Race: Aaron’s 499
Date: Sunday April 25th, 2010
Track: Talladega Superspeedway
Time: 1 pm ET
by Virginia Vroom of Predictem.com
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This wekeend brings us to superspeedway territory again this year. Assuming the rain stays away, Talladega is a fan favorite and often one of the most exciting races of the year. Typically, we always see “the big one” during the race at some point, similar to last weekend but in a grander form. Talladega is a big fast track where drivers must draft together and enemies become friends even if for just a second if that means gaining a few positions.
This track is a 2.66 mile tri-oval with 33 degree banking in the turns, 16.5 degree banking on the fronstretch, and a minimal 2 degrees on the backstretch. The frontstretch measures in at a whopping 4300 feet with the backstretch being nothing to sneeze at with 4000 feet. This is a track where strategy is key. Strategy happens before these guys hit the track here. They find drafting partners, come up with pit strategy, and figure out the best way to stay out of the big wrecks.
Drafting is essentially one of the most important elements here. When those cars lock up from spoiler to bumper, the aerodynamics create a tunnel for the air to go around the cars and the more cars in a line, the faster they move. That’s why you always see positions changing like crazy here. One lap, there’s a 5 car group that’s pulling away and next thing you know, there’s a 10 car line on the outside getting ready to freight train that first group. Talladega is like Las Vegas on wheels. It’s a constant gamble and you really never know who’s going to win until turn 4 of the last lap.
Le’ts take a quick look at the past winners of this race. The last few weekends have trended towards previous winners and strong contenders. The defending winner of the Fall Talladega race is Jamie McMurray. The Spring race winner is Brad Keselowski. Other than those two guys, there’s a pretty consistent trend with the winners here. We see about 4-5 guys who are consistently strong on these tracks including Tony Stewart, Jeff Gordon, Jimmie Johnson, and Dale Earnhardt Jr. Those 4 drivers make up 9 of the last 15 winners here. Looking back at Texas, there are 2 standouts from that crowd. Jeff Gordon undoubtedly had the best car. Tony Stewart just drove a great race (until the end, that is). Based on those results, I am going to have to go with Jeff Gordon this weekend. Gordon went into Texas with a winner’s attitude. He told himself he was going to win. If he can come into the race this weekend with that same attitude, an awesome car, and manage to avoid the wrecks, I think Jeff is on his way to a much needed victory. Tony Stewart is also one to watch as he’s had great success on the superspeedways. I think that will see the Hendrick guys hooking up with Stewart and his drivers during the course of the race.
Here’s a recap of your current top 12 in points after Texas:
1. Jimmie Johnson
2. Matt Kenseth
3. Greg Biffle
4. Kevin Harvick
5. Jeff Gordon
6. Kyle Busch
7. Dale Earnhardt Jr.
8. Jeff Burton
9. Kurt Busch
10. Mark Martin
11. Denny Hamlin
12. Joey Logano
The points are becoming more and more set, but those guys from 13th through 17th are still extremely close. They all have the opportunity to crack the top 12 this weekend.
Look for Gordon to be heading to victory lane this weekend, followed by superspeedway master Tony Stewart. Talladega, here we come!