NASCAR Nationwide Fantasy Preview: Aaron's 312
Name: Talladega Superspeedway
Race Date: April 24, 2010
Location: Talladega, AL
Length: 2.66 miles
Banking in turns: 33 degrees
Banking on the frontstretch: 16.5 degrees
Banking on the backstretch: two degrees
Grandstand Seats: 143,231
Tickets/track info: http://www.talladegasuperspeedway.com/ or 1 (877) GO2-DEGA
Last year’s Top 10:
1. David Ragan
2. Ryan Newman
3. Joey Logano
4. Tony Raines
5. Dale Earnhardt Jr.
6. Jason Leftler
7. Jason Keller
8. Scott Lagasse Jr.
9. Brad Keselowski
10. Kyle Busch
In the last two race at Talladega, Jason Leftler and Dale Earnhardt Jr. have gained the most points (315) while last year’s winner David Ragan ranks third (299). Though if you go combine the last three races, then Ragan tops the list with Earnhardt Jr. second and Leftler third.
Going back further, however, names like Clint Bowyer pop up when you combine the last five races and Kyle Busch pops up when you combine the last six races.
But to surprise everybody, the person who has gained the most points when you combine the last 10 races is Jason Keller.
Brian Vickers—Vickers has the highest average finish of the Cup drivers in the Nationwide Series at Talladega who have run more than one race. In three starts, Vickers has one top 10 and an average finish of 15.7. He will be running for Braun Racing, a team that has been coming on strong and could easily capitalize on the opportunity.
Clint Bowyer—Besides David Ragan, Jason Leftler, and Dale Earnhardt Jr. (who both are not entered), Bowyer has gained the most points at Talladega in the last span of races. In six races, Bowyer has one top five and an average finish of 19.2. Bowyer has been trying to put RCR No. 21 car back on track after some not-so-good runs with young driver John Wes Townley. RCR has been known to be good at the restrictor plates so this could be a great opportunity for that to continue.
Kyle Busch—No matter what track on the Nationwide circuit, Busch should always be in your picks as he’s a threat every where. Talladega is no exception as he’s ran good there in the past, though also had some bad moments too (recall the flip?). In six starts, Busch has two top fives, three top 10s and an average finish of 18.7. Busch comes into Talladega as the points leader and is now thinking of possibly running the full schedule to contend for the championship. If he chooses to and finishes well at Talladega, it may be a long year for his fellow competitors.
Jason Leftler—Leftler’s stats at Talladega have been impressive and easily make him the top Nationwide regular. If anybody is going to take down the dominance of the Cup drivers at Talladega, he’s probably your best bet. In six starts, Leftler has two top fives, three top 10s and an average finish of 16.0. Leftler’s season hasn’t started off like he has planned as it’s been a roller coaster, though he looks to turn things around with a win at Talladega.
Kenny Wallace—Wallace has shown in both Nationwide and Sprint Cup that he can draft well on the restrictor plate tracks so if he was to end up in victory lane, I’d say it was no surprise. In 12 starts, Wallace has one top five, four top 10s and an average finish of 18.4. Wallace hasn’t run well this year, due to lack of funding, though Talladega seems to be the equalizer. With the rules package, anybody can do well as long as they know what they’re doing. Could Wallace take a car to victory lane that doesn’t have big funding behind it? It’s very well possible and could be a good step in gaining some sponsorship.
Surprise Round 2?
In his only start at Talladega last year, Joey Logano finished third. He looks to continue the success he’s had in the Nationwide Series this year at Talladega and possibly spread the win love at Joe Gibbs Racing.
Nationwide regulars Scott Lagasse Jr. and Brian Keselowski both had good finishes last year, eighth and 14th respectively and look to possibly repeat.
Stories to Watch:
Steve Arpin: Arpin will be making his Nationwide debut this weekend with JR Motorsports in the No. 7. Dale Earnhardt Jr. is on the hunt for the next big talent and is trying out some potential drivers. Could Arpin be the one? Arpin leads the ARCA Series points and has won the last two races so it is very well possible.
The Big One: The Big Wreck is guaranteed to happen—it’s just a question of what lap and who is in it. It always shakes up the running order and sometimes produces a surprise winner so watch your back.
Talladega is a Crap Shoot in that I can tell you who has run well in the past, who has the best stats and who you should pick statistically, though in the end it doesn’t matter. With the nature of restrictor plate racing, anything and everything is possible so you never know who is going to win or finish well. Good luck picking as you never know if you’ll be right or wrong till the last lap.
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