Talladega is viewed as the wildcard of the Chase, where anything can and will happen. The large questions that loom are whose Championship hopes will grow and whose will fade? I’ll answer that and more in this week's edition of 5 Questions.
What are Dale Earnhardt Jr’s. chances of winning the race and could he also get back into contention for the Chase?
When it comes to plate races and Talladega specifically, there’s one particular driver who's proven success cannot be ignored, and that's Earnhardt Jr. However, this time around, the Hendrick Motorsports driver hasn't gotten off to a great start in the Chase. Being seventh in points and 39 points behind he’s going to need to step up his game if he wants a shot at the Championship. At Talladega as long as you miss the big one, you should be safe and have a decent finish. With five wins, Dale Earnhardt Jr. may be just fine.
Who is out of the Chase with just three races complete?
Dover wasn't kind to Chase contenders. Matt Kenseth, Greg Biffle, Tony Stewart and Kasey Kahne all had less than stellar races. Talladega can make or break a season and this upcoming race just might be the deciding factor for who's in and who's out. It is seeming that Kenseth, Biffle, and even possibly Gordon are no longer a factor in this Chase, but if other top contenders such as Jimmie Johnson, Brad Keselowski, and Denny Hamlin have horrible days that could open the door for these guys.
Will the "big one" happen?
Lately Chase races have been full of long green flag runs, making fans complain that the Chase has seemed dull and boring. This weekend Talladega will likely mean the cautions flags return to action, giving the fans what they want to see. The excitement of Talladega's bump drafting racing is a huge unknown, anything can happen.
Could a non-Chase driver win?
As I said, anything goes when it comes to Talladega and yes, a strong driver like Kyle Busch has a great chance of winning. 'Dega is like a game of chess: have a great strategy planned and move your knight at the right time.
Will we see aggressive racing?
We will likely see the Chase drivers playing it safe to avoid the wrecks, which may mean many of those 12 drivers drop to the rear of the field. On the other hand a Chase driver that sits seventh through tenth in the points may want to race hard. As for non-Chase drivers, a win is important to improve their spot in the standings so it's doubtful they would be aggressive if it comes to a win.
Feel free to tell us your thoughts in the comment section below.