After racing last week on the slow half-mile track at Martinsville, NASCAR changes gears this week for the Amp Energy 500 at Talladega Superspeedway.
This will be the highest speeds we will see all year, as Talladega is known for its steep banking, drafting and usually a dramatic and crazy last few laps.
Bet the 2009 AMP Energy 500
Talladega is the Chase race that the title contenders fear the most, since the unpredictable can happen anytime there, including the "big one” - a major pileup involving numerous drivers that could wipe out Jimmie Johnson's big lead over Mark Martin and the other drivers in the Chase.
The key this week for Jimmie Johnson is staying out of trouble and avoiding the "big one," which could see him point racing instead of racing to win. Although this track has had its surprises, you usually will find the experienced plate drivers in victory lane. Kurt Busch 12/1
We have always been impressed with the way Kurt Busch has raced on plate tracks, although he also might be the unluckiest driver when it comes to plate racing since he has yet to win one. In his last 10 races here, Busch has only been outside of the top 10 two times, which is an amazing feat considering how fast you can lose positions if you lose the draft. You will almost find Busch up front in the plate races, which help keep him out of trouble and have led to his success here and at Daytona. With the way this team has struggled during the Chase, we think this could be the race that Busch finally breaks through. Tony Stewart 9/1
Tony Stewart won this race last year for his first win at Talladega and we think he has a very good chance of repeating. Talladega has been a very good track for Stewart, but it's also a track that has given him problems in the past since he has a tendency to lose the draft for one reason or another. If he can keep his car upfront and avoid getting caught up in the "big one," we could very well see Stewart get his first Chase win this year. Live Long Shot Kevin Harvick 20/1
This team has let us down all year long, but Harvick has always done well on plate tracks and both he and his teammates have started to show some life the last few weeks. This could be the week that Richard Childress Racing finally gets a win this year.
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