The NASCAR Cup playoffs head to the series’ least predictable track for the second race of the Round of 12 this weekend at Talladega Superspeedway. No one enters with better than 12-to-1 odds and with good reason: the playoff round at Talladega is typically a crashfest. The last five fall races there have averaged nine cautions and 40 out of the 188 laps run under the yellow flag.
Here is everything you need to know for the YellaWood 500:
NASCAR Cup Series Talladega weekend schedule and how to watch
Fans in the United States can watch the race on NBC or the NBC Sports app (cable or satellite subscription required). Radio coverage is available on the Motor Racing Network and SiriusXM.
(All times ET)
Saturday, Oct. 1
Qualifying: 10:30 a.m. – Noon ET (NBC Sports app, MRN, SiriusXM)
Sunday, Oct. 2
Pre-race show: 1 – 2 p.m. ET (NBC)
YellaWood 500: 2 – 5 p.m. ET (NBC, MRN, SiriusXM)
Post-race show: 5 – 6 p.m. ET (NBC)
Bowman out with concussion
Alex Bowman – currently 12th in the playoff standings, 26 points below the cut line – will not race this weekend due to a concussion he suffered in a crash last weekend at Texas Motor Speedway. Xfinity Series points leader Noah Gragson, who has made 13 cup starts this season splitting time between Beard Motorsports and Kaulig Racing, will substitute for Bowman in the No. 48 Hendrick Motorsports machine.
Top drivers and best bets for the YellaWood 500
As noted above, an unpredictable race produces very long odds. According to BetMGM six playoff drivers all enter with the best odds at +1200, comprising Ryan Blaney, William Byron, Ross Chastain, Chase Elliott, Denny Hamlin and Joey Logano.
Yahoo Sports’ Nick Bromberg suggests finding good mid-tier value in 2021 YellaWood 500 winner Bubba Wallace and six-time Talladega winner Brad Keselowski, who both enter at +1600. He suggests staying away from 2021 series champion Kyle Larson (also +1600) as his expertise lies more on short tracks and road courses.
NASCAR Cup Series playoff standings
Joey Logano – 3,071
Ross Chastain – 3,059
Kyle Larson – 3,057
Ryan Blaney – 3,056
Denny Hamlin – 3,059
Daniel Suarez – 3,045
Chase Elliott – 3,045
Chase Briscoe – 3,041
Austin Cindric – 3,034
William Byron – 3,033
Christopher Bell – 3,016
Alex Bowman – 3,015
Weather forecast for the YellaWood 500
It is forecast to be beautiful in northeast Alabama with temperatures in the upper 70s, partly cloudy skies and no chance of precipitation.