Nascar Racing

Taking On Talladega

from a NASCAR Fan’s View


When the NASCAR Cup teams take on the Talladega Super Speedway, there’s not a lot that can be said that’s new about Talladega but then, why should there be. Talladega has always been a weekend many look forward to and this one is no different. I guess the real question is will it be the “same old, same old” or will it be something even more than the usual door handle to door handle, bumper to bumper chess match. There is a lot about Talladega that doesn’t change but some things do and that’s what makes it such an interesting race, especially when the Cup teams take to the track.

So why would I even mention that Talladega could be the “same old, same old?” Well, to be honest, that statement can be taken a little differently than it might sound at first take. You see, Talladega is as unpredictable as any race can be in NASCAR and that can easily make the statement, “same old, same old” ring true no matter how you look at it. There is nothing about Talladega that can be foreseen other than, to win, someone has to miss the “Big One” or big ones and make it to the final checkered flag ahead of the rest.

Much of the talk this week has been about which of the drivers without a win this season might be the one to take home the trophy. Of course, the usual conversations have centered around those that usually seem to end up with a good finish at the Super Speedway and it is true. There are some that do seem to have a special talent for Super Speedways and some that seem to understand them even better than others. However, that does not mean any of them will be the one taking the victory. What it does mean is, this one, like most of the ones before it, won’t be decided until they cross the finish line on the last lap.

The First name that seems to come up for possibly winning the Geico 500 at would be Denny Hamlin. As I said last week, he has done everything but win this season. He has the best finishing average and he does start on the pole Sunday afternoon. Starting on the pole doesn’t really mean all that much when it comes to Talladega. Someone can start on the front row and immediately drop to the back until late in the race. Of course, no one is saying Denny will do that this weekend but it wouldn’t be the first time he has laid back waiting to pounce late in the race. From my view, I don’t think we’ll actually know until the race starts what he will actually do and it won’t be until the end we find out if his strategy works.

Now, from this fan’s view, I do think it is possible Hamlin could win on Sunday but, I’m not quite ready to declare him the victor. There are too many possibilities to do that before they drop the green flag. Several other names come to mind when I consider which of them cross the finish line at the end of the day. Brad Keselowski, Kevin Harvick, Kyle Bush and Chase Elliott are some names that immediately pop into my mind of possible winners of this one. All of them have shown they have what it takes to win at a Super Speedway and all of them have a number of wins in the Cup series. It’s just that they haven’t won yet this season in a points race.

Personally, my first choice as a possible winner this weekend is a toss-up between Brad Keselowski and Chase Elliott. Yeah, I know I’m going against the odds makers that have pretty much chosen Denny Hamlin and lean heavily toward a couple of the others but, I’m just not ready to jump on that band wagon yet. That’s not to say Denny won’t win but, from this fan’s view, I’m leaning towards Brad and Chase.

Now, just because I’ve put them at the front of my choices, doesn’t mean they’re locks to win. There are just too many things that can go wrong and just about anyone can get caught up in someone else’s mistake or problem. Besides that, there are just too many that have a chance to win whether they are well known names or some not-so-well known. Just look at the list of drivers and pick one. You know, names like Ricky Stenhouse Jr, Aric Almirola, Austin Dillon, Ryan Newman, Joey Logano, Michael McDowell, Ryan Blaney, William Byron and the list goes on and on.

I’m sure you can add names to that list and your choice is as good as anyone’s. The important thing to keep in mind is that survival is the biggest key to winning at Talladega. It may not be so much making the right choices or having the right strategy. Pit stops can make or break a good finish and penalties should be avoided at all costs. Of course, we can’t overlook that ever-present thing called racing luck either. Sometimes it just helps to be the one enjoying the positive benefits of racing luck. When it comes down to the last lap, if you’re still in it, you could still win it.

That’s what makes races like this one at Talladega so interesting to watch. Anything can go wrong and anyone can win. You never know when the Big One might strike or whether there will be more than one…

See ya next time…
All views expressed are strictly the opinion of the writer
© April 24, 2021 – all rights reserved
Rusty Norman, and
All audio productions by and PodCastNorm Productions
All music TwoBuckThemes from Mike Stewart unless otherwise stated

By Rusty Norman

Amateur writer, NASCAR Fan, musician and former local Stock Car racer.