Driver Handicaps For Talladega

6695Jpg
Editors Note: Handicapping a restrictor plate race can be an exercise in futility. If a driver is in the wrong place (like Talladega) at the wrong time (like this weekend) he can be leading the race one moment then caught up in a huge smoking pig pile of a wreck through no fault of his own in the next . It's also well documented even minus a wreck, a driver can be challenging for the lead, lose the draft and drop back to 20th in the length of a straightaway. (Dale Earnhardt Jr. was trying to make a pass for the lead on the last lap last Fall and wound up 14th.) Sadly, the winner of that race will not be competing this weekend, and that fact will weigh heavily on the minds of many of his former competitors, which could lead to a lot of give and take much like that race last Fall.

Dale Jarrett- The Fords get a break on the "taxicab" strip on the roof for this event, and with the hot streak Jarrett is on, he may be the odds on favorite if he can keep four fenders on the car and the tire side down throughout the race. Jarrett finished 14th and 15th here last year, but in the four previous Talladega races he'd never finished worse than third. Dale won here in 1998 and has five second place finishes at the track.

Jeff Gordon- Gordon is the defending champion of this race. While not quite as astounding as Earnhardt's charge from 18th to 1st last Fall, starting 36th and winning a race is nothing to sneeze at. That win broke a 13 race winless streak for Jeff, who also has another win at this track.

Johnny Benson- Benson finished 33rd here the last time out, but has shown he can run strong on the plate tracks, most notably in last year's Daytona 500. Two top 10 finishes in ten Cup starts at Talladega.

Sterling Marlin- Marlin lost an engine and finished 41st here last Fall. The Dodges must run a larger "taxicab" strip this weekend, and the Dodge boys are pessimistic at least on record as a result. Marlin is a two time winner at Talladega.

Steve Park- This track hasn't been kind to Park with a best career finish of 14th, but his teammates were 1-2 at Daytona this year, so DEI can build equipment with the potential to win.

Rusty Wallace- Wallace had what was arguably the worst wreck of his Winston Cup career here back in May of 1993. Wallace's struggles on restrictor plate tracks are well known and his only career top 5 at Talladega occurred way back in 1988.

Bobby Hamilton- Hamilton has only one career top 10 finish at Talladega. Lost an engine and finished dead last in this race last season.

Ricky Rudd- Rudd's best finishes at Talladega are a pair of 3rds in 1999 and 1979. (Some drivers he'll be competing against were still piloting strollers back then!) Still Rudd drives for the hottest team on the circuit at this point, the Fords are getting that rules break, and the 28 team has had a lot of success at Talladega with the late Davey Allison.

Bill Elliott- Elliott will likely forever hold the record at Talladega for fastest qualifying speed. Won here twice, including this race in 1985 when a loose oil fitting forced an unscheduled pit stop and Bill made up almost two laps without the benefit of a caution flag to win the race. Hasn't cracked the top 5 here since 1995, but looked strong at Daytona.

Elliott Sadler- Failed to qualify for this race last year. Best career finish of 17th at Talladega. Maybe the Wood Brothers want to put David Pearson back in the car this weekend?

Ward Burton- Three top 10s and only one top 5 in 11 Cup races at Talladega. His fortunes will have a lot to do with how much that new roof spoiler slows down the Dodges.

Kevin Harvick- This is Kevin's first plate race in a Cup car. Finished 17th here last year in the Busch race. Still the RCR teams knows a thing or two about winning at Talladega.

Tony Stewart- After finishing 5th and 6th here in his rookie season, Stewart finished 27th and 34th here last year. Did have a good run going at Daytona before getting caught up in that 19 car pileup.

Ken Schrader- Talladega hasn't been good to Ken, most notably when then teammate Jeff Gordon once sent him tumbling end over end. Did win here way back in 1988, but has only three top 5 finishes at Talladega since.

Jerry Nadeau- Best finish at Talladega was 8th in this race in 1999. Also has three career finishes of 35th or worse at Talladega.

Jimmy Spencer- This is one of two tracks Spencer has won a Cup race at. (1994 while driving for Junior Johnson.) Finished 5th in this race last year.

Matt Kenseth- Moving in the right direction. Finished 18th in the this race last year, and 10th last Fall.

Terry Labonte- Won here back in 1997 and has finished 2nd three times at Talladega. Top ten finishes in both races here last year.

Dale Earnhardt Jr.- Junior's Cup career didn't get off to a rousing start in this race last year when he rearended his father's car on the 1st lap. Was contending for the win here last Fall, and finished second at the last restrictor plate NASCAR ran.

Michael Waltrip- Waltrip won the last plate race, the Daytona 500, but his seasons been on a downbound train since. Best Talladega finish was 3rd in 1994. Unfortunately Waltrip won't be able to use the Daytona winning car, as it is currently on display inside Daytona USA.

Related Topics:

NASCAR Sprint Cup, 2001

Photos

  • Darlington Paint Schemes
  • Darlington Paint Schemes
  • Darlington Paint Schemes
  • Darlington Paint Schemes
  • Darlington Paint Schemes
  • Darlington Paint Schemes
  • Darlington Paint Schemes
  • Darlington Paint Schemes
  • Darlington Paint Schemes
  • Darlington Paint Schemes
  • Darlington Paint Schemes
  • Darlington Paint Schemes
  • Darlington Paint Schemes
  • Darlington Paint Schemes
  • Darlington Paint Schemes
  • Darlington Paint Schemes
  • Darlington Paint Schemes
  • Darlington Paint Schemes
  • Darlington Paint Schemes
  • Darlington Paint Schemes
  • Darlington Paint Schemes
  • Darlington Paint Schemes
  • Darlington Paint Schemes
  • Darlington Paint Schemes
  • Darlington Paint Schemes
  • IRWIN Tools Night Race
  • IRWIN Tools Night Race
  • IRWIN Tools Night Race
  • IRWIN Tools Night Race
  • IRWIN Tools Night Race
  • IRWIN Tools Night Race
  • IRWIN Tools Night Race
  • IRWIN Tools Night Race
  • IRWIN Tools Night Race
  • IRWIN Tools Night Race
  • IRWIN Tools Night Race
  • IRWIN Tools Night Race
  • IRWIN Tools Night Race
  • IRWIN Tools Night Race
  • IRWIN Tools Night Race
  • IRWIN Tools Night Race
  • Weld Racing Go-Kart Spectacular
  • Weld Racing Go-Kart Spectacular
  • Weld Racing Go-Kart Spectacular
  • Weld Racing Go-Kart Spectacular
  • Weld Racing Go-Kart Spectacular
  • Weld Racing Go-Kart Spectacular
  • Weld Racing Go-Kart Spectacular
  • Weld Racing Go-Kart Spectacular
  • Weld Racing Go-Kart Spectacular

Advertisement

You may unsubscribe at any time.
Motor Racing Network
555 MRN Drive
Concord, NC 28027
www.mrn.com/Footer/Contact-Us.aspx
(704)262-6700
feedback@mrn.com
  • © 2015 MRN. All Rights Reserved

    FacebookTwitterDiggDeliciousLinkedInGoogle BookmarksYahoo BookmarksLive (MSN)

    ISC Track Sites