Finally, it’s time for the Aaron’s 499 from Talladega Superspeedway! This track is exciting, but always tends to leave us with a reminder of how tough it is to win at the Superspeedway tracks. The big key to having a decent finish here, is not necessarily running up front the entire race, but trying to stay out of trouble.
In 2005, Dale Jarrett did just that. It was Dale’s last win as a Cup driver, ending his NASCAR Hall of Fame career victorious in a track that is too tough to tame! No one knows whether the big one will come in the beginning of the race or the end, which is tormenting for some drivers.
The biggest question I have going into the Aaron’s 499, “will this be another Daytona 500?” I think it will. As in most cases, I believe NASCAR will always have the fan’s interest, but at the same time, create a safe working environment for their drivers. NASCAR has once again regulated the restrictor plate size for Talladega, something that will drastically change the racing style here. The new plate is 3 sizes smaller than the old plate, which is less power than the previous races. The ARCA, and Nationwide series now has more power at Talladega, than the Sprint Cup Series, which I personally think is wrong. I want these drivers to remain safe, and they have been safe since the tragedy that took place in Daytona back in 2001, but at the same time, the previous races at Talladega has been pure excitement! I have a feeling that this race will once again be 2 car pair-up’s, and the key to getting to the front is finding that fast car. Will the Ford’s new FR9 engine allow them to push as well as they did in Daytona? This remains as a great question that will probably be answered sometime during Happy Hour.
When picking drivers at the Talladega Superspeedway, you may have better luck drawing names out of a hat. I didn’t do so bad last week, picking Matt Kenseth to win the Samsung Mobile 500. So, here are my picks for the Aaron’s 499:
Target: Kevin Harvick, Jamie McMurray, Clint Bowyer, Dale Earnhardt Jr., David Ragan, Carl Edwards
Avoid: Ryan Newman, Matt Kenseth (although i’m not sold having him in the “avoid” .. might be a bargain pick)
Analysis: In the last 10 Talladega races, there have been nine different winners. Kenseth hasn’t had a top-10 since 2006, but don’t count him out, he has certainly turned a bunch of heads this year. Kyle Busch leads laps at Talladega, but doesn’t have the finishes to show it.
Bargain: Regan Smith should have won here in 2008 and Brad Keselowski did in 2009. The latter has three top-10 finishes in four starts.
Talladega Sprint Cup Schedule:
Friday 2pm~ Practice
Friday 3:30pm~ Practice
Saturday 11:30am~ Qualifying
Sunday 1pm~ Aaron’s 499
This track has the reputation of having “jaw-dropping” pure excitement, and I wouldn’t bet against that happening again this week.
Next Race: April 30th~ Richmond International Speedway
Until next time~ “Let’s go racin’ boys!”-DW