The Big One is bound to happen - Who will be the Lucky One and take the Checkers first?
The ARCA Race just finished up, and I have to say, I am really impressed with the way these guys ran. A 94 lap race, and only a handful of cautions. Dakoda Armstrong won the race and the ending of it looked much like any Nationwide or Sprint Cup race with the cars changing lanes, using the draft - even the side draft - and beating and banging for the win.
Brandon McReynolds, Larry's son, competed in the race, and although he wasn't a top contender, looked confident in the car, until mechanical problems took him out of contention. Steve Arpin, the newest of JR Motorsports drivers, ran this race and will also be in the number 7 Nationwide car. In fact, he almost took the pole position for that race, which will run tomorrow. Arpin will make his Nationwide debut from the 4th starting position. Chrissy Wallace, Mike Wallace's daughter, qualified ahead of her dad, her uncle Kenny, and her cousin Steven, and will start 18th.
The news last week was all about Kasey Kahne and his impending move to Hendrick Motor Sports in 2012. Speculation continues about where he will race in 2011 and Tony Stewart has said he and Rick Hendrick have spoken about it briefly, but nothing has yet been worked out. Add to the speculation is Kevin Harvick's contract, which ends at the end of the 2010 season. Kevin called out the media and said, basically, that they are all pretty stupid. He is tired of the reporting which includes an "anonymous" source, saying if you are going to report something, name the damn source. I have to agree with Kevin. I hate the anonymouse sources. Kevin also told the media that if there is something to report on his contract negotiations, he will let everyone know. At this point, he has said that he and Richard Childress have had many discussions about the future, but that there is nothing to report, yet.
None of the speculation, negotiation or drama seems to have affected Kevin in any way, as so far he has grabbed the pole for the Nationwide race tomorrow, with Carl Edwards starting alongside on the front row. It is Kevin's first series pole at Talladega.
In the Cup series, Ryan Newman will be going to a backup car, having crashed in practice today. The beating and banging that goes on at Talladega was evident on the track today during practice, putting an early start on Newman's luck in Talladega.
"I don't know what happened. I know I got hit. I just don't know why. I'm tired of being the one who gets hit at these places. I'm just going to start driving into everyone else the way they drive into me, and see if I can turn somebody else around and see what happens."
commented Newman after the team decided the damage was severe enough to bring out the backup car. Unfortunately, it was Mark Martin got into the back of Newman, and Mark's luck on the Superspeedways isn't much better than Newman's.
The weather, which has been a factor at almost every race this season, is once more a factor for Talladega. Severe weather has been forecast for the area tomorrow, but NASCAR is planning to continue with the schedule, hoping that the chance for severe weather will end up being just that, a chance.
So, you may be asking, when are you going to get to the flying cars? Well, although NASCAR has said the move from the wing to the spoiler on the rear deck lid will not change the way the cars fly through the air when turned backwards, as my friend, Andi, says "the thing is called a wing!" It seems some of the drivers are also convinced that the wing is what was causing the cars to take flight and are looking forward to driving in this race with the spoiler in place instead. Certainly, although it may not help with the flying issue, it will not hurt. With the wing gone, air will be able to get to the roof flaps, and hopefully they will react the way they are supposed to react.
What can we expect at Talladega this weekend? Well, as usual, we can expect "The Big One". Sometimes, the Big One at 'dega isn't so big, but more often than not, it involves more than five cars, and most of those cars are damaged so severely they cannot continue the race. The other thing that shouldn't be surprising is that you can do all the research you want about who runs well at the track, and really, it won't matter one bit. More often than not it seems, the winner comes from a little further back in the pack, leading Darrell Waltrip to say "where did he come from?"
Make your picks, analyse the stats all you want, but in the end, your best bet is to just go with your gut.