Expect the unexpected at Talladega
I told you during the season that once the Chase got tighter, this weekend's race at Talladega became the one all the Chase teams circled in red on their calendars.
Of the 10 Chase tracks we go to, this is the one where you have the least control of your destiny.
Like we tell you all the time — you can be minding your own business, having a great run, and in a split-second you can get caught up in someone else's problems and your day is ruined.
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Seriously, at Talladega, you control 1/10th of a percent of your destiny.
Simply go back to the race there this past spring. Carl Edwards tried his best to stay out of harm's way all day. He ran in the back, about 30th position or worse for nearly 165 laps.
When it was time to go, he did, but he almost ended up in the grandstands coming to take the checkered flag.
I like to tell people that Talladega is one of those places where you can run, but you can't hide. You can't hang out at the back too much because you will either end up getting lapped or lose the draft.
So if Jimmie Johnson and the No. 48 boys can leave Talladega in one piece with a finish somewhere between eighth and 12th, well then it would look to be pretty smooth sailing from here on out with only three races to go.
However, if they get caught up in anyone's issues — then folks, we might have us a horse race. That would bring two or three players back into the picture with Texas, Phoenix and Homestead to go.