Race: Camping World RV Sales 500
Date: Sunday October 20, 2013
Track: Talladega Superspeedway
Time: 1 pm ET
by Virginia Vroom, NASCAR Handicapper, Predictem.com
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Brad Keselowski fooled everyone with a rocky start on Saturday night to actually come away with the win after dragging his jack all the way around the track after a pit stop. He did tell everyone that he came to win, but I don’t think that anyone really thought it was going to happen after his less than stellar season. Other drivers had a great night, with Jimmie Johnson, Jeff Gordon, Matt Kenseth all having very solid runs. Unfortunately, it didn’t help anyone catch Kenseth. He’s going to have to slip up and run into some sort of problem for these guys to catch him.
This weekend could throw a wrench into Kenseth’s domination and consistency. In fact, it could throw a wrench into any of these driver’s weekend because of the nature of the track. I’m still up in the air about having a super speedway in the Chase. While I absolutely love these types of tracks, I don’t think that they are necessarily representative of the strength of the teams throughout the year. I reason I say that is because this track is just so unpredictable. Half of the field can be eliminated from a single wreck through, ultimately, no fault of their own. It’s definitely a fun race, but my opinion is that it doesn’t truly show the talent of the teams because of the potential for something absolutely crazy to happen.
Talladega is one of 2 super speedways on the circuit throughout the season. This track is a 2.66 mile tri-oval. It’s got 33 degree banking in the turns, 18 degrees on the front stretch and 2 degrees on the backstretch. The frontstretch boasts a whopping 4300 feet with the backstretch coming in slightly under at 4000 feet. Track position means everything here. This is a place where your enemies can be your best friend by pushing you up the track and getting you in a position where you can take off from the rest of the field. Restarts are treacherous, though. That’s one place where these guys need to be careful. Double file on this track can get a bit sticky with guys throwing there cars in holes that aren’t there yet. Also, you have to watch for the drivers who get runs off the corners and come by like a freight train to pass. They can take the air off the car next to them in a hot second and cause one heck of a pileup.
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If we look at the history of this track, it’s pretty random. That’s falls in line with the unpredictable nature of Talladega. We have winners from Jimmie Johnson to Brian Vickers to Jamie McMurray to this year’s Spring race winner, David Ragan. We always have the same set of strong drivers from the Hendrick corral and also other guys like Kenseth and Harvick. Kenseth has never own Talladega, though, so this may be his Achilles heel. This will be a good opportunity for drivers like Harvick, Johnson, and Gordon to make up some points. Additionally, we have to consider that Brad Keselowski is the defending champ of the last Fall race here. Coming off his win at Charlotte, we can’t count him out!based on all of the factors we have to take into consideration, here’s a look at your potential winners this weekend at Talladega:
My Pick to Win: Kevin Harvick
Middle of the Road Pick: Jamie McMurray
Dark Horse Prediction: David Ragan
Harvick runs relatively well at the super speedways. He’s not necessarily the “best”, but he generally is able to stay out of trouble and make a solid run. With a championship at stake and already one win in the Chase, I think that Harvick is going to be a little more aggressive and put a solid effort into winning this weekend. In terms of Jamie McMurray, he’s got a win here, like Harvick, and is a pretty solid pick for a B list driver. McMurray always seems to be lurking in the background and ready to make a move. Don’t count him out. Finally, we have David Ragan, who, as mentioned before, is the defending winner of the Spring race at Talladega. Be it by fluke or divine intervention, Ragan may have something figured out. Look for him to go for another solid run at Talladega this weekend.
Here are your current top 13 after last week’s race:
1. Matt Kenseth
2. Jimmie Johnson
3. Kevin Harvick
4. Jeff Gordon
5. Kyle Busch
6. Greg Biffle
7. Kurt Busch
8. Clint Bowyer
9. Dale Earnhardt Jr.
10. Carl Edwards
11. Joey Logano
12. Ryan Newman
13. Kasey Kahne
Kahne is still, unfortunately, not making up much ground despite a strong finish at Charlotte. We are still seeing Johnson, Harvick, Gordon, and Kyle Busch chasing after Matt Kenseth. In all reality, anyone behind Busch is going to need the rest of the field to wreck out if they want any chance at the championship. Harvick, Gordon, and Busch have a ton of work to do themselves if they want a piece of the pie. Talladega is surely going to play with these points after Sunday. You can count on that! Stay tuned as we watch the rest of the field chase after Matt Kenseth for a shot at the championship points lead heading into Talladega on Sunday afternoon!