NASCAR racing at Talladega, Alabama, one of the most unpredictable weekends in motorsports. Will we have pack racing or two by two or follow the leader? Or maybe a little of all three? And when will ‘the big one’ come?
“Talladega is really a special racetrack to the sport with the history of it and how it was conceived,” said Dale Earnhardt, Jr. “The track eventually turned into one of the most impressive and unique, concerning speed, and how the style of racing that you have is so unique, it’s just amazing what it has been able to deliver year after year.”
It’s also a track were literally every one of the 43 cars on the track has just as good a chance to win the race as it does to be taken out on a lap one pile-up. It’s just a crapshoot.
“Talladega Superspeedway is one of the places we circled to try and go win,” said rookie Austin Dillon. “Talladega is open for everybody to have a really good car like I did last year in the No. 14 car so hopefully I can back that up in the No. 3 car and be there on the white flag lap. It’s all about being there for the white flag so that you can try and win the race.”
Because of the new win and you’re in points system NASCAR has in place this season, and because as I mentioned anyone can win at Dega, Sunday’s race could be wilder than ever.
“I think people take a lot of un-do risk at superspeedways already. I don’t know how much that can increase than it is,” said Brian Vickers. “To a certain extent, it will increase and it’s going to be interesting. Now that we can’t bump draft I think it limits that exposure quite a bit. I think if we were still bump-drafting you would probably see a lot more calamity towards the end. Now it’s a lot more difficult to pass than it used to be.”
Of course not everyone is a fan of the wide open, wild card style that restrictor plate racing at Talladega creates.
"Talladega is one of those tracks that is a necessary evil on our race schedule especially considering my history at the track,” said Ryan Newman. “But, it's like any other track where it provides you with a legitimate chance and opportunity to win. I just have to figure out a so-called antitoxin to stop getting snake bit there because it happens to me more often than any one there."
Thirteen former race winners will be in Sunday’s field. Jeff Gordon leads the way with six Dega wins. Earnhardt, Jr has five with Clint Bowyer, Brad Keselowski, Jimmie Johnson and Jamie McMurrary owning two wins apiece. Vickers, Kyle Busch, Tony Stewart, Kevin Harvick, Matt Kenseth Michael Waltrip and David Ragan each have a single victory.
"I think the strategies that every team has, they’re all a little different,” said Ragan. “Every driver, every crew chief, every spotter really has a different idea on what it takes to win. From what I think will happen, and usually what does happen. But I guarantee the final 10 or 12 laps will probably be as crazy as we’ve ever seen because everyone will be thinking about getting that win like they’ve been thinking about it all year."
The green flag is set to drop on the Aaron's 499 at 12:17 pm Central time with rookie Brian Scott leading the field to the green.