The Frontstretch: Matt McLaughlin's Talladega "1" Driver Handicaps by Matt McLaughlin -- Wednesday April 25, 2007

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Matt McLaughlin's Talladega "1" Driver Handicaps

Matt McLaughlin · Wednesday April 25, 2007


2007 Talladega “1” Driver Handicaps

Jeff Gordon: Gordon has won four Cup races at Talladega and has Top 10 finishes in half of his 28 Cup starts at this track. But since winning this race in 2005, Gordon has failed to finish two of the subsequent three Cup events here, all while managing just a fifteenth place finish in the race he did complete. Still, betting against any of the Hendrick drivers at a plate track is a risky gamble at best.

Jeff Burton: While Burton has been wildly erractic at Talladega as far as results, he does have Top 10 finishes in six of his last twelve Cup starts here, with just two DNFs during the same period.

Matt Kenseth: Kenseth has just six Top 10 finishes in fourteen career Talladega Cup starts. In better news, he has posted three of those Top 10 finishes the last three times out here, including a career best third-place finish at the track in the Fall of '05.

Jimmie Johnson: Johnson has been on a roll at the plate tracks as of late. He won this race last year and was in position to win here in the Fall when he and then-teammate Brian Vickers had their memorable little fracas. Prior to last season, Johnson had managed just two top 10 finishes in eight Talladega Cup races; his average finishing position here remains just 21st.

Denny Hamlin: Hamlin just doesn't have a handle on this plate track racing yet. His best finish in five plate races is seventeenth, and that was at Daytona, not here.

Kyle Busch: Busch finished eleventh here in the Fall race; prior to that, his best finish in three Talladega Cup starts was 32nd. He failed to finish the first two Cup races he started at this facility.

Tony Stewart: Stewart has become a continuous threat on the plate tracks; sometimes, he’s a threat to win, and at other times, he’s a threat to put somebody in the hospital. While he's never won here, Stewart has finished second six times, including three of the four last Cup races at Talladega. His normal strategy at these plate tracks is simple; latch onto the rear bumper of the No. 8 car, and head for the front.

Carl Edwards: Edwards has Top 10 finishes in the last three Talladega Cup races.

Kevin Harvick: Harvick won the only other plate race run this year, the Daytona 500. He has Top 10 finishes in six of the last eight Talladega Cup races, including a pair of second place finishes.

Jamie McMurray: McMurray has finished fifth in the last two Talladega Spring races. He has just one additional Top 10 finish in a total of nine Talladega Cup starts.

Kurt Busch: Don't look now, but Busch has Top 10 results in the last five Talladega Cup races.

Greg Biffle: Biffle's average finish in eight Cup starts at this track is a dismal 26th. In fact, he's finished worse than that in his last three races here.

Dale Earnhardt, Jr.: Junior has won at Talladega five times in the Cup series, with four of those wins scored consecutively. In fact, in one seven-race stretch Earnhardt won five races while finishing second in the other two. But Earnhardt has finished no better than 23rd in his last three Cup races at Talladega.

Juan Pablo Montoya: Montoya didn't fare too well in the Cup or Busch races at Daytona earlier this year, the only two plate events he has run.

Elliott Sadler: While Sadler is better recalled for rollover wrecks here, he did finish third at Talladega in 2003 to score one of his two Top 10 finishes in fifteen Cup starts at this track.

David Stremme: Talladega hasn't been kind to Stremme, who finished 33rd and 34th here last year.

Bobby Labonte: Labonte hasn't managed a Top 5 finish here since 2001. He did win a race at the track back in 1998, but his overall Talladega average is about 17th.

Martin Truex, Jr.: Truex finished fifth here last Fall; before that, he failed to finish his previous three Talladega Cup starts. Truex also won the Busch Series race here last year, though, so he knows how to get around this facility.

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04/27/2007 05:44 PM

The only smart driver this weekend is Mark Martin, who elected to skip this cluster%&*$ they call a race.