Back to News

April 19, 2024

NASCAR survivor pool: NASCAR.com’s 36 for 36 picks for Talladega


A general graphic saying 36 for 36
NASCAR

NASCAR.com’s 36 for 36 continues at Talladega Superspeedway.

With 36 races and 36 full-time Charter cars, our players select one car per race, but there’s a simple twist: once they’ve made the pick, they can’t choose that car again for the rest of the 36-race season. Yes, that means every car will be selected exactly once … a survivor pool, by another name.

Follow along weekly as our panel of pickers — Dustin Albino from Jayski, along with Steve Luvender and Cameron Richardson from NASCAR.com — embarks on a season-long journey to think like strategists and prove their picking prowess.

We’ll also feature a fourth “community” 36 for 36 pick each week, as decided by fan vote on the r/NASCAR subreddit. Can the collective vote topple our trio of full-timers?

Current Standings:

RankNamePointsBehind
T-1Steve Luvender284
T-1Dustin Albino284
3Cameron Richardson235-49
4r/NASCAR Community219-65

Race 10 of 36: Talladega

A wild race at Texas last week resulted in three top-10 finishes for our pickers and tightened up the points battle. Points leader Steve Luvender ended up with 13 points after his pick, Harrison Burton, finished 28th Sunday, the lowest-earning total on our panel. The r/NASCAR community selected Carson Hocevar, who picked up his best-ever finish (10th) and 27 points – a good call by the “hivemind.” Dustin Albino’s strategic choice of Daniel Suárez netted him 32 points from the No. 99’s fifth-place effort, while Cameron Richardson moved into second place overall after his pick of Brad Keselowski finished second with 40 points.

Now, our pickers face Talladega Superspeedway, a track where truly anything can happen. With our panelists all within 49 points of each other, it’s possible for anyone to leave ‘Dega with the points lead.

Jayski’s Dustin Albino: No. 21, Harrison Burton

Dustin’s pick last week: No. 99, Daniel Suárez
Points earned last week: 32 (fifth-place finish)
Total season points: 201 (fourth place)

Dustin: There has been little to cheer about through the first quarter of the 2024 season for Burton and the No. 21 team. However, he does drive a Ford that is affiliated with Team Penske, an organization that has seen plenty of success at Talladega for more than a decade. And though Atlanta Motor Speedway is a different beast than Talladega, many of the same principles apply. Atlanta is the site of Burton’s only top-25 finish this season, where the No. 21 car placed 11th.

NASCAR.com’s Steve Luvender: No. 38, Todd GillilandSteve’s pick last week: No. 21, Harrison Burton
Points earned last week: 13 (28th-place finish)
Total season points: 250 (first place)

Steve: My points lead is shrinking, and Talladega makes me nervous. But, nonetheless, it’s Todd Time! Todd Gilliland has finished 12th or better in the last three Talladega races, which is no easy feat. And let’s not forget his recent performances on drafting tracks, too, including 16 laps spent pacing the field in the Daytona 500 and 58 laps led the next week at Atlanta.

NASCAR.com’s Cameron Richardson: No. 51, Justin Haley
Cameron’s pick last week: No. 6, Brad Keselowski
Points earned last week: 40 (second-place finish)
Total season points: 211 (second place)

Cameron: Some would consider this a burn pick for a wild-card track like Talladega, but don’t be fooled, Justin Haley is an absolute unit on superspeedways. Call it luck, but Haley has finished on the lead lap and inside the top 20 in six of his eight Cup starts at Talladega. The No. 51 also found itself up toward the front early in the Final Stage of the Daytona 500 in February. Five of Haley’s eight national series victories have come at superspeedways, and if he has a clean race heading toward the frontstretch on the final lap, expect Haley to be up there battling for the win.

r/NASCAR Community: No. 51, Justin Haleyr/NASCAR’s pick last week: No. 77, Carson Hocevar
Points earned last week: 27 (10th-place finish)
Total season points: 207 (third place)

The r/NASCAR community selected Justin Haley for Talladega in this week’s voting thread. He’s considered a solid underdog pick for Sunday, and Reddit agrees.

u/FridgusDomin8or: “Haley is known as a great plate racer and now he’s in a Ford with a solid alliance with RFK. Rick Ware has run good on these tracks in the past. He’s our guy this week”

u/ProjectMobius: “Has a Ford, at a superspeedway. This is one of his best chances this year, and we have to pick him at some point.”

u/SeattlePassedTheBall: “This is my pick. He was known for being one of the best super speedway racers in Xfinity and this is his best chance to punch above his weight in that car.”

u/Number9Rocks: “I think this is a good track to use for Justin Haley he is a great Superspeedway racer and he has shown a lot of speed in that Rick Ware car this year.”

Check back next week to see how our pickers fared at Talladega as the season-long 36 for 36 journey continues.

And, if you’ve got a competitive itch beyond meticulously managing your Fantasy Live lineup each week, feel free to save or print your own 36 for 36 sheet and see if you can beat our pickers and the Reddit community!

MUST WATCH