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Drivers to watch in NASCAR Cup Series race at Talladega Superspeedway

Dale Jarrett, Parker Kligerman, and Kim Coon review how pit strategy and work away from the track in the simulator helped Kyle Larson win at Martinsville, a track that historically hasn't suited his driving style.

After three consecutive short track races, the NASCAR Cup Series returns to high speeds and drafting this weekend at Talladega Superspeedway in Alabama.

Sunday’s 500-mile race will mark the third high-banks drafting event of the season. Ricky Stenhouse Jr. won the Daytona 500 in February, and Joey Logano finished first last month at Atlanta Motor Speedway.

MORE: Kyle Larson new No. 1 in power rankings

Christopher Bell leads the points standings entering the Talladega weekend.

A look at drivers to watch at Talladega:


Kevin Harvick

  • Points position: 3rd
  • Best seasonal finish: 5th (Auto Club, Phoenix 1, Richmond 1)
  • Past at Talladega: Four top 10s in past six races, won in 2010

Harvick, in his final full-time season as a driver, will be making his 800th career start at Talladega. He is the fifth youngest driver to reach that total. Harvick finished 10th and 29th at Talladega last year.

Ross Chastain

  • Points position: 2nd
  • Best seasonal finish: 3rd (Auto Club, Richmond 1)
  • Past at Talladega: Finished first and fourth last year

Chastain won this race last year and finished fourth in the October Talladega race. He has raced well on all drafting tracks.

Chase Elliott

  • Points position: 32nd
  • Best seasonal finish: 2nd (Auto Club)
  • Past at Talladega: First (October) and seventh (April) at Talladega last year

Elliott, returning to racing Sunday after missing six events because of a broken leg, surprised many by finishing a strong 10th at Martinsville. He has won twice at Talladega and could be a threat to win for the first time this year.


Ryan Preece

  • Points position: 28th
  • Best seasonal finish: 12th (Phoenix 1)
  • Past at Talladega: Best career finish is 3rd

Preece is still looking for answers after a rough start to the season. He won the pole and led the first 135 laps at Martinsville but made a mistake leaving the pits, absorbing a speeding penalty. Preece ranks seventh in laps led this year but is one of four full-time drivers yet to finish in the top 10.

Ryan Blaney

  • Points position: 10th
  • Best seasonal finish: 2nd (Phoenix 1)
  • Past at Talladega: Two wins -- 2019, 2020

Another week and another chance for Blaney to come in from the cold. His 55-race winless streak is his longest since he started his Cup career with a 67-race winless streak. He was runner-up last October at Talladega and has won two of the past seven races there. Team Penske has won eight of the past 15 Talladega races.

Kyle Busch

  • Points position: 8th
  • Best seasonal finish: First (Auto Club)
  • Past at Talladega: Only career win: April 2008

Busch has failed to finish in the top 10 in the past three races. His Talladega record is not impressive -- he has nine finishes of 13th or worse in the past 11 races.