The wildcard round of the 2023 NASCAR playoffs is this weekend as the Cup Series heads to Talladega Alabama (Sunday 2pm EST). The next two races will shake up the standings with the unpredictable Charlotte Roval to follow this weekend's race. William Byron punched his ticket into the round of 8 after his win last week at Texas, bringing home his 6th win of the 2023 season.
Expect the unexpected per usual at Talladega. With pack restrictor plate racing, no driver is ever out of a top 10 finish, but every driver is inches away from distaster. It's no secret, surviving "The Big One" is the key to success. You will see a group of drivers that will try to lead and stay up front all day, while others will find themselves towards the back, hoping to avoid disaster. Going longer than the 188 lap distance and into overtime is certain to happen.
Bubba Wallace- Wallace is fresh off of a pole position and his best finish of 2023 last week, coming home with a disappointing 3rd place run. Wallace has only finished outside of the Top 20 once in his last 14 races and won this race back in 2021. Wallace has led 86 laps in his career at Talladega and has led in 8 of the last 9 races at Talladega. With a win, Wallace and the 23XI Toyota would punch their ticket to the round of 8 for the first time in his career. Wallace is 9th in points, 2 points back of the cut line.
Kyle Busch- Busch scored his second career Talladega win back in the spring race for Richard Childress Racing. It was his second win of the season for his new team, leading only 3 laps on the day. Busch sits 12th in the playoff standings with 2 races to go. He will more than likely need a win to advance to the next round.
Erik Jones- Jones has been as solid as it gets at Talladega and one of the most consistent drivers at the 2.66 mile track. Jones has racked up three consecutive 6 places finishes at Talladega and has 6 Top 10 finishes in his last 7 starts, including a runner up finish at Talladega in the fall of 2021. Give me Jones to secure another Top 10 finish in our contest this weekend.
Nascar continues to deliver with over 2 million tuning into last week's race in Texas. That fails to compare to what NFL is drawing, but if NASCAR was smart, they would invite Taylor Swift to the next race. Tempers and sheet metal will fly on Sunday!