If you got most of the drivers still alive in the 2017 NASCAR Playoffs to give you an honest answer, they’d probably tell you they wish that Talladega Superspeedway wasn’t part of the postseason. It’s not that the track doesn’t have the cachet, because it certainly does. In fact, it’s one of the most famous venues in stock car racing.
No, it’s the unpredictability of restrictor plate racing, especially at Talladega, that keeps drivers and crew chiefs up at night (except for Ricksy Stenhouse Jr., unless he’s giddy like a kid waiting for Christmas). You can be having a good day, all day, and then bam: the Big One arrives and collects you in its frightening embrace.
On the other hand, those who have a good day at Talladega will probably breathe a sigh of relief. And that’s even more true for the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series, where this weekend will cut the field of championship contenders down to six.
After a Round of 12 playoff opener at Charlotte, NASCAR heads to the longest and wildest track on the circuit — Talladega Superspeedway.
We can’t talk about Talladega without mentioning Dale Earnhardt Jr.. Sunday’s race marks Junior’s final race at the Talladega — his top track. Earnhardt’s six wins at Talladega are tied with Jeff Gordon’s total for second all-time. His father, Dale Earnhardt, holds the track record with 10 victories.
The Alabama faithful will be going nuts when Earnhardt is introduced for the final time even though he is out of championship contention. Currently, Martin Truex Jr. leads the playoff standings after postseason wins at Chicago and Charlotte. Ricky Stenhouse Jr. has the most work to do but is a two-time restrictor plate winner this season and could be another surprise winner at a track where the only thing to expect is the unexpected.