Talladega Super Speedway; it’s the sister track to Daytona and the home to some of the biggest wrecks in NASCAR. This weekend, the Nationwide Series hits the pavement and knowing who will come out victorious is anybody’s guess.
With speeds over 192 miles per hour, Truck Series regular Ty Dillon, with a push from Nationwide Series regular Trevor Bayne, topped the speed charts during yesterdays practice sessions. Travis Pastrana, Reed Sorenson and Regan Smith rounded out the top-5 in practice, all with speeds around 190mph.
Kasey Kahne, the highest ranked Sprint Cup Series regular, was sixth in practice. There are four Cup Series regulars scheduled to appear in Saturday’s Nationwide Series Race. Joey Logano and Kurt Bush both showed speed during the two practice sessions and so did Danica Patrick. Patrick will be making her second start with Turner-Scott Motorsports this weekend and was one of the fastest cars doing single car runs.
Talladega is any drivers race to win. Riding in a pack and drafting allows for large groups of cars running very close together, which also causes the “big one.” It’s who can come out on top and miss the “big one” who will come out on top with the checkers. But who has the best chance at doing that?
One driver on many teams radar is Patrick. She excels at the Super Speedway races and has held the Pole for two races at Daytona. With a good team and a strong car, both of which she has this weekend, she could come out with her first stock car win on Saturday.
He won the Daytona 500 in 2011 as a Rookie in the Sprint Cup Series and he was near the top of the speed charts during both practice sessions yesterday. Trevor Bayne is running for the Nationwide Series Championship and excels at plate racing as well. He could arise out of the (probable) last lap crash with the checkered flag in his grasp.
Points Leader Sam Hornish Jr is in need of a good race. He has had some rotten luck these last few weeks and can’t afford to wreck out of Talladega. He was fast in practice and is a good Speedway racer. If he wants a chance at the checkers to increase his very small points lead, he needs to team up with someone like Joey Logano to get him to the front and get him his second victory of the season.
Both of the Dillon brothers showed that they had speed yesterday and the younger brother even topped the speed charts in second practice. Could a Dillon brother one-two finish come at Talladega tomorrow? It is entirely possible. One brotherly duo who will be missing in action this weekend is the Busch pair. Older brother Kurt will be in the field but missing from the pack will be recent Nationwide Series dominator, Kyle Busch. Driving the No. 54 this weekend instead will be Joey Coulter, who finished second practice P10.
Talladega will be as exciting as ever and sure not to disappoint. Make sure you tune in to the Aaron’s 312 this Saturday on ESPN at 3PM EST. Who will come out of the smoke with the checkers? Well, your guess is just as good as mine.