Podium Preview: 1000Bulbs.Com 500 at Talladega

As shown above, William Byron and Chase Elliott ally for today's 1000Bulbs.Com 500 at Talladega. (Photo Credit: Brian Lawdermilk/Getty Images)

As shown above, William Byron and Chase Elliott ally for today’s 1000Bulbs.Com 500 at Talladega. (Photo Credit: Brian Lawdermilk/Getty Images)

By all means, today’s 1000Bulbs.Com 500 at Talladega will provide as many twists and turns as Game of Thrones.  Of course, Talladega Superspeedway and its hauntingly steep banked corners and long straights invite treachery and bravery.

With that in mind, a balance between courage and audacity is necessary but not absolutely what every racer will observe.  Instead, brokering deals between allied manufacturers or affiliated teams may prove paramount.  Ultimately, no matter if you’re a racer, crew member, journalist, or official, this is one helluva race.  Heck, even the spring race proved exciting!

Today, Ashley HobbsCody ShoppeJose Acero JrKobe LambethMatt SisolerStephen ConleyTanner Brown, and yours contemplate the possibilities of alliances at Talladega plus the exciting Class of 2020 for Cup!

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Question 1
Will party lines ultimately decide today's 1000Bulbs.Com 500 at Talladega? (Photo Credit: Brian Lawdermilk/Getty Images)

Will party lines ultimately decide today’s 1000Bulbs.Com 500 at Talladega? (Photo Credit: Brian Lawdermilk/Getty Images)

We’ve seen manufacturers banding together at the biggest superspeedways (Daytona and Talladega).  Might we see this trend continue even more so, particularly with those in the Playoffs?

Acero : Oh yeah! We know the Fords and the Chevys will do anything to prevent a Toyota from getting to VL. We may even see a Bowtie and a Blue Oval hook up! It’s going to be a great race regardless and desperate drivers do desperate things! 

Conley :  Absolutely! Especially with the Chevy camp. Austin Dillon said it really takes a lot of pressure off knowing you have someone that is going to stay with you. Drivers can focus forward and not spend so much time looking out the back window. For those that don’t like it, “they probably don’t have enough manufacturer teammates. 

Shoppe :  This will happen again for sure! While I doubt we will see teamwork perfected to the extent we saw Stewart-Haas Racing last year in this race, it will be a big part of the race Sunday. This time around there are few teams with all their cars still alive in the playoffs so it will be interesting to see who will stay loyal to their make/team and who will ditch their group and go for it themselves! 

Sisoler :  I fully think this trend is going to continue as we head into this race, however, I think there could be a twist. Teams that are battling for spots in the next round of the playoffs might be making deals with teams that are not in the playoffs to help them. Those teams not in the playoffs that don’t have grudges against that driver (*cough* Bubba Wallace vs. Alex Bowman *cough*) could be more willing to work with their driver than other playoff contenders, at least until the race gets down to crunch time.

Tiongson :  I see this continuing but perhaps with more patience and cunning than the past two big track races. “The Big One” at Daytona in July was mainly because of stormy weather looming. Beyond manufacturer loyalties on Sunday, I believe we will see teams and allied organizations band together…until lap 188.

Question 2
All things considered, can Christopher Bell carryover his NXS success to Cup in 2020? (Photo Credit: Matteo Marcheschi/TPF)

All things considered, can Christopher Bell carryover his NXS success to Cup in 2020? (Photo Credit: Matteo Marcheschi/TPF)

With Christopher Bell and Tyler Reddick running full-time Cup racing in 2020, might we see a competitive rookie battle?  Also, might this battle include Cole Custer if he were to find a Cup ride in 2020?

Brown :  I believe next year’s rookie battle could be the best we’ve seen in years. Both drivers will be in competitive rides that have the speed to compete every week. I think we all know the 95 will be even faster next year with a closer alliance with Gibbs, but the question will be how much will RCR step up their program next year with Tyler Reddick. If Cole Custer was able to find a competitive cup ride next year, then that would just be icing on the cake for what is already shaping up to be a historic rookie battle!

Hobbs :  If these two young guys bring the competitive edge from the XFINITY Series over to the Cup Series, I foresee some tight competition between them. They have gone tit-for-tat in the XFINITY Series. And it would be great to see that happen again with their move. The only factor is the equipment they are in and what they can do with it. While the Leavine Family Racing camp is a bit better/faster than the Richard Childress Racing camp this year, who knows what new drivers will bring to the table.

Lambeth :  If Richard Childress Racing can make some gains over the offseason, then I think the rookie battle could be somewhat competitive. Christopher Bell is going to have a lot of support from Joe Gibbs Racing and TRD at Leavine Family Racing, so he will have the equipment to be successful. Tyler Reddick is a wheelman, to say the least. Therefore, I believe he has the potential to elevate RCR. If Custer is unable to secure a seat at Stewart-Haas Racing, he has been linked to Go Fas Racing, in a partnership with SHR. This is a piece of the puzzle that has yet to be solved.

Well, we’ve survived two laps around Talladega without any crinkled fenders!  Before we proceed, let’s consider last Sunday’s Drydene 400 at Dover with our race and points reports!
Michigan Matt mostly amassed points with Martin Truex Jr.

Michigan Matt mostly amassed points with Martin Truex Jr.

Meanwhile, the Wolverine State journalist leads the way!

Meanwhile, the Wolverine State journalist leads the way!

In similar vein to Paul McCartney’s track after “Come Together” in Abbey Road, Ashley Hobbs gets her silver hammer. Consequently, let’s start “Crunching the Numbers: 1000Bulbs.Com 500 at Talladega” style!
Lo and behold, RCR proves strong at Talladega.

Lo and behold, RCR proves strong at Talladega.

Since 2004, the race winner has an average starting spot of 12.1, led an average of 22.1 laps, started within the top-five over 33% of the time, while starting inside the top-10 over 66% of the time.

Since 2004, the race winner has an average starting spot of 12.1, led an average of 22.1 laps, started within the top-five over 33% of the time, while starting inside the top-10 over 66% of the time.

Logano thrives in the 1000Bulbs.Com 500.

Logano thrives in the 1000Bulbs.Com 500.

Here's the trends at Talladega since 2009.

Here’s the trends at Talladega since 2009.

Meanwhile, here's the trends at Talladega since 2014.

Meanwhile, here’s the trends at Talladega since 2014.

Our infernal machine predicts Logano as today's winner.

Our infernal machine predicts Logano as today’s winner.

Ultimately, the moment of truth finally arrives on Podium Preview! Here’s our picks for today’ 1000Bulbs.Com 500 at Talladega!
Seven different race picks for today's 1000Bulbs.Com 500 at Talladega? Oh boy.

Seven different race picks for today’s 1000Bulbs.Com 500 at Talladega? Oh boy.

Acero :  Austin Dillon

Brown :  Ryan Blaney breaks his year long winless streak this weekend at Talladega!

Hobbs :  Is it going to be a Playoff driver? Is it going to be a non-Playoff driver? How about a former Playoff driver? Who knows! Every driver has an equal shot when it comes to Talladega. But some have a slight edge over others just because of their history. That is why I am going to choose…Brad Keselowski to head back to victory lane at Talladega Superspeedway.

Shoppe : With the help of the Chevy/HMS teamwork, Chase Elliott will sweep Dega this year much to the fans’ delight! 

Sisoler :  He may have been the fourth of four Hendrick Motorsports drivers in qualifying on Saturday, but I believe he’s gonna be the first of four to the finish line on Sunday. That’s right, he might not be #Chasing8 this year. But don’t count out ol’ seven-time Jimmie Johnson to shake up the running order at Talladega!

Tiongson :  Ryan Newman, are you ready to upset the Playoffs field? If not with a win, look for the Hot Dog man to score a solid top-10 finish because he’s seriously just Newman.

Conley :  He needs to win, and he can do it in the draft. Joey Logano moves on.

Lambeth :  Joey Logano will erase his long day at Dover by winning at Talladega. 

TPF Stats :  Joey Logano has a hole to dig himself out of after the unfortunate events at Dover Speedway. Whether he believes it or not, he is one of the best in the 1000Bulbs.com 500.

Race fans, thanks for joining us for our preview of the 1000Bulbs.Com 500 at Talladega!

We’re ready for some racing. How about you? What do you think are the biggest storylines heading into Sunday’s race and who is your favorite to win?  Tweet us now @ThePodiumFinish and tell us now!

Thanks as always to the TPF team for their amazing efforts this week!  We hope to see you at the races in 2019. 

The opinions and thoughts expressed in Podium Preview are solely of the authors. They do not reflect any organizations affiliated with the participants and author outside of TPF. This weekly feature is strictly for entertainment purposes and are not indicative of TPF, the organization, and its staff.

Rob Tiongson

30-something motorsports journalist who enjoys sports like baseball, basketball, football, soccer, track and field, and hockey. A Boston native turned Austinite, racing was the first sport that caught my eye. From interviews to retrospective articles, if it's about anything with an engine and four wheels, it'll be here on TPF, by me or by one of my talented columnists who absolutely have a passion for racing.

Currently seeking a sports writing, public relations, or sports marketing career, particularly in motorsports. I enjoy editing and writing articles and features, as well as photography.

Graduated from Southern New Hampshire University with a Bachelor of Arts in Communication. Proud to be from Massachusetts, just as happy to be a Texan.

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