Originally posted on Race Review Online  |  Last updated 10/4/12

CONCORD, NC - MAY 29: Brad Keselowski, driver of the #22 Discount Tire Dodge, stands on the grid during qualifying for the NASCAR Nationwide Series Tech-Net Auto Service 300 at Charlotte Motor Speedway on May 29, 2010 in Concord, North Carolina. (Photo by Jason Smith/Getty Images for NASCAR)

The two Talladega races are among the most impossible races to predict for fantasy NASCAR.

Like Daytona, the best driver or car doesn’t always win. To win or finish up front at restrictor plate tracks is largely a matter of luck and being in the right place at the right time.

With the pack racing two-by-two and sometimes three-by-three action, you could be the third or fourth row back, but finish outside the top 10. It’s just too hard to pick.

Nevertheless, I’m going to lay picks out there because we still have to pick after all. Here’s my start or park list.

Start Em’

Brad Keselowski

I’m done putting Keselowski on the park em’ list. He’s finally emerged into a true championship contender. At all the tracks previously statistically lousy for “Bad Brad” he’s shown us up and run well and even sometimes won. Now the series goes to the place where Keselowski picked up his first career win and a track where he’s great.

Out of seven career Talladega starts, Keselowski has two wins, three top-5′s, and five top-10’s. With the way he’s running this season, I’d expect lady luck to stay on Keselowski’s side and help him improve his points lead.

Dale Earnhardt Jr.

Junior has struggled during the Chase and that’s one thing I have predicted right. But now, I’m predicting a good string of races for Junior starting this weekend in Talladega. This is the best track for Junior and I think he’s determined to win here.

In 25 races at Dega, Junior has five wins, nine top-5′s, and 13 top-10’s. He has a series-best average running position and the second-best driver rating. I think the Hendrick cars will start up front and that Junior will dominate.

Jeff Gordon

Gordon has been determined and ready to strike since Indianapolis. Unfortunately, wins aren’t coming but solid top-5′s are. He knows he can’t afford another setback and I think he will stay up front all day to avoid the “big one”.

In 39 races at Talladega, Gordon has six wins, 14 top-5′s, and 18 top-10’s. He’s had great cars in all the restrictor plate races this season, but hasn’t had the finishes he’s wanted in getting caught up in other people’s messes. Expect a good run on Sunday from Gordon.

Matt Kenseth

This is a little risky, but I think Kenseth is going to do his best to go out with a bang. He won the Daytona 500, raced very well at Talladega earlier this season, and had another dominating car in Daytona in July. I think the No. 17 team will keep the restrictor plate program going strong and have a good finish Sunday.

In 25 career Talladega races, Kenseth has only four top-5′s and seven top-10’s. Those aren’t great stats, but he’s run well on plate tracks this season. I’ll take a risk on Kenseth for Sunday.

Park Em’

Kasey Kahne

Restrictor plates aren’t usually kind to Kahne. I don’t expect that to change on Sunday. Out of 17 career starts at Talladega, Kahne only has three top-5′s and four top-10’s. He has the 23rd-best average running position and 27th-best driver rating.

I expect  him to draft with Junior most of the day, but get shuffled out and end up in trouble in the end.

Denny Hamlin

Toyotas aren’t usually strong on restrictor plate races and I don’t expect Hamlin’s luck to be any better this time around in Talladega than before. In 13 career races at Dega, he only has three top-5′s and five top-10’s with an average finish is 18.2.

Hamlin’s had some good luck on tracks that he doesn’t normally perform well on. Talladega has a mind of it’s own and punishes drivers for lucky success. I’d expect that on Sunday.

Carl Edwards

Cousin Carl doesn’t race well at ‘Dega and is quite snake bitten at the track. He always seems to find the big one and with his luck this season, I’d expect him to find it again.

In 16 races, he only has one top five and four top 10’s. He may run up front for a while, but expect Edwards to end up out of the race.

Kyle Busch

This is one of Kyle Busch’s worst tracks. Out of 15 career starts, “Rowdy” only has two top-5′s and three top-10’s. In fact, out of all the active drivers that have raced at Talladega lately, Busch ranks 49th. With Toyota’s mainly JGR struggling on plate tracks don’t even think about starting Busch.

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