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Driver Recommendations for the Aaron`s 499 at Talladega

Posted by chadmusselman on April 24, 2009

The biggest and baddest track is the venue for this weekend. The 2.66 mile Talladega Superspeedway usually gives us a good show with the “big one”. I know safety is always first, but don’t you miss some of the bumping and wrecking? What happened to the saying, “rubbing’s racing”? We don’t see that much anymore. Maybe this weekend with the supersized track and restrictor plates to keep them all around the same speed they’ll be rubbin’ a little more and we’ll get some passing on the track instead of in the pits.

Recommendations this week:

Chaser: Jimmie Johnson
Jimmie has two top 5s and three top 10s in the last four here. Only one career win in fourteen races and a 16.9 average finish isn’t the greatest, but he’s the only chaser to have more than two top 10s in the last four here. He’s on a roll this season and should be able to do it again this weekend.

Alternate Chaser: Jeff Gordon
Jeff won both races here in 2007, but failed to get a top 10 at Talladega in 2008. Well, Jeff is back and as good as he’s ever been. He has six career wins here and will be gunning for number seven this weekend. You could keep Jeff on your team all season and he’ll get you points. This may be his year.

Ryan Newman
Outside of Jimmie Johnson, Ryan is the only driver with three top 10s in the last four races here. My only concern is that Ryan’s only top 10s of this season were at the short tracks, and he did poorly in Atlanta. Hopefully his car is on this weekend and he drives it like we know he can. Flyin’ Ryan should be back to true form this weekend and get a top 10 finish.

Mark Martin
The old man showed everyone last weekend that he can still get it done, and as he said, he can still hang with the 20-something year olds that have been dominating NASCAR. Mark only has two top 10 finishes at Talladega since 2001, but to say he’s riding a high is a gross understatement. The adrenaline rush is still pumping through him and should carry him to a top 10 finish this weekend. That and the fact that he’s a great driver.

Dark Horse: David Ragan
David only has four races of Cup experience at Talladega, but showed a ton of improvement in 2008 compared to 2007. In 2007 his average finish was 25.5, and in 2008 it went all the way down to 3.5. I don’t know if a top 5 is in the cards for him this weekend, but look for him to contend and be in the top 10 most of the day.

Note: It was tough to keep Kurt Busch off the list this week. He has done very well at Talladega throughout his career, but I think this may be an off week for him. Maybe he gets caught up in a wreck that isn’t his fault or something, but I think it’s about time he hit a small bump in the road.


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