By admin | April 23, 2009
By Richard Allen
Track and Location: Talladega Super Speedway in Talladega, Alabama.
Track Layout: 2.66 mile tri-oval with 35 degrees of banking in the turns.
Race Distance: 500 miles/ 188 laps
Date of Race: Sunday(April 26, 2009)
Radio Coverage: MRN(1:15pm Eastern)
Television Coverage: Fox(1:00pm Eastern)
Start Time:Â 2:20pm Eastern
Last Yearâ€™s Winner: Kyle Busch
NASCAR is about to make its second trip into the world of restrictor plate racing in the 2009 season. This week, itâ€™s the Aaronâ€™s 499 at the Talladega Super Speedway. Typically, this is one of the best races of the year as it is on the wide, high-banked track with cars racing in big packs but not concerned with the point standings as much as may be the case in the fall race here.
This track and the Daytona International Speedway used to be the private playground of the Chevrolet brand. Teams like Hendrick Motorsports and Dale Earnhardt, Inc. once controlled these plate events. Lately, that has not been the case. Toyota, Dodge and Ford have each visited victory lane on the restrictor plate tracks since the last time a â€˜Bow Tieâ€™ won on these facilities.
Much of the fantasy information shown below applies to the ESPN Fantasy Stock Car Challenge. However, the thoughts below can be applied to most NASCAR fantasy games.
Here are some thoughts for the Aaronâ€˜s 499:
Drivers who should do well: Anything can and usually does happen in these races. However, there are trends that have been established which fantasy players can use in making selections.
Kyle Busch- He won here last year in what turned out to be a Joe Gibbs Racing sweep on the â€˜dega tri-oval. He had the fastest car in Daytona this past February until a crash sidelined him.
Jeff Gordon- He won the first ever CoT race on a restrictor plate track which was the last win for Chevy on a plate track. He also had a strong car in Daytona but was caught out of sorts when the rains came.
Robby Gordon- In recent years he has been better on plate tracks than on road courses. He could be a nice value pick.
Matt Kenseth- He won the Daytona 500 but aside from that he has been a better plate racer than he has been given credit for.
Tony Stewart- He is one of the best plate racers in NASCAR. Although it will be pointed out that he is basically driving Hendrick equipment, he actually will not be in as good of a ride as last year on these tracks. But, he can still get it done.
Brian Vickers- His lone win came here. He seems to have the knack for doing well on this track.
A.J. Allmendinger- He was 3rd in Daytona and could be an excellent sleeper pick to win.
Martin Truex and Juan Pablo Montoya- The DEI cars showed unusual strength here last fall. Maybe that will hold true for the EGR cars this time around.
Drivers to avoid: Just as some drivers demonstrate an ability to get it done on these tracks, some seem to show the opposite ability.
Carl Edwards- He could easily win this race but has shown a lack of patience, like last year in the fall here.
Kevin Harvick- He will be getting a new crew chief next week which means this week he will be paired with a crew chief who knows he will be somewhere else next race. That could be either good or bad. The way they have run this season, it may be best to leave him off your team.
Dale Earnhardt, Jr.- It is tempting to pick Junior up for Talladega but he has not won here since 2004. And, the same type of silly mistakes this team has made so far this year could put them in the middle of â€˜the big oneâ€™ this week.
Winner of the Aaronâ€˜s 499: Kyle Busch
These are only suggestions. Do your own research and enjoy the Aaronâ€˜s 499.
Richard Allen is a member of the National Motorsports Press Association. His weekly column appears in The Mountain Press every Wednesday.
*For a chuckle click on the link below to check out my animated short film, “Racing Re-Cap: Phoenix”.
In this episode racing reporter Mark Mustang is impressed to see that his co-host, Daisy Dreamboat, actually made the trip to Phoenix. However, he is disappointed when he finds out why.
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