RACE PREVIEW

GOOD SAM ROADSIDE ASSISTENCE 500

TALLADEGA SUPERSPEEDWAY

Oct 7, 2:00 PM ET ESPN-TV

2.66 Miles 33 Degrees of Banking

Ever since the last lap at the Coke Zero 400 drivers have had this date circled on their calendars and etched in their minds. Talladega Superspeedway is the fourth race in the Chase for the Sprint Cup and the last of four restrictor plate races in the year. A restrictor plate regulates how much air gets into an engine and therefore restricts or limits how fast it can go. They are only used at two tracks: here and Daytona. Chevrolet drivers have won five of the last seven races here. In fact Chevy has won 75% of the races here in the last ten years. Richard Childress Racing’s Kevin Harvick and Clint Bowyer each took a race here in 2010, Hendrick Motorsport’s Jimmie Johnson and Clint Bowyer got wins in 2011. A Ford driven by Brad Keselowski broke the Chevy streak with a win here earlier in the year for Penske Racing. Drivers fear these races because it forces them to run very close together because the speeds are limited. This is the biggest track on the circuit and that oftentimes  leads to the biggest wrecks at any track. Drivers are all waiting for “The Big One” – a wreck that can take out one car or quite possibly half the field. When the cars get bunched up like they do here it only takes one car getting loose to start a huge chain reaction pile up. With only six races left in the Chase for the Cup no one wants to get caught up in someone else’s mistake or misfortune. Many times drivers who know each other will move thru traffic on the track together nose to tail -“drafting” – and with a championship just six races away it will be interesting to see if old alliances stay in tact or if new ones are formed due to team loyalties or drivers wanting to hook up with others they think can take them farther. Who will draft with who? We’ll know on Sunday.

Tuesday look for our Top 10 Drivers by Track Type.