Carl Edwards – who has won the last two NASCAR Sprint Cup Series races – is now targeting a third win on Sunday’s GEICO 500 at Talladega Superspeedway. Edwards has led the most laps in the past three contests. Now all shall see if he will take a checkered flag from Talladega, a track where he has not triumphed before.
This year, NASCAR granted the implementation of a lower downforce package for race cars. Edwards has long advocated that NASCAR implement a lower downforce, because lowering the downforce on a race car makes it more difficult to control, thus, emphasizing driver skill over car engineering expertise.
As expected, sports betting articles have reflected that Edwards’ performance has excelled under NASCAR’s new lower down-force aerodynamics package. Edwards tops the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series standings with two wins under his belt, as well as five top-five and eight top-ten finishes. The No. 19 Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota driver set records for green flag passes for the lead three times in the first nine races, and has only finished lower than seventh once.
The Talladega Superspeedway
Edwards is currently on top of his game. He has yet to face his greatest challenge – the 2.66 mile Tri-Oval of Talladega.
“Headed to Talladega to try to better our average finish there,” Edwards said. “We don’t have a win there, but the way our team has been running, I feel like I am on one of the best runs of my career. I’m having a real great time with my crew and these Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota’s are fast.”
The 36-year-old NASCAR driver struggled at Talladega throughout his career. In 23 starts at the oval, he has made three top-five and six top-ten finishes. His best performance on the track was finishing in third place in spring of 2013.
Talladega Superspeedway was built in 1969 and has 33 degrees of banking in the turns, and 18 degrees on the Tri-Oval. Talladega is a track that forces teams the installation of restrictor plates. These plates are devices that restrict the amount of air and fuel entering an engine’s combustion chamber, therefore limiting horsepower. Simply put, the plates limit the top speed of the race cars. The restrictor plates also increase aerodynamics in such a way that two race cars running together become much faster than one race car on its own. As a result, race cars on the Talladega track tend to run together in a large pack, only a few inches apart.
In spite of Edwards’ track record on Talladega, he says that he can draw his experience from the previous Daytona 500, the biggest Sprint Cup race of the year. This year’s restrictor plate race on the Daytona International Speedway saw Edwards rallying to finish in sixth place after sustaining heavy damage to his car. He said, “We ran well as a group in Daytona and we really worked great as a team together. Hopefully we can do that again and have similar results.”
All of the GEICO 500 action will go down on April 29 – May 1, 2016. If you want to get into the excitement of the race, check out hityah.com for the latest sports betting offers.