nascar-talladega-preview-2022

NASCAR: Talladega Preview

Story posted September 29, 2022 in

After a tumultuous race at Texas Motor Speedway, the NASCAR Cup Series heads to Talladega Superspeedway for a race that has the potential to be even more wild and unpredictable.

After Texas, the playoff standings have been shuffled, but some contenders see themselves in a somewhat comfortable position heading into the biggest wild card race of the year. Joey Logano finds himself at the top of the standings with a 37 point lead over the cutoff line which is after eighth place. Logano can also go into the race with some added confidence as he is a three time winner at this track, two of those being in the fall.

In a more broad aspect, Logano is also part of the Fords, which are known for their ability to team up in the draft and keep their drivers at the front. Ford has been so dominant, in fact, that they have won 10 of the last 14 races at Talladega. Look for the Fords to try to group up early and take the field single file at the top of the track.

One of the big storylines going into Sunday’s race will definitely be tires. The past two races have been rough to say the least for Goodyear tires as multiple drivers saw tire failures at both Bristol and Texas. While tires have not been as much of a concern at restrictor plate tracks in the past, teams will be on high alert. This issue is especially important because of the high speeds close racing at Talladega. One tire failure could trigger a 15 car pileup and severely shake up the playoffs.

While this is not a cutoff race for the playoffs (the Charlotte ROVAL next week is), there will still be desperate drivers making desperate moves. Christopher Bell and Alex Bowman are two drivers to look out for on Sunday, they are both over 20 points below the cutoff line and are nearly in must win situations to advance in the playoffs. Look for them to be making risky moves close to the end of the race that could trigger a late race accident.

If you are looking for a dark horse in this race, look no further than Brad Keselowski. Keselowski has been on a hot streak as of late which included a pole at Texas. Keselowski has six wins at the track and is currently looking for his first win of the season and his first win since becoming a driver-owner at RFK Racing. Keselowski knows how to get to the front here, so look out for him on Sunday.

“The Big One” is often the deciding factor in the race and can strike at any time at any place in the field. With the cars packed together this close, it’s bound to happen at least once. Look for the best chances for this to happen to be at the end of stages or the end of the race as those are the chances in the race for playoff drivers to earn points. Do not be surprised if many drivers who are somewhat safe in the playoffs head to the back of the field during these times in order to avoid these accidents and stay safe in the playoffs.

This race is guaranteed to be filled with attrition and close racing which will only serve to increase drivers’ nerves. Be sure to tune in to the race at 2:00 p.m. EST on NBC.

 

Ethan Ellis is a second-year majoring in broadcast journalism. To contact him, please email ece5133@psu.edu.