Talladega is one of those races that the predicted winner isn't always the one that wins. Why? Because of the restrictor plates, they limit the horsepower output making about 42 of the 43 car field equal, and also because of "The Big One" referring to the huge wreck that usually happens at each Talladega race, it is in reference the large amount of cars that are involved in the crash. Using the restrictor plate not only makes the cars equal it also creates large pack racing, because the cars are so equal they can't get away from each other. This type of racing at Talladega can be compared to a swarm of killer 'Tracker Jackers' bees from the Hunger Games - a swarm of 43 angry cars in pursuit of the elusive checkered flag and the closer they get to their goal the more reckless or impatient they become.
My only hope is these drivers today keep it together and we don't end up with a situation like Eric McClure's. McClure had to be cut from his vehicle and was air lifted to hospital where he is currently being monitored, no further updates other than the one released last night were available at time of posting.
Look for Hendrick and Roush powered cars to be really good today. If I were to pick a winner it would be from one of these two teams, but with the 'Tracker Jacker' swarm out there, like the Hunger Games, it is anyone's race to win, and everyone's to lose.
NASCAR RnR's very own Matt Weaver is at Talladega this weekend so look for great insights, photos, and other tidbits of info from him during the race. You can catch him here or on Twitter (@MattWeaverSBN).
Live television coverage will start on Fox at noon EST. For those who are away from the television or prefer the radio broadcasts, goprn.com will stream the race live on any supported computer or mobile device.
Starting line-up is after the jump, see you on the other side.
|1||24||Jeff Gordon||Chevrolet||DuPont 20 Years||191.624||49.973||Leader|
|2||22||AJ Allmendinger||Dodge||Shell / Pennzoil-AAA||191.111||50.107||-0.134|
|4||43||Aric Almirola||Ford||Verifone Sail||190.981||50.141||-0.168|
|5||5||Kasey Kahne||Chevrolet||Farmers Insurance||190.772||50.196||-0.223|
|6||16||Greg Biffle||Ford||3M / O'Reilly Auto Parts||190.586||50.245||-0.272|
|8||14||Tony Stewart||Chevrolet||Office Depot / Mobil 1||190.476||50.274||-0.301|
|9||55||Michael Waltrip||Toyota||Aaron's "Color your way to Talladega"||190.245||50.335||-0.362|
|10||17||Matt Kenseth||Ford||Best Buy||190.200||50.347||-0.374|
|11||21||Trevor Bayne||Ford||Motorcraft / Quick Lane Tire & Auto Center||190.170||50.355||-0.382|
|12||42||Juan Montoya||Chevrolet||Target / Kraft||190.140||50.363||-0.390|
|13||2||Brad Keselowski||Dodge||Miller Lite||190.072||50.381||-0.408|
|14||39||Ryan Newman||Chevrolet||Bass Pro Shops / Tracker Boats||190.064||50.383||-0.410|
|15||56||Martin Truex Jr.||Toyota||NAPA Auto Parts||189.958||50.411||-0.438|
|16||26||Josh Wise*||Ford||Morristown Driver's Service||189.958||50.411||-0.438|
|17||27||Paul Menard||Chevrolet||Turtle Wax / Menards||189.906||50.425||-0.452|
|18||88||Dale Earnhardt Jr.||Chevrolet||National Guard / Diet Mountain Dew||189.864||50.436||-0.463|
|22||11||Denny Hamlin||Toyota||FedEx Express||189.680||50.485||-0.512|
|23||1||Jamie McMurray||Chevrolet||Bass Pro Shops / Tracker Boats||189.601||50.506||-0.533|
|24||15||Clint Bowyer||Toyota||Aaron's / Alabama National Champions||189.556||50.518||-0.545|
|26||38||David Gilliland||Ford||Taco Bell||189.354||50.572||-0.599|
|27||30||David Stremme||Toyota||Stock Car Steel and Aluminum||189.331||50.578||-0.605|
|28||32||Terry Labonte||Ford||C&J Energy||189.182||50.618||-0.645|
|30||20||Joey Logano||Toyota||Dollar General||189.073||50.647||-0.674|
|31||78||Regan Smith||Chevrolet||Furniture Row / Farm American||189.051||50.653||-0.680|
|32||34||David Ragan||Ford||Front Row Motorsports||189.021||50.661||-0.688|
|33||51||Kurt Busch||Chevrolet||Phoenix Construction Services||188.984||50.671||-0.698|
|34||10||David Reutimann||Chevrolet||Tommy Baldwin Racing||188.902||50.693||-0.720|
|35||98||Michael McDowell||Ford||Curb Records||188.630||50.766||-0.793|
|36||97||Bill Elliott||Toyota||NEMCO Motorsports||188.171||50.890||-0.917|
|37||87||Joe Nemechek||Toyota||AMFMEnergy.com / Pellet & Wood Stoves||188.012||50.933||-0.960|
|38||36||Dave Blaney||Chevrolet||Golden Corral||187.625||51.038||-1.065|
|39||23||Robert Richardson Jr.||Toyota||North Texas Pipe||186.710||51.288||-1.315|
|40||83||Landon Cassill||Toyota||Burger King / Dr Pepper||186.293||51.403||-1.430|
|41||93||Travis Kvapil+||Toyota||Burger King / Dr Pepper||186.206||51.427||-1.454|
|42||47||Bobby Labonte+||Toyota||Bush's Baked Beans||185.790||51.542||-1.569|
|43||33||Tony Raines||Chevrolet||Little Joe's Autos||186.529||51.338||-1.365|
|Did Not Qualify|
|44||249||J.J. Yeley||Toyota||America Israel Racing / JPO Absorbents||186.296||51.402||-1.429|
* Denotes Rookie