Hoping to re-create the magic of his season-opening front-row qualifying run at Daytona, and then finishing the job with an uninterrupted run to the checkered flag this time on race day, Aaron Fike and the #43 Curb Records Dodge of the Curb Agajanian Performance Group come to the Talladega Superspeedway 2.66-mile tri-oval for Saturday's NASCAR Busch Series Aaron's 312.
The 23-year-old driver out of Galesburg, Ill., has made 46 career NBS starts to date, including last spring's NBS race here at Talladega.
In this season's opening race at Daytona, Fike qualified second in the #43 CAPG Dodge, missing the pole by a mere 43-thousandths of a second. His race-day fortunes turned out to be not so great as he was taken out early when a fellow competitor blew a tire on the front straight and sent him into the outside retaining wall.
It's been a roller coaster ride the last several NBS weekends for Fike and the CAPG team. They logged solid top-20 finishes at Bristol and Nashville while struggling with handling difficulties at Texas and Phoenix.
A year ago this weekend, Fike made his first career NBS start here at Talladega, qualifying 27th in the #43 CAPG Dodge and fighting his way back for a 22nd-place finish after getting caught up in a 16-car accident in the early going.
As it was at Nashville two weeks ago, where the #43 team celebrated "43 Years of History-Making Music" by Curb Records, music will once again be the theme this weekend. Nashville-based Curb Records will have top billing on the #43 racing machine to celebrate the recently released album by Curb recording artist Tim McGraw (Tim McGraw Hits, Vol. 2 -- Reflected).
AARON FIKE QUOTES ON TALLADEGA -- "The memories of Daytona are fresh on our minds this weekend every way you look at it. We were really strong in qualifying and started on the front row. That was something really special -- that kind of result at that place. It was very disappointing what happened to us in the race because we never even got the chance to make it to our first pit stop. It was just a matter of being in the wrong place at the wrong time. That's what happens in these restrictor-plate races. Hopefully, we can qualify well and then get the job done on Saturday. You really never know what's going to happen in these races. All we can do is bring our A-game and do everything we can to stay out of trouble. We know we can be as fast as anybody on these big tracks."