 laps. With the race being held in October during the afternoon, it still may be warm. So, track temperatures may be a slight issue, and yes, thunderstorms. The current forecast is optimistic.
That may favor Hamlin here because he has definite success the second time around at Talladega. In the last four Fall races, Hamlin has finished in the top six each time. The Joe Gibbs Racing driver won last year while leading just 26 laps. There were also 12 overtime laps which helped Hamlin to victory as well.
Now, as an aside, did anyone notice those bunched-up odds again? This superspeedway often lengthens odds. First, here is the starting grid.
— Eric Smith (@Eric_RaceReview) September 29, 2021
Denny Hamlin starts at the pole based on metrics. Again, the top 12 in the playoff chase get the preference here as far as starting order. Throw out most driver ratings here among the dominators, in particular. This is just one of those races where everyone gets bunched up because almost anyone can win.
Plus, the second race of this three-race trilogy carries features the last superspeedway race of 2021. Joe Gibbs Racing drivers have won just one of the last seven Fall races at Talladega. This year has been a different story on superspeedway tracks. Hendricks Motorsports has led the way headlined by Kyle Larson. Larson won at Nashville, but Brad Keselowski won at Talladega earlier in the season.
YellaWood 500 Recent Winners
|Year||Race Winner||Pole Position||Most Laps Led|
|2020||Denny Hamlin — Chip Ganassi Racing||Denny Hamlin — Joe Gibbs Racing||Joey Logano — Team Penske|
|2019||Ryan Blaney — Team Penske||Chase Elliott — Hendrick Motorsports Racing||Ryan Blaney — Team Penske|
|2018||Aric Almirola — Stewart-Haas Racing||Kurt Busch — Stewart-Haas Racing||Kurt Busch — Stewart-Haas Racing|
|2017||Brad Keselowski — Team Penske||Dale Earnhardt Jr. — Hendrick Motosports Racing||Joey Logano — Team Penske|
|2016||Joey Logano — Team Penske||Martin Truex Jr. — Furniture Row Racing||Brad Keselowski — Team Penske|
The race is normally 188 laps but overtime has occurred in six of the previous eight Fall races at Talladega. It has been an afternoon race to attract more of an audience and probably to increase some carnage.
Can Team Penske Do It Again at Talladega?
Sports bettors have a small window of history when it comes to the Team Penske drivers. However, Ryan Blaney has taken a slight upturn in the NASCAR Cup Series odds, but here is where it gets fun. Blaney has joined in the fun with Joey Logano and Brad Keselowski when it comes to Talladega.
Team Penske has dominated the Fall race at Talladega for the past seven years — winning five of them. That includes back-to-back victories (2015 and 2016) by Logano. Four of the last five races here have seen a Team Penske car lead the most laps as well. Ryan Blaney is the most recent winner from the team in 2019.
— Talladega Superspeedway (@TALLADEGA) September 20, 2021
So, who do you go with among the three? That is the big question. All three have won races on the track, and any one of them could cross the checkered line first on Sunday.
Kyle Larson or Kyle Busch Worth a Shot?
The problem with the two Kyle’s is the results of late at the Superspeedway. Kyle Busch has finished outside the top ten in four straight Fall races on the 2.66-mile track. For a variety of reasons, a number of pit issues and speed problems have plagued the Joe Gibbs Racing driver. Then, there was the crash last year when the No. 18 had a shot at contending.
As for Kyle Larson, it has not been much better. There was that infamous incident where someone left a piece of metal in his car engine’s manifold. Larson’s car never got up to full speed and he had to retire early. It has just been a total mixed bag for the No. 5 car. He has four DNF’s in his last seven Talladega appearances. Even the races he finished, Larson finished 12th and 13th.
Larson needs a result at Talladega as much as the younger Busch. Neither are expected to contend, however. It could be a Chase Elliott, Denny Hamlin, one of the Penske’s, or even Chris Buescher?
That’s correct. There’s many directions to go.
Here are our best bets:
- Top Pick: Ryan Blaney to win (+1000)
- Medium Shot: Aric Almirola (+2000)
- Longshot: Chris Buescher (+4000)
- Aric Almirola Top 3 (+650), Denny Hamlin Top 5 (+130), Chris Buescher Top 10 (+170), Top 5 (+500)