The Backstretch Blog: Pac-Men
October 18, 2013
It's time for NASCAR to head to Talladega, the "Chase Wild Card." Yes they run in a big huge pack, and yes the racing will have you on the edge of your seat waiting for the big wreck. Though I would contend, for the top drivers in the sport, it really isn't that wild.
Yes racing in a pack can lead to some hair raisng moments, and yes, there are some drivers that just have awful luck at super speedways, I'm looking at you Ryan Newman. But when you look at the guys at the top of the Sprint Cup series standings at this moment; Matt Kenseth, Jimmie Johnson, Kevin Harvick and Jeff Gordon...all are outstanding on the restrictor plates.
"You have to go into this race with a positive attitude," said Gordon. "With the big-pack racing, there is always the chance of the 'big one.' But you have to approach this race with a positive attitude; fight to avoid whatever may occur and hope that you come out of it with a race car. It doesn't even need to be in one piece. It just needs to get across the (finish) line with a decent finish."
When you look back on the history of the series biggest track, Gordon has been better than decent. He had six wins at Dega. Johnson, Harvick and Kenseth have been better at Daytona, but JJ has two Talladega wins, and the other two a single win in Alabama.
The undisputed King of Dega, is of course Dale Earnhardt, Jr. He has one fewer victory than Gordon, with five. But if you have ever been to the track, you know where the fans allegiances are.
"I've really have had a lot of success at Talladega, a lot of great runs," said Junior. "I feel confident when we go there that we are going to have a good car, going to know how to use it. Hendrick Motorsports has done a great job with this car at Daytona and Talladega. Our confidence level is real good, real high. Hopefully, we get an opportunity to have a good race on Sunday and go to Victory Lane. We really feel like we have a good shot at it and feel like it is about that time for us to win one at Talladega."
Other drivers who have visited victory lane in Tallaega include Clint Bowyer (2), Brad Keselowski (2), Kyle Busch, Bobby Labonte, Michael Waltrip, Jamie McMurray and David Ragan. Tony Stewart and Brian Vickers who are out with injuries have also won in Dega.