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.
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Christopher Bell leads the points standings entering the Talladega weekend.
A look at drivers to watch at Talladega:
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
QUESTIONS TO ANSWER
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.