Talladega, Ala – It’s Talladega time. Sunday’s Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series race at the 2.66-mile Talladega Superspeedway should be a wild one. That’s normal though. But, there are several drivers that could end long winless droughts in Sunday’s Geico 500 (2 p.m. ET/FOX/MRN/SiriusXM NASCAR Radio) on the high speed, high banked restrictor plate track.
Clint Bowyer already ended a 190 race winless drought a few weeks ago in Martinsville. These five drivers could join him in ending those droughts.
AJ Allmendinger (131 Race Drought, Last Win 8/10/2014 at Watkins Glen)
He hasn’t won since Aug. 10, 2014 at Watkins Glen. In fact, the win on the New York road course is his lone Cup victory. That could change on Sunday. Allmendinger finished in the top 10 in his last two Daytona 500 starts, including a third place run in 2016. His No. 47 Chevrolet can be a contender to win this weekend as long as he stays out of trouble.
Aric Almirola (135 Race Drought, Last Win 7/6/2014 at Daytona)
This is the most realistic on this list. Almriola, is Bowyer’s SHR teammate. What a feat it would be to have two of their drivers end long winless droughts in the same season. Almirola, was two corners away from winning the season opening Daytona 500. Unfortunately, his was wrecked on the backstretch while leading on the final lap.
But, over his last three Talladega starts, he’s finished in the top 10 in each. He was eighth, fourth and fifth respectively.
His No. 10 Ford can win on Sunday.
Jamie McMurray (157 Race Drought, Last Win 10/20/2013 at Talladega)
Like Almirola, McMurray’s last victory came on a plate track. But, unlike Almirola, McMurray’s last win was actually at Talladega itself. He last won in this very No. 1 Chevrolet in the fall race in 2013. He hasn’t won since though. But, this could be his weekend. McMurray, is normally an aggressive plate racer already. But, with seeing how this season has gone for him, he needs to be extra aggressive on Sunday. It may be one his lone shots of victory in 2018 and be one of his few shots to make the playoffs.
He finished in the top four in each of the last two Talladega spring races. He was fourth in 2016 and second last year.
David Ragan (179 Race Drought, Last Win 5/5/2013 at Talladega)
Like McMurray, his last win was at Talladega. It actually came in the same year. Ragan, won the spring race five years ago this weekend. Furthermore, he’s been much quicker in 2018 compared to the last few years. He finished 10th in both Talladega races for the smaller budgeted team last year and had a four race span from 2012 to 2013 on the track with finishes of seventh, fourth, first and sixth respecctively.
Paul Menard (241 Race Drought, Last Win 7/31/2011 at Indy)
He had a chance to win the season opening Daytona 500. Menard, brought his No. 21 Ford home sixth. The Wood Brothers car itself is always a factor on plate tracks. This weekend will be no different. In fact, over his last five plate starts, Menard finished fifth, third and sixth respectively at Daytona and ninth and 12th respectively in Talladega.
He will be a factor too this weekend.