5 Questions Before ... Aaron's 499

Talladega Superspeedway is known for its hard racing, huge wrecks, and interesting stories. A curse is said to hang over the racetrack due to it being built over an Indian burial ground. Drivers flip, spin, and bang the wall at speeds exceeding 200mph. As good as the racing was in the Daytona 500 earlier this season, now many race fans are expecting to see a race just as good, if not better, with the return of the more traditional rear spoiler. Let’s just hope all 172 wheels (four per car) stay on the ground this weekend!

How soon will we see the big one? … We saw a “big one” last weekend at Texas when there really wasn’t supposed to be one. Does this mean we’ll see the “big two” or the “big three” this weekend? I’m sure everyone remembers this event last year when Carl Edwards went flying into the catch fence on the last lap. However, what a lot of people have forgotten was the fact that there were two big ones in this race last year. The first caution and the last caution of the day had a total of 24 cars involved. That’s over half the field! This is the type of track where the people who like wrecks tune in. Everyone else just holds their breath and hope they and their driver make it through.

What strange phenomenon are we going to see this weekend? … The Carl Edwards/Brad Keselowski fiasco was such a big deal that many forgot a lot of what happened during the actual race and leading up to that point. One of the most bizarre cautions in NASCAR history had to have been in last year’s Talladega race. The race broadcast came back from commercial to tell us that the shade from a caution light had fallen off and brought out the race caution. Isn’t it kind of ironic that the very item that alerts the teams that there is a caution was the cause of the caution itself?

How many times will Dale Earnhardt Jr. take the lead here? … The better question is how many times will we hear the grandstands erupt? The questions are basically synonymous with each other. The only other times we can hear the fans over the cars during the race is during the green flag and on restarts. Other than that, it means Earnhardt Jr. has taken the race lead. Earnhardt Jr. is pretty good here, so it will probably happen a few times. He led seven times for 20 laps in this race last year. What will it be this time around, and can he get to victory lane?

Who will be the surprise winner this year? … Last season Brad Keselowski and Jamie McMurray won the Talladega races. Keselowski was supposed to be developing his talents in the Cup Series, and McMurray practically had one foot out the door at Roush Fenway Racing. Yet Talladega is a crapshoot, where anybody can win if they put themselves in the right position. Some good dark horse picks for your fantasy league might be drivers like Joey Logano, David Ragan, and Keselowski. They’ve had strong runs here in the past, even though past finishes might not indicate that. Then again, their day could go south just as easily as it could go well. You’d have better chances drawing a name out of a hat.

What will we see from “have at it boys”? … First of all, Robin Pemberton originally said “Boys, have at it”, but the previous phrase has been more widely adapted. It doesn’t matter how you say it, though. But it may make a difference. Last year for the fall race at Talladega Superspeedway, NASCAR said they would not allow drivers to draft through the corners. Clearly it didn’t go over very well as the drivers spent quite a bit of the race single file and were clearly being cautious as to what they did on the track. NASCAR repealed the rule in the offseason, and there was some great racing at Daytona earlier this season. Now let’s hope the drivers are able to “self-police” themselves as well as they did at Daytona.

Bonus questions: Which driver(s) will whine about having to race here this weekend? … How many times will we see the Carl Edwards wreck replayed before we gouge our eyes out? … Will the spoiler keep the cars on the ground?

Photo courtesy of NASCARMedia. Opinions expressed are solely those of the author.
5 Questions Before ... Aaron's 499 5 Questions Before ... Aaron's 499 Reviewed by Summer Dreyer on Thursday, April 22, 2010 Rating: 5