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Sweet Home Alabama – NASCAR at Talladega Preview

It’s time to “Shake and Bake!”

Blake Smith

Last Saturday night, I had the opportunity to attend the Kimberly Perry show with Moon in Evansville. I am still trying to figure out who those other two guys were with her?? They opened for a group called Rascal Flatts but when Rascal Flatts hit the stage, I was in my recliner watching the last 30 laps at Charlotte. Needless to say, it was a quick trip from the Ford Center back to Owensboro. Moon, where were you? “Having a Chivas in my recliner”! I was “Done”

This weekend, the Sprint Cup Series travels to “Sweet Home Alabama” for Sunday’s Camping World RV Sales 500 at Talladega Superspeedway. Before I preview the unpredictable racing at the 2.66 mile oval, let’s take a look at this week’s headlines or mainly…Michael Waltrip Racing.

Sadler in the #55 in the Final 4 Races

Brian Vickers informed Michael Waltrip Racing on Monday that he would be out of the driver’s seat for the remaining 5 races of the season. Vickers will be taking anti-coagulation medications for a small blood clot discovered in his right leg. Team Owner, Michael Waltrip will be in the #55 this weekend at Talladega as previously scheduled. MWR has chosen Nascar Nationwide Series driver, Elliott Sadler, to fill the seat of the #55 in the final 4 events. He’s “Hip to My Heart”.

Michael Waltrip Racing unveils 2014 Plans

Also on Monday, Michael Waltrip Racing announced their racing plans for the 2014 season. The team will downsize from three full-time teams to two full-time teams with a partially scheduled third team. The third team will be used for Research and Development and will run based on sponsorship. Michael Waltrip will debut the third team at Daytona in February. Clint Bowyer will race the #15 Toyota with Brian Vickers scheduled to be in the #55 Aarons Toyota. Truex and crew chief, Chad Johnston have been notified they are free to negotiate with other teams. “Better Dig Two”.

Truex to Furniture Row Racing

When the dominoes begin to fall, boy, do they fall quick! After an announcement on Monday that Martin Truex would not be in the #56 Toyota, he found himself an open seat in a hurry! Truex signed on Wednesday night to fill the evacuated seat of the #78 in 2014. An official announcement is scheduled for Tuesday afternoon. It is unknown if NAPA will join Truex at the Colorado based team. “Don’t Let Me Be Lonely”.

Crew Chief Suspended by NASCAR

Todd Parrott, crew chief for the #43 team of Aric Almirola has been indefinitely suspended from NASCAR for violating the sanctioning body’s Substance Abuse Policy. Upon notification that employee Todd Parrott had violated the Abuse Policy, Richard Petty announced they fully support NASCAR’s ruling. Sammy Johns, VP of Operations for the team will handle crew chief duties this weekend at Talladega and in the forseeable future. “Better Dig Two”.

Wonder Bread returns to Talladega

Furniture Row Racing driver, Kurt Busch hopes to “Shake and Bake” like Ricky Bobby this weekend at Talladega. The Wonder Bread colors will return to the #78 car with a paint scheme inspired by the 2006 movie “Talladega Nights.” The sponsorship is the reintroduction of Wonder Bread which had been off the market since last year due to bankruptcy. “Like A Postcard from Paris”.

Race Preview

44 teams will take to the track this afternoon for Sprint Cup Series practices at Talladega Superspeedway. Like usual at Talladega, the cars will use Friday for strictly practice sessions with Saturday qualifying. After qualifying, the cars will be impounded until Sunday morning. With 44 teams entered, that means one team will go home after that Saturday qualifying session.

Teams that are secured a starting position will spend the first practice in qualifying trim which will mean single car runs. The top-35 teams will then use the second practice for drafting sessions and building comfort into their car in traffic. With this being an impound race, the qualifying and race setups will mirror each other with the only differences being air pressure in the tires and amount of tape on the front nose.

With Talladega, comes a variety of strategies and unknowns. Some drivers will use the strategy to stay upfront and try to avoid the “big one.” Other drivers will try to stay behind the main pack in a smaller draft to miss the “big one” and be there at the end when it counts. There is no perfect plan for Talladega.

Blake’s Chase Update:

Contenders:
  1. Matt Kenseth
  2. Jimmie Johnson
  3. Kevin Harvick
  4. Jeff Gordon
  5. Kyle Busch
The Outsiders
  1. Greg Biffle
  2. Kurt Busch
  3. Clint Bowyer
  4. Dale Earnhardt Jr.
  5. Carl Edwards
Stick a Fork in ‘Em
  1. Joey Logano
  2. Ryan Newman
  3. Kasey Kahne

Following Sunday’s Wildcard at Talladega, the picture for the Championship will be much clearer.

Blake’s Pick for ‘Dega

When it comes to picking a winner for Talladega, the best strategy is to pick a winner out of a hat. Who would have thought David Ragan would be in victory lane in the Spring Race? When it comes to my pick for Sunday…SHAKE AND BAKE! My pick is the Wonder Bread Chevrolet of Kurt “Ricky Bobby“ Busch.

Getty Images\Todd Warshaw

Moon’s Pick

Kimberly Perry Blue Jays
Twitter

               

My #1 girl … not Kimberly Perry

Jonathan Ferry\Getty Images

but DANICA! “I’m a Keeper”.

Sunday’s Coverage of the Camping World RV Sales 500 begins at 12 Noon on WBKR and WBKR.com!

 

               

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