On Sunday, the NASCAR Cup Series will race at the Talladega Superspeedway. In the buildup to the race, former driver, Dale Earnhardt Jr spoke about who he backed to perform well at the iconic track. He believes that the Penske drivers will be quite quick.
In other words, the likes of Brad Keselowski, Ryan Blaney, and Joey Logano have a leg up in the competition. Earnhardt Jr also admitted that Denny Hamlin is a great ‘plate racer’, though he does not know how he will tackle the race. However, the former #88 driver believes that Hamlin could be a potential winner.
He continued, “It was frustrating to see what happened to Austin [Dillon] in Vegas. He’s gonna be an underdog hero story. He was continuing to write that story, was gonna get a top 10 finish. Now, he’s pretty much in a must-win situation, I would assume they would look at the numbers and go ‘We’re not out of it’.”
What else did Dale Earnhardt Jr say ahead of the NASCAR Cup Series race?
The NASCAR Hall of Famer suspected that the team would probably adopt the must-win attitude. So he cautioned against it because Talladega is not the place to try such a stunt. Dale Earnhardt Jr insisted that this race is absolutely critical for Austin Dillon. He knows that Dillon is perfectly capable of winning races, as he has proven at Daytona.
Moving on to the rest of the pack, Earnhardt believes that the drivers will try and avoid trouble as much as possible. However, he insisted that that will not be enough for them. Instead, they have to focus on performing well in the stages and getting points for each stage.
On one hand, racing hard will ensure that they get enough stage points to stay alive in the playoffs. The other end of the scale suggests that it increases the risk of crashing and not getting stage points at all. All in all, it is a double-edged sword, so the drivers are damned if they do and damned if they don’t. So this is an extremely tough call for the drivers who are lingering around the cut line.