Talladega Superspeedway – Aaron’s 499 Preview
Posted by: Dave Thompson, follow @phillyfan17
May 4, 2012
Date: Sunday, May 6, 2012
Location: Talladega Superspeedway —Talladega, Ala
Time: 1 p.m. ET
Distance: 188 laps/500 miles
Broadcast: TV- Fox with coverage beginning at noon ET
Radio: Motor Racing Network (MRN) or Sirius XM Channel 90
NASCAR Sprint Cup racing continues this weekend on the sport’s biggest venue – 2.66-mile Talladega Superspeedway. NASCAR made several changes that returned the traditional pack racing fans seem to enjoy at Daytona International Speedway in February and should have a similar effect at Talladega on Sunday.
In last year’s Aaron’s 499, a record number of lead changes and a margin of victory – .002 seconds between race winner Jimmie Johnson and Clint Bowyer – that matched the NASCAR Sprint Cup record. Last year we had the two-car tandems, but due to the changes made by NASCAR, don’t expect much of that on Sunday. Weather could also be a factor on Sunday with temperatures expected to reach 90º+ during the race.
“With the temperatures being as hot as they are, the ambient track temp being way up from what it was in Daytona, it’s just a lot harder to keep your car cool enough and not let it get heat soaked that you have an amount of time that you can push. You’re just kind of limited on what you can do based off water temp.” said Kyle Busch.
Jeff Gordon, a six-time winner at Talladega is concerned the temperatures will be a factor on race day. “We all know how big of an issue it was to keep the engines cool or the water temp cool at Daytona. It’s going to be a major issue here.”
NASCAR has already commented that even with the hot temperatures, they do not plan make any concessions and allow any changes to the way cars are cooled this weekend.
Five-time Talladega winner Dale Earnhardt Jr. could see his best opportunity to snap a 138-race winless streak dating back to June 2008. In addition, a win for Earnhardt Jr. would giving Hendrick Motorsports its 200th victory.
“Looking out for number one and my team all day long, trying to do whatever I can to put myself in the race… that’s really what I feel like I’ve been doing all my life, and to do anything different just doesn’t feel comfortable, feels odd to me,” said Earnhardt.
With Earnhardt Jr. one of the favorites, another driver worth watching on Sunday is Denny Hamlin. Hamlin has never won at a restrictor-plate track, but has contended in several race since the introduction of the Car of Tomorrow.
In the past four Talladega races, Hamlin has finished in the top-ten three times. The only time Hamlin didn’t finish in the top-ten in those four starts was this race last year when he finished 23rd.
Matt Kenseth and teammate Greg Biffle worked well together and will likely work together again at Talladega. Kenseth won the Daytona 500 and is excited to get to Talladega this weekend. “Knowing that our cars were fast at Daytona it makes you look forward to coming here a little bit more,” said Kenseth.
No matter how you dissect the race, I think it is safe to say fans will see multiple wrecks, pack racing and likely the most action packed race of the year on Sunday at Talladega.
Posted: May 4th, 2012
Categories: Featured, Nascar Sprint Cup Series.
Tags: Aaron's 499, Clint Bowyer, Dale Earnhardt Jr., Denny Hamlin, Greg Biffle, Jeff Gordon, Jimmie Johnson, Matt Kenseth, Talladega Superspeedway