* Talladega Offers Restrictor-Plate Twist To Chase * Only 4 Of 10 Chase Drivers Have Won At Talladega Talladega Success Unknown To Majority of Chase Drivers DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (Oct. 3, 2006) -- It's time for what has become the annual...
* Talladega Offers Restrictor-Plate Twist To Chase
* Only 4 Of 10 Chase Drivers Have Won At Talladega
Talladega Success Unknown To Majority of Chase Drivers
DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (Oct. 3, 2006) -- It's time for what has become the annual "Chase chess match."
Sunday's UAW-Ford 500 at Talladega Superspeedway will place a premium on strategy, while applying across-the-board pressure to the 10 drivers involved in the Chase for the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup.
That pressure could especially be felt by the six Chase drivers who have yet to win at the 2.66-mile tri-oval -- the biggest oval track in the world.
That's correct: Only four of the 10 Chase drivers have Talladega victories to their credit, a group led by two of the sport's biggest names: Seventh-place Dale Earnhardt Jr. (No. 8 Budweiser Chevrolet) and sixth-place Jeff Gordon (No. 24 DuPont Chevrolet). Earnhardt leads active drivers with five Talladega wins; Gordon is second with four. Third-place Mark Martin (No. 6 AAA Ford) has two 'Dega victories while eighth-place Jimmie Johnson (No. 48 Lowe's Chevrolet) has one, that coming this past May.
Among the six drivers trying for an elusive first Talladega triumph, fourth-place Matt Kenseth (No. 17 DEWALT Ford) may have the upper hand, according to NASCAR's new Loop Data statistics. Looking at the data's "Driver Rating" -- an amalgam of several Loop Data stat categories that's akin to the NFL's "Quarterback Rating" -- Kenseth has a 103.0 rating gleaned from the last three Talladega events. That's the best among the six drivers who haven't won at Talladega and second among all Chase competitors, trailing only Gordon's 103.9.
Jeff Burton (No. 31 Cingular Wireless Chevrolet), the Chase leader for the second straight week, has a Talladega rating of 84.9, fourth among Chase drivers. Burton is one of six drivers yet to win at Talladega, but he does have 10 top-10 finishes there.