Respect vs. fear...being in control, or let someone else control you. Rely on others to get where you want to be, or take reins yourself to get the best chance at victory?
Restrictor plate racing is a very tough dance because so many elements are out of the hands of the driver. Utilizing the draft means a driver needs to understand physics, aerodynamics, and where to put the car at the right time. The driver may be in control of their own car, but it's a tough task when so many elements that are needed to win are not in their control.
Add in the fact that Chase implications could be extremely large, and you have a volcano of emotion that could blow at any moment.
Three words can describe what this race will be...THIS IS TALLADEGA.
The biggest track on the circuit, combined with the most unpredictable race in the Chase, means that Sunday afternoon has a lot of uncertainty. But there is going to be a winner in the end, someway and somehow.
Each writer knows the risks, but are ready to take a gamble. Here's their picks for the Camping World RV Sales 500:
Misan Akuya: Jamie McMurray
Talladega, pick a driver, any driver and there is a chance you may be right. So I will pick McMurray, who not only is having a decent comeback season, but has won at Talladega.
Rob Blount: Clint Bowyer
James Broomhead: Kurt Busch
Kelly Crandall: Kurt Busch
Go get 'em Ricky Bobby.
Billy Fellin: Dale Earnhardt Jr.
He's gotta win eventually, right? The 88 has been running well as of late and I feel like his best track will be the place where he gets back to victory lane. Of course, it's Talladega, so anything can happen.
Michael Hirshbein: Carl Edwards
Kara Martin: Dale Earnhardt Jr.
Ryan O'Hara: David Ragan
Cars will crash and maybe just maybe he will make it through.
Dustin Parks: Dale Earnhardt Jr.
Is there really anyone with a track record like Junior at this place (well minus Gordon, but I'm saving him for later)? This is his best chance at victory in the Chase, and with these new cars it's more of his style of drafting, the pack vs. the tandem. It is time for the No. 88 to get it's first victory in "Earnhardt Country" and win one for himself, and the fans.
Patti Rodisch: Kurt Busch
Sal Sigala Jr: Dale Earnhardt Jr.
Every year I pick him for this race and he jacks me. He is as good a pick as any, and maybe this year he will surprise me.
Rob Tiongson: Dale Earnhardt Jr.
Best shot for the driver of that No. 88 Mtn. Dew Chevy SS to get 'er done, Talladega style. It was either him or Danica Patrick, but I like the Kannapolis, NC's native to win his first Dega race in 9 years.
Standings following Charlotte:
Rob Tiongson (2197) Matt Kenseth finished 3rd (3)
Sal Sigala Jr. (2194) Jimmie Johnson finished 4th (1)
Rob Blount (2185) Kevin Harvick finished 6th (2)
Kelly Crandall (2185) Jeff Gordon finished 7th (1)
Patti Rodisch (2183) Kyle Busch finished 5th (0)
Misan Akuya (2183) Kurt Busch finished 14th (2)
Ryan O'Hara (2179) Carl Edwards finished 10th (1)
Dustin Parks (2177) Kevin Harvick finished 6th (0)
Billy Fellin (2168) Joey Logano finished 18th (2)
Kara Martin (2165) Jeff Gordon finished 7th (1)
James Broomhead (2147) Jeff Gordon finished 7th (2)
Michael Hirshbein (2133) Kurt Busch finished 14th (3)
Final Thoughts: It's been well known that the way these plate races work is that teams will ride around for a majority of the race, then when it gets to about 50 laps to go the strategies get put into play. With 20 laps to go, it's getting into position, and with 10 to go...its "Go Time."
This will lead to pandemonium, wrecks, and probably a few upset drivers in the end, as is typical with this race.
Who will win, or better yet who will survive? ESPN has the coverage beginning at 1 p.m. ET.
Summary of Picks:
Dale Earnhardt Jr-5