Twice a year, Talladega Superspeedway hosts the most entertaining Sprint Cup racing of the season—restrictor plate racing. The fans love it.
It gives drivers a headache.
At 2.66 miles in length and with track banking at 33 degrees, the cars are very, very fast here. Speeds in excess of 200 mph will be common as cars travel in packs, often three- and even four-wide all within inches of each other.
To do well here you need to do two things: Stay focused for three hours, which is usually the reason for the headache...
...and stay out of trouble.
The second part is the hardest, because more often than not, here at Talladega Superspeedway, trouble finds you.
What makes Talladega and restrictor plate racing so great is that it’s completely unpredictable. Often, the best car does not win. And the winner, more often than not, turns out to be the driver who is good at chess and is in the right place (and here’s the real secret) at the right time.
Case in point: David Ragan is the defending race winner of the Aaron's 499.
*All quotes in this slideshow are taken from official team and manufacturer media releases unless otherwise stated.