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Race 9 – Aaron’s 499 at Talladega Preview

Posted by chadmusselman on April 25, 2008

Talladega is the biggest track on the circuit at 2.66 miles. It’s a wide track that allows for some good side by side racing. Let’s hope the boys have the new car figured out, and can make the racing good. I don’t want to fall asleep during the race this week.

Dale Earnhardt Jr.
Will this be the race that Dale Earnhardt Jr. breaks his winless streak? Early in his career he dominated at Talladega. From 2001 – 2004 he had 5 wins, 2 second place finishes, and 1 eighth place finish. Since then he’s not been nearly as good, finishing 15th or worse (40th twice) from 2005 through the spring of 2007. In the fall race here last year, he finished in the top 10 taking home 7th.

He’s driving a lot better this year with Hendrick, and looks like a true contender for the title. We’ll see if he can get back to his old self and win the race.

Jimmy Johnson
He’s baaaack. He’s gotten himself back up to 4th in the standings with three consecutive top 5 finishes. Look for Jimmy to keep the domination going. He finished 2nd in the last two Talladega races and won the spring race in 2006, so he’ll be running with the lead dogs all race long.

Carl Edwards
If it weren’t for the 100 point deduction he’d be 2nd in the standings…although, after he got caught cheating he did poorly in Atlanta, but has bounced back since then. He’s finished in the top 10 in the last 3 races picking up a win in Texas. Talladega isn’t like the 1.5 mile ovals that Carl has been dominating at, so I don’t know if he’ll be a real threat to win the race. In 7 career races at Talladega, he only has three top 10’s and his best finish is 5th.

Drivers with a chance to win
· Jimmy Johnson – He is back, and in a big way. Look for Jimmy to show that he’s the man to beat. He has a 2nd, 2nd, and 1st in 3 of last 4 races here.
· Kurt Busch – Kurt has been pretty low key this year, all the way down in 16th place in the standings. I think he’ll be able to make some noise in Talladega. This track has been pretty good to him giving him a 7th, 3rd, 3rd, and 7th in last 4 races here.
· Jeff Gordon – Hey, he’s Jeff Gordon. He won both races here last year, has 6 career wins at the track, and 13 top 5s.
· Dale Earnhardt Jr. – 5 career wins at the track, racing for Hendrick now, and hasn’t won a race in 2 years. Look for him to end that this weekend.

Two others who could do well
· Ryan Newman – Talladega is fast and Newman loves to go fast. He’s finished 5th and 9th in last two here and 5 career top 10s. If he can avoid a wreck, then he should be in the front pack with a couple laps to go.
· Brian Vickers – Brian did well at Daytona, the only restrictor plate race so far this season, finishing 12th, and I look for him to challenge to get into the top 10 this week. He’s won and finished 3rd in 2 of the last four races here. In his career he’s been hit or miss, finishing 27th or worse 4 times, and top 10 the other 3 times. I say it’s time for another top 10 for Brian.

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