This week we head to the crapshoot of the Chase, as the drivers will run the final restrictor plate race of the season. Any and I mean any of the 43 drivers who start this race on Sunday afternoon have a chance on winning this race. If all of the pieces fall in the right place we could all see a major upset.
I am going to go with a non-Chaser to win this weekend in Kurt Busch. Kurt has been the most consistent driver at Talladega over the past few seasons with 7 top 10 finishes in his last 8 races. Teammate, Ryan Newman, won at Daytona in the first race of the year and the Dodge’s have the power it takes to visit victory lane.
Kyle Busch has won the last 2 restrictor plate races this year in his Gibbs Toyota. Kyle has had just horrible luck since the Chase started and needs to get out of this race clean if he has even an outside chance at the championship this year.
Tony Stewart hasn’t won a race yet this season but is very good at Talladega. Tony has been the runner-up at Talladega 6 times in his career and is still looking for his first victory here in a Cup car. I almost picked him to win this weekend but I’m not sure if the Gibbs teams are giving him the best equipment or all of the insider information anymore this year.
Jimmie Johnson has a win and 2 runner-up finishes in his last 5 Talladega starts. Jimmie got his first Chase win last week and would like to start to put some people away with a second consecutive trip to victory lane this weekend.
Jeff Gordon has won 2 of the last 3 races at Talladega and really needs to pour it on now if he has a shot a winning his 5th championship. Unless something drastic happens to the top 3 in the standings I think it is just a 3 horse race.
Carl Edwards is one of those horses but he hasn’t faired that well at Talladega or Daytona throughout his career. However, he did finish 2nd to Kyle Busch at Daytona in July and the Roush teams have all gotten a little better at the restrictor plate tracks over the course of this season.
Greg Biffle is the 3rd horse in the race right now but has never even finished in the top 10 at Talladega. He won a restrictor plate race at Daytona on fuel mileage but always seems to make a mistake sometime during these races that costs him dearly.
Dale Earnhardt Jr. used to be the king at Talladega when he won 5 races and finished runner-up in the other 2 races from the fall of 2001 until the fall of 2004. Since then Junior only has 2 top 10 finishes in 7 races but now he’s in a Hendrick car, which could catapult him back to the top.
The Childress teams seem to be struggling the most of any of the Chase teams at the restrictor plate tracks. That means that Kevin Harvick, Jeff Burton and Clint Bowyer probably won’t do that great this weekend.
Yahoo Picks for Talladega
Kurt Busch (starter)
Ryan Newman (starter)
Dale Earnhardt Jr. (starter)
Travis Kvapil (starter)
Top 5 Overall at Talladega
1. Kurt Busch
2. Dale Earnhardt Jr.
3. Tony Stewart
4. Jimmie Johnson
5. Denny Hamlin
Dark Horse: Mike Skinner
Stay Away From: RCR drivers
As always you can email me with any questions, comments or suggestions at firstname.lastname@example.org. Good luck once again this weekend!