The most competitive Chase yet is coming to NASCAR’s most competitive track.
Since the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup format was introduced in 2004, we have the closest margin ever between first and second place with four races remaining in the season; only six points separate Jimmie Johnson from Denny Hamlin. And … third place Kevin Harvick is only 62 back of Johnson.
Talladega Superspeedway, site of Sunday’s AMP Energy Juice 500, is a perfect match for such a situation.
The unpredictable 2.66-mile tri-oval had the most competitive race in NASCAR history this past April, with NASCAR Sprint Cup Series records established for lead changes (88) and leaders (29).
The NASCAR Camping World Truck Series also races at ‘Dega this weekend, with Saturday’s Mountain Dew 250. The NASCAR Nationwide Series has its final open week of the year.
The GRAND-AM Road Racing season, meanwhile, is complete, with the Rolex Series and Continental Tire Sports Car Challenge looking to the 2011 season-opening races at Daytona International Speedway Jan. 28-30.
NASCAR SPRINT CUP SERIES
Harvick Returning RCR To Restrictor-Plate DominanceComing off of his first top-five finish at Martinsville and closing to within 62 points of the Chase lead, Kevin Harvick attempts to win his third consecutive restrictor-plate race this week.
At Talladega in April, he completed a slingshot pass on Jamie McMurray to win by .011 seconds, the eighth-closest finish in NASCAR Sprint Cup history. Harvick went on to win a second-straight plate race at Daytona in July.
Harvick’s April win provided car owner Richard Childress with his first Talladega triumph since 2000. Harvick is going for the first Talladega season sweep in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series since Jeff Gordon in 2007.
Chase Spoiler Could Be McMurray – AgainJamie McMurray will attempt to play Chase spoiler for the second time in this Chase, in the process trying to repeat as Amp Energy Juice 500 race winner.
It could happen. McMurray has come up big in his three previous 2010 wins – capturing the Daytona 500, the Brickyard 400 and the Bank of America 500(at Charlotte).
Is Dale Jr. Back?After leading 90 laps at Martinsville – the most he’s led in a race since Richmond in September of 2008 – Dale Earnhardt Jr. returns to Talladega with a chance to tie Gordon for second on the NASCAR Sprint Cup win list at the track with six, behind his father’s record 10 victories.
Despite his obvious struggles this season, Dale Jr. has looked just fine in this year’s three previous restrictor-plate events, with finishing second and fourth, respectively, at Daytona and 13th at Talladega).
Thursday, May 26 10:30 AM NSCS HAULERS ENTER 10:30 AM-7:00 PM NSCS REGISTRATION OPEN 11:00 AM-8:30 PM NSCS GARAGE OPEN 1:00 PM NSCS ROOKIE MEETING, SPOTTER MEETING, & RANDOM DRAWING 2:00 PM-3:25 PM NSCS 1ST PRACTICE 7:15 PM NSCS QUALIFYING (MULTI-VEHICLE / THREE ROUNDS)
Friday, May 27 No on-track activity
Saturday, May 28 8:00 AM-4:30 PM NSCS REGISTRATION OPEN 8:00 AM-4:30 PM NSCS GARAGE OPEN 10:00 AM-10:55 AM NSCS 2ND PRACTICE 1:00 PM-1:50 PM NSCS FINAL PRACTICE
Greg Biffle (No. 16 Roush Fenway Racing Ford Fusion) · Six top fives, nine top 10s; one pole · Average finish of 16.045, 11th-best · Average Running Position of 15.560, 11th-best · Driver Rating of 88.0, eighth-best · 313 Fastest Laps Run, third-best · Average Green Flag Speed of 176.285, 10th-fastest · 4327 Laps in the Top 15 (54.7), 12th-most · 759 Quality Passes, ninth-most
Kyle Busch (No. 18 Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota Camry) · Ten top fives, 14 top 10s; two poles · Average finish of 13.500, sixth-best · Average Running Position of 9.732, second-best · Driver Rating of 106.1, second-best · 499 Fastest Laps Run, eighth-best · Average Green Flag Speed of 177.151, second-fastest · 6202 Laps in the Top 15 (78.4), second-most · 1094 Quality Passes, second-most
Kurt Busch (No. 41 Stewart-Haas Racing Chevrolet SS) · One win, seven top fives, nine top 10s · Average finish of 18.909, 12th-best · Average Running Position of 15.798, 12th-best · Driver Rating of 87.2, 11th-best · 280 Fastest Laps Run, second-best · Average Green Flag Speed of 176.146, 13th-fastest · 4552 Laps in the Top 15 (57.6), 10th-most · 784 Quality Passes, eighth-most
Austin Dillon (No. 3 Richard Childress Racing Chevrolet SS) · One top 10 · Average finish of 13.000, fifth-best · Average Running Position of 13.474, sixth-best · Driver Rating of 85.3, 12th-best · 21 Fastest Laps Run, ninth-best · Average Green Flag Speed of 176.500, fifth-fastest · 978 Laps in the Top 15 (66.6), fourth-most · 167 Quality Passes, 13th-most
Carl Edwards (No. 19 Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota Camry) · One win, seven top fives, 15 top 10s · Average finish of 10.545, second-best · Average Running Position of 14.126, ninth-best · Driver Rating of 90.8, seventh-best · 147 Fastest Laps Run, 12th-best · Average Green Flag Speed of 176.270, 11th-fastest · 5130 Laps in the Top 15 (64.9), sixth-most · 961 Quality Passes, third-most
Denny Hamlin (No. 11 Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota Camry) · Five top fives, 13 top 10s; one pole · Average finish of 12.762, fourth-best · Average Running Position of 11.920, third-best · Driver Rating of 94.9, fifth-best · 288 Fastest Laps Run, 10th-best · Average Green Flag Speed of 176.472, sixth-fastest · 5547 Laps in the Top 15 (73.9), third-most · 873 Quality Passes, sixth-most
Kevin Harvick (No. 4 Stewart-Haas Racing Chevrolet SS) · Three wins, six top fives, 13 top 10s · Average finish of 13.864, seventh-best · Average Running Position of 15.398, 10th-best · Driver Rating of 87.7, 10th-best · 270 Fastest Laps Run, seventh-best · Average Green Flag Speed of 176.295, ninth-fastest · 4975 Laps in the Top 15 (62.9), eighth-most · 842 Quality Passes, seventh-most
Jimmie Johnson (No. 48 Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet SS) · Seven wins, 13 top fives, 17 top 10s; four poles · Average finish of 14.909, ninth-best · Average Running Position of 8.563, series-best · Driver Rating of 109.0, series-best · 699 Fastest Laps Run, fifth-best · Average Green Flag Speed of 177.226, series-fastest · 6718 Laps in the Top 15 (85.0), series-most · 1102 Quality Passes, series-most
Kasey Kahne (No. 5 Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet SS) · Four wins, nine top fives, 13 top 10s · Average finish of 11.955, third-best · Average Running Position of 13.267, fifth-best · Driver Rating of 97.4, third-best · 689 Fastest Laps Run, 11th-best · Average Green Flag Speed of 176.647, third-fastest · 4944 Laps in the Top 15 (62.5), ninth-most · 922 Quality Passes, fifth-most
Matt Kenseth (No. 20 Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota Camry) · Two wins, ten top fives, 17 top 10s; two poles · Average finish of 14.955, 10th-best · Average Running Position of 13.906, seventh-best · Driver Rating of 95.5, fourth-best · 428 Fastest Laps Run, fourth-best · Average Green Flag Speed of 176.537, fourth-fastest · 5187 Laps in the Top 15 (65.6), fifth-most · 939 Quality Passes, fourth-most
Brad Keselowski (No. 2 Team Penske Ford Fusion) · One win, two top fives, five top 10s; one pole · Average finish of 14.538, eighth-best · Average Running Position of 14.069, eighth-best · Driver Rating of 87.8, ninth-best · 169 Fastest Laps Run, sixth-best · Average Green Flag Speed of 176.402, eighth-fastest · 2687 Laps in the Top 15 (56.7), 11th-most · 545 Quality Passes, 11th-most
Joey Logano (No. 22 Team Penske Ford Fusion) · One win, five top fives, eight top 10s · Average finish of 9.571, series-best · Average Running Position of 12.658, fourth-best · Driver Rating of 93.6, sixth-best · 120 Fastest Laps Run, 13th-best · Average Green Flag Speed of 176.435, seventh-fastest · 3216 Laps in the Top 15 (64.7), seventh-most · 711 Quality Passes, 10th-most
All this junk posted is simply stuff I use weekly to accumulate a pre-practice driver rating. It's an easy weekly process. How those ratings work won't be shared, but all the data needed for handicapping should be posted somewhere here. Good luck week-to-week in any betting endeavor. Hope the info helps. - MR