It’s Talladega; it must be Dale Earnhardt Jr.

It’s Talladega; it must be Dale Earnhardt Jr.

Last week NASCAR was at Richmond International Raceway where we had tire wear and tempers flare. This week we may have much of the same but it will be different. This Week NASCAR and Dale Earnhardt Jr. return to Talladega Superspeedway.

Talladega is really a special racetrack to the sport with the history of it and how it was conceived. The track eventually turned into one of the most impressive and unique, concerning speed, and how the style of racing that you have is so unique, it’s just amazing what it has been able to deliver year after year.” Dale Earnhardt Jr. added “I enjoy going to Talladega, and I remember it was one of my favorites as a kid. When I was young, out of all the tracks that I had the chance to go to, this was definitely one of my favorites to come to. Milling around in the garage during the race and just how big the place was and the cars looked different because of the superspeedway bodies — it was just a really fun experience for me.

The Talladega Superspeedway is the biggest oval track that NASCAR goes to. It is a high banked superspeedway where the speeds are so high the cars need restrictor plates on the engines in order to keep them from going air borne. Sometime that doesn’t help and the cars go flying, that is what makes this race exciting.  There is 33 degrees of banking in the corners but more importantly 16.5 degrees of banking on the front stretch. The start finish line is at the end of the front stretch leading to some of the most dramatic finishes in NASCAR. The race is 188 laps or 500 miles.

This year at Daytona International Speedway, Dale Earnhardt Jr. was slicing and dicing his way from the front to the back to the front like it was 2004. He seemed to know which lane was the fastest and in an instant would change to that lane. He was so good at doing this that at times one would wonder is he in the fastest lane or is his lane the fastest because he is in it.

Each and every week we look at the driver ratings to see which driver is good. This week we are at Talladega and that is kind of true but where at one track a rating of 120 represents domination, Matt Kenseth rating of 91.6 only says he races up front a lot. Note Ricky Stenhouse Jr. has a higher rating at 94.7 but that is because it represents only two races not 12 like Kenseth’s.  Dale Earnhardt Jr’s rating is 91.5, right behind Kenseth.

Since driver ratings don’t matter much here we look to who has sealed the deal and won. Dale Earnhardt Jr. is the master. From 2001 to 2004 he had five wins and two second place finishes. To say he owned the place is an understatement. This year he is driving like 2004 when he last won. That is why Dale Earnhardt Jr. will win the Aarons 499.

If you cannot get to Talladega Superspeedway for the Aarons 499 it will be broadcast on FOX Sunday, May 4th starting at 12 PM ET.

In addition this is the first superspeedway that NASCAR has visited since the new knock out qualifying format was added. Will the teams pair up and draft in order to get their drivers to the front? Will the smaller teams work together and draft in order to make the race. This qualifying is set to be the most exciting yet. It is expected to be so exciting that qualifying was moved to FOX, Saturday May 3rd at 1 PM ET.

Brian Berg Jr. is a NASCAR writer for BehindPitRow.com.

Feature Photo Credit: 291384 John Harrelson/Getty Images

Top 10 Driver Ratings at Talladega
Ricky Stenhouse Jr………………… 94.7
Matt Kenseth………………………… 91.6
Dale Earnhardt Jr…………………… 91.5
Kurt Busch……………………………. 87.4
Brian Vickers………………………… 87.3
Jimmie Johnson…………………….. 85.1
Brad Keselowski……………………. 84.4
David Ragan…………………………. 84.2
Aric Almirola…………………………. 87.3
Jamie McMurray…………………….. 83.3
Note: Driver Ratings compiled from 2005-2013 races (18 total) among active drivers at Talladega Superspeedway.