The Sprint Cup Series heads to Talladega, Alabama and Talladega Superspeedway this Sunday, May 6, for the Aaron's 499. Two drivers looking for wins yet this season are among the hottest drivers at the 2.5-mile speedway - will this be the weekend they break through to victory lane?
Jeff Gordon - Gordon, winless this season and stuck in 17th in points, may need a win to break into the Chase at this rate, and Talladega is the perfect place to get it: he already has six wins, 12 additional top 10s and two poles in 38 races at the track. With Gordon, however, he either does really well at the track, or really bad: he also had 12 finishes of 25th or lower.
Dale Earnhardt Jr. - talk about a driver needing a win: "Junior" hasn't won in 138 races, his last win coming at Michigan in June 2008. Earnhardt Jr. has five wins and seven more top 10 finishes at 'Dega, including a fourth in last year's event and a second-place finish in 2009. He won at the track four straight times from the fall of 2001 to the spring of 2003, and it is his best track in terms of winning.
Jimmie Johnson - Johnson has two wins in 20 races at Talladega, along with seven additional top 10 finishes and a pole. Also winless this year, Johnson sits sixth in points with seven top 10 finishes in nine races to date.
Clint Bowyer - Bowyer has two wins and a second-place finish in the last three races at Talladega, but those all came with Richard Childress Racing; he has four additional top 10 finishes at the track in 12 total starts. This year, Bowyer is racing for Michael Waltrip Racing, sitting 12th in points with four top 10s in nine races.
Kyle Busch - Busch, who won last weekend at Richmond, has just one Cup Series win at Talladega (2008) and one other top 10 finish, but has won each of the last four years there, adding wins in the Camping World Truck Series (2009 and 2010) and the Nationwide Series (2011). Now that he's out of his funk, watch out for "Rowdy" on a weekly basis.
Source: "Statistical Advance: Analyzing the Aaron's 499," NASCAR Media, April 30, 2012
Paula is a long-time NASCAR fan who also covers the sport at Examiner.com and Skirts & Scuffs.