Larry Mac: Here’s the best strategy for winning at Talladega
You are going to see a lot of different strategies Sunday at Talladega Superspeedway. I know one strategy is to spend as little time on pit road as possible. If I was still a crew chief, I wouldn’t do a lot of four tire stops.
The reality that everyone knows at a place like Daytona or Talladega is that the only safe place to be on that racetrack is out front leading. I know it sounds crazy, but even running second, third or fourth is not safe.
So one of my main goals Sunday as a crew chief would be to do everything I can to help my guy get the best track position he can, and a lot of that can be accomplished during rapid-fire and mistake-free pit stops.
I also want to work the strategy where I don’t have to make a green-flag pit stop. The other big component is to make sure I have my teammates out there on the track in sync with what I am doing, because in most cases that’s the only way the strategy game will work for some of them.
That’s from my crew-chief side. From the driver’s side, like I mentioned, there is only one safe place in the entire joint and that’s leading the race. I think everyone realizes the old strategy — of riding around in the back all day long to play it safe until near the end — is long gone.
These teams that have tried it in the past have seen that strategy evolve to where when it came time to go, they couldn’t. The other obstacle they’ve learned is that when it came time to go and they could go, they basically ran into a wall of four-wide cars and couldn’t get up to the front.
So Sunday the best strategy is to get to the front and do everything humanly possible to stay there.