It’s that time of year again. The weather is nice, school is almost out, summer is looming and Talladega is calling. It is finally time to hit the pavement at the biggest track in NASCAR and fans couldn’t be more excited. Talladega is known for nasty wrecks, top speeds and big parties, and I’m not just referring to the infield campground.Oct 5, 2012; Talladega, AL, USA; NASCAR Sprint Cup Series drivers race at the Talladega Superspeedway
. Mandatory Credit: Marvin Gentry-USA TODAY Sports
Taking to my various social media sites, I asked race fans what they loved most about Talladega Super Speedway. The responses I received varied between the happenings on track and the party off track.
There are two aspects of Talladega that set it, and its sister track Daytona, apart from every other track on the circuit. The size of the track allows for 3 and 4-wide racing lines and big packs of cars running together. One fan said that he loves the wide open spaces that define Talladega because it gives the drivers lots of space to make moves.
The other part of Talladega and Daytona that set them apart from other tracks is the size of the wrecks. Race fans love to see the big wrecks, even though that might mean that their driver has been taken out of the race. With cars running so close together, the “big one” is inevitable.
The party inside the track is even bigger than the party during the race. Campers from all over make the trip to Talladega to camp out in the infield. Out on Talladega Boulevard, you will find people handing out beads, souvenirs and lots of food. This season, there is even a contest through Coca-Cola to find the best tailgating party site in the infield. Daytona 500 Pole Sitter and Coca-Cola Racing driver Danica Patrick will be scoping out and crowning the winner this weekend (Check out the promo here).
The best thing about Super Speedway races is that it is really anyone’s race. Drivers with underfunded teams and even drivers with little Sprint Cup experience have a chance to win the race. Many drivers and fans think of Talladega as the wild card race but there are a few drivers who excel at this type of racing.
One of those drivers is Danica Patrick. She made history in Daytona when she became the first woman to sit on the pole in the Sprint Cup Series and went on to finish eighth. Her Crew Chief Tony Gibson and his team know how to set up great Speedway cars and they are bringing her Pole car from Daytona to the track this weekend. She will definitely be one to watch for on Sunday and also on Saturday as she makes her second start for Turner Scott Motorsports in the Nationwide Series.
Both Brad Keselowski and Clint Bowyer have multiple top-5 finishes as well as a win at Talladega and have been running strong this season. Keselowski and his team are under scrutiny after failing pre-race inspection in Texas and a good run for them will be very beneficial, especially if they lost the final appeal that is set to be heard in the coming weeks. Both drivers have a good speedway record and if they start up front, they have a good chance at staying there.
Looking at a track like Talladega, anything is possible. You never really know who is going to take the checkers until they cross the finish line. So whether you are at the track, at a bar or watching from the comforts of your own home, gather up some friends, get some good food and be prepared for one wild ride.