The ‘Dega a Chase Wildcard

By Rich Foust

The Chase enters its fourth race at the track that, in the blink of an eye, can make or break the dreams of a championship for any driver and his team.

Talladega Superspeedway is located north of Talladega, Alabama, on ground formerly known as Anniston Air force base.

This track is a tri-oval and is known for its steep banking and unusual location of the start finish line. Talladega is NASCAR’s longest track at 2.66 miles. Turns 1 and 2 are banked at 33 degrees, turn 3 at 32.4 degrees, turn 4 at 32.5 degrees and the back straight is at a mere 3 degrees .

The lap record was set in 1987 by Bill Elliott at 44.998 seconds and still stands unchallenged today.

Originally named Alabama International Motor Speedway, the track opened on September 13, 1969, at a cost of 4 million dollars.

The first race at Talladega did not go as planed due to tire issues. Most all drivers walked away from their cars and substitute drivers filled those seats, except for Bobby Isaac, who ran his qualifying laps, before climbing out of his car to never return again. Although there were many issues during the race, it ended in a historic three-wide finish, with Richard Brickhouse as the winner.

Other drivers to get their first win at Talladega are Brian Vickers and Brad Keselowski.

‘Dega, as it’s affectionately called, is known for its high speed chess match type of racing. Tight, close racing, more often then not, leads to “The Big One,” which looms over every driver’s mind from the green flag to the inevitable crash that can take out half the field.

As a by-product of this style of racing, the race this Sunday at Talladega, could be a game changer for all Chase contenders – good or bad.

So fans, put some extra padding on the edge of your chair, because it’s more than likely, this is where you’ll spend most of the race this weekend. Talladega is the most exciting, yet unpredictable race of The Chase.

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