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Talladega 500 Race Preview

Written by Gabriel Tsui, Edited by Vyas Ponnuri

Image Credit - James Gilbert, Getty Images

After a gruelling race in Fort Worth, Texas, NASCAR heads to Talladega for the second race in the ‘Round of 12’. Who can take a race win to get an early advance to the Round of 8?

Texas Race Debrief

After more than three-and-a-half hours of racing under the scorching Texas heat, temperatures reaching upto 101 degrees Fahrenheit, William Byron took the race win, and a pass to the round of 8.

Bubba Wallace led the early parts of the race, but Kyle Larson climbed all the way from 11th to the top spot, holding on until the restart at lap 381, when Larson got taken out of the lead by Wallace, as they went side-by-side into turn one.

However, late in the race, Byron retook the lead on the final restart, capitalising on a slightly poor restart from Wallace. After a couple more laps, he took the chequered flag, and put on the big hat for the sixth time this season.

Byron’s win also marked the 300th for Hendricks Motorsport, an incredible milestone for the Hendricks family.

Track Preview

The second race of the ‘Round of 12’ will be hosted at the Talladega Superspeedway. Located in Lincoln, Alabama, the Talladega Superspeedway is the longest oval track on the NASCAR calendar. It is 2.660 miles (4.281 kilometres) in length, possessing a monstrous banking of 33 degrees on the turns.

A special trait of superspeedways such as Daytona and Talladega are the restrictor plates run by drivers, which slow down air intake, and result in slower speeds. Restrictor plates also cause bump drafting, and bump drafting tends to cause huge crashes that take out multiple drivers.

The drivers will race around the track for 188 laps, 60 each for stages one and two, and 68 laps for the final stage. Weather forecast suggests another weekend of sunny and clear skies. The race will commence on October 1st, Sunday, at 14:00 ET (11:00 PT, 20:00 CEST).

Race Predictions

Superspeedways are difficult to predict, simply because of how easy it is to go from leading, to the back of the field. However, past trends are a good reference point. In the past ten years, Chevrolet and Toyota cars have each won twice, but the Fords have won a whopping six times, sweeping the victories from 2014 to 2019.

Following this trend, the Fords of Chris Buescher, Ryan Blaney, and Brad Keselowski have the advantage, and they have the best chances of winning this race. Looking at the regular season Talladega race earlier this year, despite Kyle Busch capitalising on the restart, and winning on the white flag rules, five Fords finished in the top ten, with four in the top five.

Three of the four drivers, conveniently, were Blaney, Buescher, and Keselowski. The trio hold the top odds for this race, and one of them might just win the race. Also, one must remember: Bump drafting is a team game. The more friends you have at the front, you are more likely to send the car to victory lane.


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