While nothing is certain leading into a restrictor plate race for any NASCAR event on the schedule, one thing that is becoming as sure of a thing as ever is that Ford will be the favorites to land in victory lane in the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series at either Daytona or Talladega. Since the July Daytona race in 2014, Ford drivers have won 12 of the last 17 points paying restrictor plate races.
That’s a 71-percent success rate.
But, over the last 10 races, they’re 8-for-10 (80%).
Ford drivers won three of the four plate races in 2016 with the only exception being Denny Hamlin’s Daytona 500 triumph. In 2017, they won all four plate races while taking one of the three so far in 2018.
The common denominator out of all of those is Team Penske has produced five of those eight wins. In fact, they’ve won the last four 1000Bulbs.com 500’s with Brad Keselowski winning in 2014 and 2017 and Joey Logano taking the checkered flag first in 2015 and again in 2016. Logano, also won the spring race back in April while Keselowski won the 2016 spring race too.
Combined, out of the last five Talladega Cup Series races, Penske has won four of them and Ford in general has won every Talladega race on the Cup level since the fall of 2015.
Logano, enters this weekend with six top 10 finishes over his last eight starts on the season. While he hasn’t won in the 19 races since his spring Talladega victory, he certainly will be a contender in Sunday’s race (2 p.m. ET/NBC/MRN/SiriusXM NASCAR Radio).
If you want to count the Daytona Speedweeks races in this, Logano has three top two finishes and a fourth place run in five restrictor plate races in 2018. If you go all the way back to his win at Talladega in Oct. 2015, the Penske driver has four wins, four runner-ups, 11 top four’s and 14 top 10 finishes in his last 18 overall plate starts.
Find me someone better.
Keselowski, is close.
Logano’s Team Penske teammate has four restrictor plate wins since 2016. Out of his 28 career Cup Series victories, Speedweeks races included, seven have come on plate tracks. Out of those seven plate wins, five have come at Talladega.
Ryan Blaney should be a factor too. He won his Duel in Daytona and had three top seven finishes in as many races at Daytona back in Speedweeks. He even led a race high 118 of the 207 Laps in the season opening Daytona 500.
Overall, expect a Ford driver to win on Sunday and if that happens, look for it to be a Penske driver.