NASCAR Sprint Cup Aaron’s 499

One of the great things about NASCAR is you get different types of racing almost every week. This week the drivers will move from short track racing to the largest of them all in the 2.66 mile Talladega Super Speedway. We have already seen the speeds increase this season with the new car change, and this may force NASCAR to monitor the restrictor plate this week to assure the cars don’t get out of control…well, more than usual that is.

Sam Hornish Jr. maintained his top spot in the Nationwide standings last week and Regan Smith remained in second place, just one point behind Hornish. Brian Scott moved up two positions to claim the third spot. Joey Logano is scheduled to race this Saturday in the 22 car and has finished in the top five in all four of his Nationwide Talladega races. Another of the Sprint regulars in the race is Kasey Kahne, but his average finish is 31stthroughout his four attempts.

The big discussion in Sprint Cup circles is the penalties handed down to the Penske teams of Brad Keselowski and Joey Logano. While the appeal process should take place prior to the race on Sunday, both teams have been delayed and distracted by the spanking NASCAR delivered as a result of the cars failing inspection. As far as the race is concerned, teams are developing their strategy for Sunday which for some will be to move to the back of the pack and avoid the “Big One” should it occur earlier in the race. Those cars that prove to be quickest in practice may try to avoid the same wreck by staying out front. Either way, its white knuckles racing all afternoon. Here are our picks to keep their car clean and finish on top.

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Jeff Gordon- Gordon usually qualifies very well at Talladega with an average start of tenth place. Unless you are starting at the very front, qualifying doesn’t mean much at this track, but Gordon has translated it into four wins and an average finish of 17th. Talladega can wipe you out of the race at any time, but Gordon seems to put himself in the best position to survive.

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Clint Bowyer- Clint has two wins in 14 starts at Talladega including 7 top ten finishes. Like Gordon he has a solid history at both this track and Daytona which has similar racing conditions. Clint is one of the drivers that usually saves his move to the front for the end of the race when things really start heating up.

Martin Truex Jr.- Here is our long shot pick of the week. While Truex has just four top 10 finishes at this track, Michael Waltrip Racing has a very good large track program and I expect improvement from the 56 car. Truex will likely benefit from having Michael Waltrip as a drafting partner and a guide around the track.

Carolyn Shelby's Free Pick:
Ian's Pick: Ferrer in three 3-6, 6-2, 7-6(3)
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