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Talladega 500 Race Preview

Written by Gabriel Tsui, Edited by Sharifah Zaqreeztrina


After an incredible race weekend in Texas where we saw a photo finish in XFinity Series between Sam Mayer and Ryan Sieg, and an unbelievable end to the Texas 400 where Chase Elliott snapped his 42-race long winless streak, we now head towards Talladega for the tenth race of the season. 


As we return to yet another superspeedway race, one of the most unpredictable races of the NASCAR calendar, will anyone change the status quo and snap the domination between JGR and Hendrick Motorsport?


Texas 400 Race Preview

The race started off with Kyle Larson on pole, leading the field to the green flag. Larson held onto the lead, and started to pull away from the pack. At lap 35, the pit cycle began and most cars came in for their first pit stop of the race, but four cars including Chase Elliott decided against pitting, stretching out the stint instead. 


The gamble paid off, as a spin by Jimmy Johnson brought out the yellow, and they pounced on the chance to pit again. With significant tyre advantage over fellow competitors, Elliott jumped all the way from 24th to 7th to finish the stage, while Kyle Larson came home to take the stage win.


Stage two started off with Ryan Blaney leading the way, but green flag racing didn’t last long as Christopher Bell spun and took out Alex Bowman and John Hunter Nemechek. After a string of cautions throughout the stage, Ross Chastain held onto the lead for the final restart of stage two, and went on to win the stage. 


On the other side of the stage break, Bubba Wallace led the way but a wreck between Wallace and Briscoe gave the lead to Harrison Burton. Burton didn’t hold onto the lead for long, as Tyler Reddick went round the outside for the lead. Reddick held onto it for a while, but a botched restart saw Elliott ascend to the lead.


Elliott briefly lost the lead, but managed to reclaim it on another restart. He held onto the lead through double overtime and won the Texas 400, ending a 42-race long winless streak, and thus getting a ticket to the playoffs.


Track Preview

Located in Lincoln, Alabama, the Talladega Superspeedway is one of the largest oval on American soil. Built in 1969, it has hosted a race every year since its opening. Built on asphalt, the tri-oval layout has a length of 2.660 miles (4.281 kilometres), while the turns have a banking of 32 to 33 degrees. 


Talladega hosts two races every season, and this is the first one early in the season, while the other is usually hosted during the round of 12. As Talladega is a superspeedway, the cars will be equipped with restrictor plates, meaning the drivers will be bump drafting. This increases the unpredictability of the race, as one wrong move may send another driver into the walls.


The race will commence on the Sunday of April 21st, at 15:00 ET (12:00 PT, 21:00 CET). Weather forecast shows that there will be a possibility of rain on the weekend, so the race could be delayed until Monday.


Race Predictions

The Hendricks are absolutely on fire right now. After two consecutive dominating performances, they are pulling away from their competitors on the points leaderboard. They have won all races in the month of April, and the competition looks very far behind. 


However, this is Talladega we are talking about. This is one of the most unpredictable races on the calendar, meaning anything could happen here.


It is hard to put a prediction out on who has the best odds to win because anyone could get taken out, fall to the rear of the pack, or jump up multiple spots in mere seconds at superspeedways. 


Although, in recent years, Chevrolet have won multiple times here in Talladega. So, the ultimate prediction here would be one of the Chevys taking a win, most likely being the Hendricks or the Trackhouse drivers.


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