There’s going to be a whole lot of drafting in the next week or so of sports, but in the NASCAR version of competition — there is no Mr. Irrelevant. That goes for the competitors driving the stock cars and for the paint schemes that make these cars jump out.
You can leave Mr. Irrelevant to the sports draft with the oblong ball. Every competitor matters in the NASCAR draft at Talladega, and every car has its own unique personality.
Here’s a look at this weekend’s paint schemes for the Geico 500 at ‘Dega, which is set for a green flag at 3 p.m. EST on FOX.
Here’s a look at Bubba Wallace’s Columbia Sportswear Company Toyota, a scheme that Michael Jordan and fellow competitor Denny Hamlin both approved of.
Front Row Motorsports
Todd Gilliland (No. 36) will be in the gener8tor Skills Ford this weekend, while Michael McDowell will be sporting the gold colors in his No. 34 Love’s Travel Stops Ford.
The Hendrick quartet isn’t deviating too much from its usual, dominant paint scheme look. It’s only a matter of which one will blur past you at the head of the pack.
A.J. Allmendinger (No. 16) and Justin Haley (No. 31) are ready to draft for Kaulig Racing, sporting the Farmsmart and Leaf Filter Gutter Protection paint schemes respectively.
Legacy Motor Club
No NASCAR race would be complete without the historic No. 43 Cup Series entry, and Eric Jones is handling that well in the U.S. Air Force machine. Noah Gragson will wheel the No. 42 Wendy’s Chevy.
RFK Racing has the No. 1 current winner in the Cup Series when it comes to Talladega. The No. 6’s Brad Keselowski would love to take sole possession of the No. 2 spot in career wins at ‘Dega with 7, behind only Dale Earnhardt, Sr. (10 wins). Chris Buescher (No. 17 Ford) is usually pretty good on plate tracks, too.
Richard Childress Racing
RCR has two cars ready for the Cup Series battle (top – No. 3 Austin Dillon and No. Kyle Busch) as well as its Xfinity Entries (No. 2 Sheldon Creed and No. 21 Austin Hill). This team typically performs well at plate tracks like ‘Dega.
Tony Stewart has certainly had some wild moments at Talladega. Will Kevin Harvick (No. 4 Mobil 1 machine) pick up a win at the plate track, or could Aric Almirola work his usual magic on these tracks in the No. 10 Smithfield Ford? And how about Chase Briscoe in the No. 14 Mahindra Tractors YOG Ford?
Penske will run three cars this weekend at ‘Dega, with Austin Cindric (No. 2 Menards Ford), Ryan Blaney (No. 12 Wurth car), and Joey Logano (No. 22 Shell Penzoil/Autrotrader) ready to roll.
This has always been a track that surprises fans. A driver who comes in 29th place in the season standings could end up winning, putting him into the NASCAR postseason automatically. What paint scheme will we see in victory lane on Sunday evening? Because as many drivers will tell you, if your car looks good, it runs just a little bit faster — and a little bit goes a long way at a plate track.