Thursday, April 24, 2008

Rusty Reckons: Talladega

Y'all excited yet? Rusty sure is! Talladega's my favorite track on the circuit for several reasons. First, it's the home of JR nation. The fans in attendance for Sunday's race are overwhelmingly JR fans. When (not if) he takes the lead, you will be able to hear them roar over the thousands of horsepower on the track. Second, it's plate racing!

Like Dale-tona, 'Dega is a plate track where the cars are equipped with horsepower zapping restrictor plates. These plates cut the air flowing into the engine and make the cars run together in tightly bunched packs. Where Daytona's 2.5 mile configuration requires a good handling race car, Talladega's 2.66 mile asphalt is all about speed. The cars at 'Dega will bounce and move around like no other track, and winning the race comes down to pure speed and horsepower. This also leads to "The Big One". At some point, somebody will make a mistake and a huge wreck will ensue. Tempers will flare, and the post incident interviews will be priceless. This is what many 'Dega fans wait for every time NASCAR comes to Alabama.

All of these factors make picking a fantasy lineup difficult, but there are a few teams that seem to have a handle on the biggest track on the circuit. Hendrick and DEI have battled back and forth over the last few years as dominant forces at Talladega, and while Hendrick has gotten the better of the deal the last few years, don't count DEI out. For obvious reasons, I'm taking Hendrick cars for my A and B team list, but I've got DEI slipping into the C List. Other potential good picks would be the RCR team or that orange #20. I would like to think the entire JGR team could do well here, but I think Shrub's checkers or wreckers mindset does not translate to an ill-handling plate track like Talladega. Whatever the pick, it's all a gamble, because "The Big One" can take out anyone.

A List
- J Gordon (24)
B List
- D Earnhardt Jr. (88)
C List
- P Menard (15)

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