Will the chaotic superspeedway produce a fresh face in victory lane?
A nervous energy will be running through the NASCAR Xfinity Series drivers as they head to Talladega this week. The track known for it’s massive, multi-car crashes can take just as much luck to end up in victory lane as skill. Drivers that don’t usually race at the front will be hoping the luck falls their way and there’s a good chance of that happening at Talladega. The name of the game is to stay as close to the front as possible and miss the crashes. If you can do that, Talladega has a history of rewarding the underdog.
Dash 4 Cash
With his victory in Martinsville last weekend, John Hunter Nemechek also took home the $100,000 Dash 4 Cash prize. He dominated the entire night, leading 198 of 250 laps as well as sweeping the stages. The only thing that went wrong seemed to be catching his car on fire during the burnout. That is until he turned that into an opportunity to mention his sponsor, which happened to be a fire extinguishing company.
His closest competition for the money was Josh Berry, who also had a fast car that night but couldn’t make it back to the front after going off strategy. The final two Xfinity Series drivers making the Dash 4 Cash at Talladega will be Cole Custer and Sammy Smith. With teammates being such a big factor in superspeedway racing, it’ll be interesting to see what happens if Smith and Nemechek find themselves drafting together in the final laps.
Talladega Superspeedway is definitely one of the tracks that sticks out when looking at the NASCAR Xfinity Series schedule. The 2.66 mile oval is home to thrilling three-wide racing, huge multi-car crashes, and wild last lap passes. It has a love-hate relationship with the drivers, but it’s mostly love from fans. Nothing matches the excitement of the final laps in a superspeedway race. Talladega tends to have even closer finishes because of the start/finish line position. Unlike most tracks, where it’s in the middle of the straightway, the line at Talladega it’s closer to turn 1. That extra length has led to quite a few photo finishes.
Since his hot start to the season, Austin Hill has cooled off a bit lately. After racing on dirt and a road course in the last few weeks, superspeedway racing will be a welcome sight for the Georgia native. Hill has swept the superspeedway races this season at Daytona and Atlanta, but surprisingly will be looking for his first NASCAR Xfinity Series win at Talladega. In fact, he’s never won at Talladega in any NASCAR series. Look for Hill to be at the front early and often. A dark horse to look for this weekend is going to be Parker Kligerman. He always runs towards the front at superspeedways and also has a pair of Talladega wins in the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series.
How To Watch: Ag-Pro 300 (All times EST)
- Qualifying: Friday, April 21, 5:35 p.m. on FS1
- Ag-Pro 300: Saturday, April 22, 4 p.m. on FS1