We’ve left the comfy confines of Martinsville and are now on 2.66 miles of wide open Talladega. That’s “wide open” in the sense of “plenty of room” as well as “they’re floorin’ it, dude!” This marks ten weeks already, can ya believe it?
Here’s what to look for:
–Denny Hamlin won the Pole for today’s race. Many think of him for the Virginia tracks, and also his repeated victories in Daytona, but he’s actually got a Win at Talladega recently, too! And a string of three straight Talladega Poles from the Fall of ’20 to ’21. He carries a 12.4 average finish over the last ten races, the best of any driver in the field today.
-Last year’s winner was Ross Chastain, launching from 19th and finishing 1st. Today he’ll start 23rd, but has proven he has no problem moving through the field.
–Chase Elliott was the winner the last time we were here, taking the checkers last Fall. He returned to NASCAR at Martinsville last week, just in time to get a race under his belt before a huge Talladega Win? Let’s find out soon! Over the last ten races, Chase carries a 13.6 average finish with two Wins.
–Erik Jones helped Chase Elliott to the Win last Fall, and helped himself to a 6th place finish, too! He also bagged a 6th for the Spring, making him one of the highest scoring drivers at Talladega in 2022. Today, he’ll roll off 24th, a few positions ahead of Chase Elliott.
–Michael McDowell has finished 3rd in two of the last four races here, and one of his other results was an 8th. Solid 2022 for him, too, looking to build on that for today. He’s got teammates out there and the Fords were strong in Qualifying. Going to be a good one!
Back to racing, and some rad food awaiting us. We had The Big One before, today we’ll have…
…our take on the Talla-Mento Dogwich! It’s basically grilled cheese (we’re using Spicy Buffalo cheese instead of Pimento Cheese) with two all-beef hot dogs butterflied in the middle. Yum! I like the warmth in the back of my mouth as I type this. Not overly hot, but the right amount of kick. Great job, Leese! (And let’s go, Michael McDowell! I’ve got my Front Row Motorsports shirt on for ya!)
Coverage of the race starts on FOX at 3:00pm, green flag scheduled for 3:20pm.