DALLAS (105.3 THE FAN) – Not yet Dandy Don. “Turn out the lights, the parties over” doesn’t apply to this NASCAR season quite yet.
This 200mph fiesta isn’t over.
Yes, this looks like a 2 car race with 5 races to go, but looks can be deceiving. Talladega is up next and this is where everything can change.
This Sunday will be the most chaotic race of the chase. Some drivers need to make bold moves and make up points, some need to impress and put their name front and center so they can find a 2014 ride, and some need to end their winless streaks.
Let’s scout the top 13 drivers chances shall we?
1. Matt Kenseth: Chase leader. Guess what, he’s good at ‘dega. Led 142 of the 192 laps here in the Spring. Chase field will need him to crash.
2. Jimmie Johnson: Never afraid to mix it up front. Will be up front most of the day. Like Kenseth, field will hoping he finds trouble.
3. Kevin Harvick: 2010 winner at Talladega. Has the car and mentality needed to win at this kind of track.
4. Jeff Gordon: It’s Jeff Gordon. ‘Nuff said. He’s been on a tear lately, and the man obviously knows how to win at Talladega. Can you say 6 career wins here?
5. Kyle Busch: 2008 Talladega winner. This is a dangerous situation for Kyle. The boldest driver on the tour needs to make a big move and win. Expect some classic Rowdy Busch style racing.
These next 8 drivers have to do something big this weekend. If they fail to at least cut their deficit from the leader in half, then I am going to vote them off the island and say they are done.
6. Greg Biffle: Show me something Greg, the clock is ticking. Doesn’t boost impressive stats at this track.
7. Kurt Busch: Finished the Sprint race at Talladega tumbling through the air. Busch is one of the best plate racers around, even if his record doesn’t show it. Will be up front and contend.
8. Clint Bowyer: Two time winner at Talladega. For some reason, always runs better in the fall race here. As stated above, it’s time for a win and help.
9. Dale Earnhardt Jr: Due due due for a win. Holds 5 career wins at Talladega. Obviously he can get it done, but will the others falter to help him keep the title dreams alive?
10. Carl Edwards: Was half a lap away from winning here this past Spring, before falling back to 3rd when the dust settled. Desperation must set in this Sunday.
11. Joey Logano: Sits 75 points behind the leader Matt Kenseth. This young man needs a miracle. Sorry Logano fans. If ya’ll are out there.
12. Ryan Newman: 78 points behind Kenseth. The lame duck driver needs a wicked case of the chicken pox to sweep through the garage if he’s going to have a chance. Does run well at Talladega though. So it’s a start.
13. Kasey Kahne: Three plate races this year, three crashes. When your 81 points behind the leader as Kahne is, I’m sure he won’t be scared of making that a clean four for four.
Rant 1: NASCAR has to be excited Talladega is up next. Let’s face it; we’ve seen a string of ho-hum racing lately. There hasn’t been a dramatic last lap battle or drama filled storyline in a while. When you head to Talladega, you can’t count on one of those things happening, if not both.
Rant 2: Kurt Busch must hate the part in Gladiators where Russell Crowe yells, “I do not entertain.” Why? Because this cat loves to entertain. Sunday Kurt’s driving the Wonderbread car. Yes, just like in Talladega nights. Whether it be a funny paint scheme, odd celebration, or pointed comment, Kurt never fails to disappoint.
Rant 3: I love quirky tracks. If you’re new to NASCAR, you will enjoy this about Talladega. The start finish line is not in the middle of the track, it’s actually near turn one.
Rant 4: Martin Truex Jr is heading to Furniture Row’s #78 team. Kurt put this car in the chase and made this small one car team a contender. Next year, expect this team to be in the same situation. They are replacing one hungry talented driver, with another. Expect Truex to have a chip on his shoulder after MWR’s “spin gate” at Richmond put him in this situation.
Rant 5: The 2014 NASCAR schedule is out, and (drumroll)…nothing has really changed. It’s time to spruce things up a little bit and freshen up the schedule. Need another road course, need another short track in the chase, and need a mid week under the lights race. Let’s keep things fresh folks.
Up Next: Chase Race 6 of 10
Next Track: Talladega Super Speedway (2.66 mile)
Green-white checkered: This is Talladega folks. Expect the unexpected.
Follow David Fallavollia on Twitter @FallaTheLeader
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