Oh yes, I totally just went there and made a magic reference. How can I not? We’re at the world’s fastest superspeedway this weekend. There has to be some humor somewhere, right?
Chances are if you take a stroll around the garages of Talladega this weekend there won’t be much laughter but a whole heck of a lot of tension. We have new rules in place and nobody really knows what’s going to happen yet again.
Did I mention we’re smack in the middle of the Chase for the Sprint Cup? Just a minor detail.
Let’s take a look at who some of the movers and shakers might be this weekend along with how the weather might play a factor as well during this Sunday’s race.
Talladega Fun Fact: The most lead changes ever recorded in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series came on May 6, 1983 when there were 75 lead changes during one race. The most leaders Talladega has ever had during one race came on October 5, 2008 when there were twenty-eight different leaders. (Talladega Superspeedway official website)
The Track: Talladega sits on 3,000 acres of which 212 is in the infield alone. This is a 2.66-mil tri-oval track with thirty-three degrees of banking in the turns and sixteen and a half degrees in the grandstands and tri-oval. Talladega is forty-eight feet wide with an apron that adds an additional twelve feet as well.
The Weather: The weather could not possibly be more perfect this weekend if a fan begged for it. Sunny all weekend with temperatures in the high sixties and low seventies during the day and lower thirties in the night hours. So if you’re camping this weekend, make sure you pack warm because it’ll be chilly! Other than that little known fact, the weather should be perfect all weekend long for some great, intense racing.
Qualifying: There are 47 teams entered into this weekend’s Good Sam Club 500 but only 43 slots available for starting positions. Remember, cars that are not in the top 35 in points must qualify on speed or else they go home. Surprises on the entry list? Terry Labonte and Geoffrey Bodine. Need I say more? You should be doing cartwheels too. I really hope they make it.
Who to watch: Ummm, everybody? Or better yet, pick your favorite number and just watch that the entire time. This is Talladega, people. There’s no one, single driver to watch here all day long. Your eyes must be focus on wherever the most cars are because chances are that’s where the action (or potential disaster) will be.
However, this wouldn’t be any fun if I didn’t pick an actual driver, right? So I’m going to put some of my intuition on Trevor Bayne this weekend. The boy has been flapping his gums about who he’s drafting with all week and it’s time for him to put his money where his mouth is. Let’s see him dance.
Don’t bet on: I’m not betting on Jeff Burton this weekend. Actually if you’ve been watching Jeff all season you’ll know not to bet on him any weekend. Ouchie. It’s true though because Jeff is in a funk and can’t seem to shake it. For his sake, I hope he does soon or we might have a real, live implosion during the off season.
This weekend, however, is the same old game for Jeff Burton. Don’t look for him to be in the front or taking the checkers.
Race Winner: Yeah, okay. That’s like asking me who I think the next saint is going to be or something really outlandish. Picking a winner at Talladega is probably the toughest job in all areas of sports forecasting.
However, again how boring would I be if I didn’t pick a winner, right? I’m picking Kevin Harvick. The man is only five points behind Carl Edwards in the standings and he’s hungry. Nom nom nom nom nom.
Time for Kevin to kick it into high gear and start putting the seal on this 2011 Chase for the Sprint Cup. It’s his to lose.
Race Wiener: This week’s race wiener is going to be the culprit of the “big one” and I’m picking Ryan Newman. Yes, I love Ryan almost as much as I love Tony but my gut (now that it’s gall bladder free and clear as a whistle) is telling me that Ryan will cause the big wreck this weekend. Sorry Hoosiers, you’re still my people. Just not this weekend.
Get out your Motrine, Tylenol, Vicodin and tranquilizers because you’re going to need them for one wild and crazy ride this weekend around Talladega a few hundred times. Let’s see how the pieces fall and who’s smart enough to stay out of trouble. Of course, let’s all pray for a safe race as well.
Join Us: Erin and Morgann will have a live Twitter feed of Sunday’s Good Sam Club 500 along with all of the weekend’s racing action via #AerysSports and #NASCAR on Twitter. Make sure you look for us via AerysSports on Twitter as well!