Rolling The Dice At Talladega For Race Two  

From a NASCAR Fan’s View

If you ask the drivers what they think of running a race at Talladega, many of them will say they will be rolling the dice or, maybe they’re hoping to miss the “Big One” or, the second or third “Big Ones” and be there at the end and be in the hunt for the win. Some may actually say they’re looking forward to it. The rest, well, they might say they just want to run in the pack, not lose the draft, avoid trouble and be in position to run for the win in the final laps. Any way you look at it, this second race in the Round of Twelve at Talladega is one of, if not the, most important race for eleven of the playoff drivers and none of them can afford to have a bad day.

There is actually only one that can have a bad day and not be affected and, as you already know, that would be Willian Byron. He’s already in the next round because of his win last weekend at Texas and, though I’m sure he would like to add a seventh win to his list for the year, he has no pressure on him to even finish. Of course, I believe not finishing is the furthest thing from his mind.

One of the drivers most talked about over the last week has been Kyle Larson. After a dominating performance at Texas, looking to be the winner and then losing control near the end and finishing thirty-first, he sits on the cutline only two points from not being able to move on to the next round. Before Texas, he had the best average finish of the first three playoff races. Before disaster struck, it looked as though he was easily going into the round of eight with no worries about Talladega or The Roval. Afterwards, well, let’s just say he can’t afford another bad day at the races.

Once again the Fords have shown up at Talladega with a lot of speed and, if there’s one thing that’s obvious and stands out at first glance in the lineup for this race, it has to be the fact of how many Fords are starting in the top ten. Seven of them start in the top ten with Kyle Larson’s Chevy breaking up the Fords having the first six spots starting fourth.

Once again, Kyle Larson has shown up with a fast car but, in all honesty, Talladega has been a struggle for him. Fron this fan’s view, I think this just might be the Super Speedway race his luck turns around. But, then again, that’s just my opinion.

So, since the qualifying was single car at a time, does it really mean much at all other than a possible good choice for picking a pit stall? Generally speaking – and I’m not an expert by any means – a lot will change when they’re all running two or three wide and, with all the ebbs and flows and changing of positions lap after lap. And then there is always the precariousness of the pit stops and possibly losing the draft. A lot has to go right for someone to win at a Super Speedway like Daytona or Talladega and a lot will have to go right for the driver and team that wins this one.

There will be important strategy calls made and some of them may just make the difference between finishing and not finishing or winning or not winning. Will the manufacturers stick together or will they pick and choose their own good drafting partners? Will the teammates of those needing help in the playoffs actually be able to help them? From this fan’s view, there are a lot of questions and strategies going into this one and it’s going to be anyone’s guess just how it will go.

With the obvious speed advantage the Fords have once again shown up with, that suggests to me the rest of the field may have some work to do especially if they are needing points to either keep or get a firmer grip on their chances of making the next round or even the final four.

Of course, you can also say there are a lot of miles to go for the entire field to figure out how to possibly win this important race in the second round of the playoffs. Honestly though, a quick look at the qualifying tells me, though there is a slight speed advantage for the Fords, overall, the speeds are very close for a lot of the top fifteen or so and, at least from this fan’s view, that means this is going to be a shootout from beginning to end…

Hey, this is Russ and that’s my view… See ya next time…
All views expressed are strictly the opinion of the writer
© October 1, 2023 – all rights reserved
Rusty Norman, and
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