(photo courtesy John Harrelson/Getty Images)
It is “wild card weekend” for NASCAR this week. The series travels to the longest track on the circuit, the Talladega Superspeedway. This the home to “the big one”, the one track where you are truly at the mercy of the drivers that surrounds you at any given point during the race! It reminds me of the old Steeler’s Wheel song, Stuck In The Middle With You, “clowns to left of me, jokers to the right, here I am, stuck in the middle with you!”
The contrast from last week’s race at the circuits shortest and slowest race track, this week NASCAR rolls into Talladega Superspeedway the longest and most unpredictable race track couldn’t be more dramatic! The “aftermath” of this Sunday’s race will be equally as dramatic! At sunset on Halloween, the race results will give us a more precise picture of who will be the 2010 Sprint cup champion.
Last week all three of “the contenders”, Jimmie Johnson, Danny Hamlin, and Kevin Harvick were talking about being successful at Martinsville, Hamlin even pulled off an old Mohammad Ali prediction of a win at Martinsville! Fortunately, Hamlin was able to back up his prediction, just as Ali of old would do!
However, this week comes the Talladega Superspeedway and “the three contenders” are now talking of just surviving. None of the trio has a particularly sterling record at this track. However Harvick did win there earlier this year, but that is his first Talladega win in 19 Cup starts. He has accumulated only four top-fives and eight top-10s. Harvick’s average starting positions is 22.2, while his average finishing position at the Alabama oval is 15.5
Hamlin has only raced at Talladega nine times. He has three top fives and no wins. His starting average if 16.0, while his finishing average is 19.3.
And this is a track where Johnson, who seems to have an advantage at almost every track in the Chase, has often come up short. In 17 starts, the four-time defending Cup champion has one win, four top-fives and seven top-10s. He average start is 9.9, but his average finish is 17.8.
It seems Harvick may have the biggest advantage at Talladega, based on the fact that he has been running at the finish of all of his 19 starts. JJ has finished just 10 of 17 and Hamlin seven of nine.
The key at Talladega is to somehow avoid the inevitable big wreck that usually takes out or badly damaged anywhere from 10 to 20 cars sometime during the race.
This year’s AMP Energy 500 is running on Halloween. The drivers might find out that this Sunday they might have to dive into their bag of tricks in order to receive a treat!
Twelve drivers, four races, one championship, who will be the last man standing?
See you at Talladega!
TIL NEXT TIME, I AM STILL WORKING ON MY REDNECK!
This video could be the Talladega theme song this weekend, enjoy!