Nascar Sprint Cup Racing At Talladega – Chaz’s Picks
The Nascar Sprint Cup Series heads to one of my favorite tracks of all time – Talladega. It’s restrictor plate racing at it’s best as everyone holds on for the “big one” to happen which usually does. My picks for the Nascar Sprint Cup race at Talladega after the jump.
As I said, Talladega is one of my favorite tracks, if not my favorite, to watch Nascar racing. It’s so fast, that years ago, Nascar implemented restrictor plates to lower the horsepower of the cars so they would not be so fast. This has made racing unique because it takes a while for the cars to get up to speed. But once they do, they are full throttle! This also makes for some pretty intense looking wrecks because the cars are so close as they race. In fact, most of the drivers call Talladega a “lottery race”.
The track itself is 2.66-miles long, four lanes wide and is banked 33 degrees on each end, with 18-degree banking in the tri-oval. This configuration has produced some of the fastest and most competitive racing in history. Before restrictor plates were introduced, cars could easily run at 220 mph.
Dale Earnhardt Sr. owned Talladega with 10 wins and numerous top 5 and top 10 finishes. His son, Dale Jr. followed in his father’s footsteps as he has 5 wins at the super speedway.
So, now that you know a little history about Talladega, here are my top 10 picks for this weekend’s race:
10. Brad Keselowski – #2 Miller Lite
Even though it’s his only career win, Keselowski has a win already at Talladega in his young career. Talladega is all about drafting and he has proved that he is up to the task with an average finish of 13 at the 2.66 mile track.
9. Mark Martin – #5 Go Daddy.com
Martin has an average finish of 16 at Talladega. The veteran driver for Hendrick racing has 2 wins with 11 top 5′s and 23 top 10′s in his long career. Hendrick racing typically does pretty good at the super sweedways so look for Martin to be up front most of the day.
8. Kurt Busch – #22 Penzoil
Busch usually does pretty good at Talladega with an average finish of 13. He has yet to win, but he does have 6 top 5′s and 13 top 10′s making him a likely pick to finish up in the top 15 at least.
7. Jimmy Johnson – #48 Lowes
The five time Sprint Cup champion is no stranger to ‘Victory Lane’ as he has one win at Talladega with an average finish of 17. He has 4 top 5′s and 8 top 10′s. His only problem has been getting caught up in the big wrecks. If he can avoid early crashes, he should be up in the top 10 for most of the day.
6. Clint Bowyer – #33 Cheerios
Richard Childress racing usually does pretty good at these super speedways. Clint Bowyer is no exception as he has one win under his belt at Taladega. However, with 2 top 5′s and 4 top 10′s, his resume is not that impressive. However, I think this could be a good week for Clint Bower.
5. Jeff Burton – #31 Cat
Another car from Richard Childress Racing, Jeff Burton has 4 top 5′s and 13 top 10′s but has never won at Talladega. However, he is one of the most competitive drivers in the sport and unless he gets caught up in a wreck, look for Burton to be a force.
4. Kevin Harvick – #29 Budweiser
Harvick is as good as any at the super speedways. His career at Talladega includes one win, 5 top 5′s and 9 top 10′s. Back in 2001 he took over for Dale Earnhardt who owned the track, so naturally since Harvick is “back in black” this year, could the magic of Earnhardt propel Harick to a top 5 finish? I don’t know, but he’s good at Talladega so don’t be surprised if you see that black bud up front most of the day.
3. Tony Stewart – #14 Office Depot
The name of the game at Talladega is drafting and Stewart has mastered that art along with his favorite drafting partner, Dale Earnhardt Jr. Smoke’s average finish is 15 with 1 win, 9 top 5′s and 12 top 10′s. Sometimes he likes to hang out in the back of the pack but look for him to be up front at the end of the race and possibly pushing for the win.
2. Jeff Gordon – #24 Dupont
Gordon is a machine at Talladega. He is second in all time wins behind Dale Earnhardt Sr. with 6. He has 13 top 5′s and 17 top 10′s making him an odds on favorite to win. The only reason he doesn’t finish higher on my list is because of the third all time winner at Talladega, Dale Earnhardt Jr.
1. Dale Earnhardt Jr. – #88 National Gaurd
Even though he is behind Jeff Gordon as far as all time wins at Talladega, Earnhardt Jr. is my favorite to win this weekend. He has 5 wins at Talladega with an unprecedented 4 wins in a row during one stretch. His 8 top 5′s and 11 top 10′s don’t even begin to tell the story of how this dude can race at the super speedways. Like his father, Jr owns Talladega.
So, there is my top 10 picks for Talladega. It’s really hard to pick because at any time, the race can be changed by the “big one” which is a wreck that tends to collect a lot of cars at one time. So basically it’s anybody’s game.
Is your favorite driver not on my list or you want to submit your own list, leave your comments below.