NASCAR Playoffs Heading to Talladega Superspeedway

NASCAR Cup Series coming to green flag at Talladega Superspeedway 10-04-21
NASCAR Cup Series coming to green flag at Talladega Superspeedway 10-04-21 (Photo credit: YouTube)

The second race in the Round of 12 in the NASCAR Playoffs is the YellaWood 500 this Sunday, October 2nd at the Talladega Superspeedway.

Last year this race was postponed by rain to a Monday race. Then, it was full of wrecks and shortened by rain just a few laps from the end of stage two. Bubba Wallace claimed his first Cup Series win as a result.

Even if you take the weather out of the mix, racing at Talladega is always a wild card. The pack racing, the drafting and the high speeds can create chaos at a moment’s notice. The twelve drivers still in championship contention will have extra anxiety driving to the green flag this week. Below are those drivers in their current ranked positions for the Playoffs.

RankDriverPointsRace WinsStage WinsPlayoff Pts+/- Cutoff
1Joey Logano (P)3,071252530
2Ross Chastain (P)3,059252018
3William Byron (P)3,058241517
4Kyle Larson (P)3,057242016
5Ryan Blaney (P)3,056061415
6Denny Hamlin (P)3,04923138
7Daniel Suarez (P)3,0451274
8Chase Elliott (P)3,04545404
9Chase Briscoe (P)3,041149-4
10Austin Cindric # (P)3,034116-11
11Christopher Bell (P)3,0161413-29
12Alex Bowman (P)3,015127-30
*The drivers in 9th through 12th are currently below the cutline for this round of the Playoffs.

Here is what all the drivers, Playoff contenders or not, will be facing.

Talladega Superspeedway Data
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

YellaWood 500 Data
Season Race #: 31 of 36 (10-02-22)
Playoff Race #: 5 of 10
Race Length: 188 laps / 500 miles
Stage 1 & 2 Length: 60 laps (each)
Final Stage Length: 68 laps

This is how the 12 remaining NASCAR Playoff drivers stack up at Talladega Superspeedway.

RankDriverRacesPolesWinsTop FivesTop 10sDNFsAverage FinishDriver Rating 
1Joey Logano2703911917.590.4 
2Ross Chastain70111019.658.0 
3William Byron90022319.085.4 
4Kyle Larson150013523.176.0 
5Ryan Blaney160235416.991.1 
6Denny Hamlin3302914516.983.5 
7Daniel Suárez110001422.166.2 
8Chase Elliott132146315.289.3 
9Chase Briscoe30000120.757.3 
10Austin Cindric10000021.057.9 
11Christopher Bell51011122.473.7 
12Alex Bowman140014624.474.2 
* – Based on last 35 races at Talladega Superspeedway (2005 – 2022).

There has not been a Playoff driver win a race to this point in the 2022 NASCAR post-season. Brad Keselowski has the most wins at Talladega among active drivers. He has six victories at the track. His most recent was the April race at the track last year. He could have a very good chance at playing spoiler to the Playoff drivers this week.

The “on the edge” nature of racing at Talladega will make it possible that anybody could win this week. A driver has to avoid being the wrong place at the wrong time during the race to be in the right place at the right time near the end of the race. That could present the chance for a win for anybody racing.

We will see how it all plays out Sunday, October 2nd at 1 p.m. central time (2 p.m. eastern time) in the YellaWood 500 at Talladega Superspeedway.

By: Buck Stevens

Buck Stevens