Five drivers to watch at Talladega Superspeedway

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Here are the drivers to keep an eye on this weekend at Talladega Superspeedway:

88-Dale Earnhardt Jr.

Over his last 10 plate races, Dale Jr. has notched three victories, including two in his past five plate races. In regards to Loop Data at Talladega, he’s tops in Average Running Position (13.6) and Laps in Top 15 (63.8 %) since the inception of Loop Data in 2005.

48-Jimmie Johnson

Johnson has been hit-or-miss recently in Talladega results with finishes of 13th, 23rd, 24th, 2nd, and 18th in his last five races there. However, during that span, he’s averaged 43 laps led per race – and that’s even with just two laps led in Spring 2014.

11-Denny Hamlin

Hamlin led 95 laps on the way to his Daytona 500 win in February. It makes up a good chunk of the 148 laps he’s led over his last 10 restrictor-plate races. Nonetheless, he’s posted seven Top-10 finishes during that stretch (which includes not just his Daytona win but also a Talladega win in Spring 2014).

19-Carl Edwards

Edwards comes off back-to-back wins but has never won a restrictor-plate race in his Cup career. However, he may finally be up for it after producing fifth-place finishes in his last two plate races (Talladega – Fall 2015 and 2016 Daytona 500). Edwards also is looking to pull off his first three-race win streak ever.

20-Matt Kenseth

Will Talladega bring the big result that Kenseth’s been missing this season? Kenseth has led the most laps (314) over the last 10 Talladega races (which includes a 2012 win). However, he’s led a combined five laps over his last four ‘Dega starts, which have seen him finish 37th, 2nd, 25th, and 26th.