Race: Amp Energy 500
Date: Sunday October 5, 2008
Track: Talladega Superspeedway
Time: 1 pm ET
by Virginia Vroom of Predictem.com
As we start heading into the final 7 races of the Chase and the NASCAR season, we’re hit with yet another big challenge for the drivers. It really doesn’t matter if you’re Jeff Gordon or Joe Nemecheck when we head to a place like Talladega. Really, no one can predict their luck or what is going to happen throughout the course of the race.
It seems like we’re always doomed with the ‘big one’ between Talladega and Daytona, so keep your eyes peeled for a wreck that could potentially knock out anyone from Tony Stewart to Jimmie Johnson. With points as tied up and close as they are right now, it would only take one wrong move before any driver can be knocked out of championship contention.
Talladega is a huge racetrack. It’s 2.66 mile tri-oval with 33 degree banking in the turns. If you’ve never been on a track, that’s some wild banking. I’ve driven on Las Vegas Motor Speedway with 20 degree banking, and THAT was wild. This track throws a little bit of everything at the drivers. With big banking in the turns, the drivers get some relief with the 4300 foot frontstretch and 4000 foot backstretch. Needless to say, you’re going to go fast here, reaching speeds close to 200 mph. And that’s really only because of the restrictor plates. Without those, these guys would be reaching crazy speeds as these cars have improved drastically in terms of torque and horsepower over the years.
DID YOU KNOW THAT YOU CAN BET ON NASCAR? MANY SPORTSBOOKS OFFER
DRIVER VS. DRIVER MATCHUPS AND OF COURSE YOU CAN CHOOSE THE DRIVER TO
WIN THE RACE AT ODDS. WAGER ON NASCAR RACES USING YOUR CREDIT CARD AT
Talladega is going to be a great race. I think we’re going to see a lot of drivers stick to their typical ways here because there’s such a potential for disaster that few are willing to risk it. Look for Chad Knaus being very calculative in his calls. Jimmie Johnson can definitely win here again if Knaus keeps making the right calls in terms of fuel mileage and tires. Both play a huge role here at this super speedway. Depending on how the cautions fall, fuel could be a big factor. Tires are always a factor. The draft is also going to be a big part of this race, as having your teammates work with you can make it or break it. This is where the Roush guys could win if they can keep it together. They seem to be working well together week-in and week-out. Jimmie Johnson and Jeff Gordon always seem to get separated on these tracks when it matters most, but counting either one of them out here would be a bad call.
Jeff Gordon is the defending winner of the 2007 spring and fall race here and he may have what it takes to get it once again this weekend. Kyle Busch won this year’s spring race, but if mechanical failures continue going his way, there’s no chance of winning. Gibbs can’t be counted out either, though. We all know that Tony Stewart and Kyle Busch are masters of these tracks. If they can get back to old form, there’s no telling what could happen. With an unprecedented 5 wins at this track, I’m going to have to go for a bit of an underdog this weekend. Dale Jr. needs a win. I think if he’s going to take it anywhere, it would be here. This track has a lot of history for him and his family and super speedways are his specialty. Working with Gordon and Johnson could be just what he needs to get that win. It’d be nice to see him back in victory lane anyway.
Here are the current point standings after Kansas:
1. Jimmie Johnson
2. Carl Edwards
3. Greg Biffle
4. Jeff Burton
5. Kevin Harvick
6. Jeff Gordon
7. Clint Bowyer
8. Dale Earnhardt Jr.
9. Matt Kenseth
10. Denny Hamlin
11. Tony Stewart
12. Kyle Busch
Look for a potential sweep from virtually any team. This weekend chalks it all up to a lot of luck in most cases. If I had to choose, I’m basing my pick on past winners and performers. Jr. has been consistent and it’ll be nice to see him work with his new team members some. Regardless of what happens, I think we’re separating the men from the boys this weekend.