Odds Are Sunday’s Alabama 500 (2 p.m. ET/NBC/MRN) Will Go To Overtime, May Have Non Playoff Winner

This comes without too much controversy, but expect Sunday’s Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series race at the Talladega Superspeedway to end in overtime. After all, there’s a ton writing on this weekend’s penultimate race of the second round. With superspeedways normally producing hectic, edge of your seat racing, throw in stage points and playoff implications, and you get “big ones” as in plural.

Statistics show that this weekend’s race will end in overtime already.

The race in the spring ended in overtime, with Ricky Stenhouse Jr. taking his No. 17 Ford to victory lane. On top of that, the fall race at the 2.66-mile Alabama track has ended in overtime more often than not lately. That’s not a shock due to the reasons stated above. Everyone is pushing harder at the end of the annual October race because every position matters. 

TALLADEGA, AL – MAY 07: Cars race during the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series GEICO 500 at Talladega Superspeedway on May 7, 2017 in Talladega, Alabama. (Photo by Jerry Markland/Getty Images)

Furthermore, five of the last seven Alabama 500’s (2 p.m. ET/NBC/MRN) have ended up in overtime anyways.

I expect Sunday’s race to follow that trend.

Also, don’t be shocked to see a non playoff driver win Sunday too. Five times has that feat happened since the playoffs were adopted. Dale Jarrett was the first non playoff driver to do so in 2005, while Brian Vickers accomplished that very same feat just one year later. Jamie McMurray has done it twice in 2009 and most recently in 2013, while Clint Bowyer sandwiched McMurray’s wins with a victory as a non playoff driver in 2009.

It seems to happen in odd years too.

2005, 2009, 2011, 2013…2017?

There’s plenty of drivers that come to mind to do so this weekend too.

Joey Logano has won the fall race at Talladega the last two years. David Ragan is always a strong restrictor plate racer and nearly won the July race at Daytona this year. Michael McDowell is wanting to leave a lasting impression as he heads to free agency. Kasey Kahne has had his best results of the season on restrictor plate tracks. Then there’s Dale Earnhardt Jr. He knows this is honestly his last chance to win a Cup race, and what better spot to do so than the destination where his dad last won a Cup race. Oh by the way, Dale Earnhardt Sr.’s last Cup win came on Oct. 15, 2000. Sunday is Oct. 15, 2017.

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