CONCORD, N.C. – The Oct. 15 Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series race at Talladega Superspeedway is all but certain to have a profound effect on the Playoffs.
Though Talladega isn’t an elimination race per se, the random nature of events at a restrictor-plate track can elevate the championship prospects of drivers who avoid the inevitable “big one” and dash the hopes of those who don’t.
But there’s a strategy that can make the outcome at Talladega moot. Just win Sunday’s Bank of America 500 at Charlotte Motor Speedway and lock up a spot in the next round before heading to the heart of Alabama. That, says playoff driver Ryan Blaney, is the only way to approach Talladega with any sense of comfort.
“If we’re in Victory Lane (at Charlotte), to be honest with you, I feel that’s the only way that you can really feel good about heading into a speedway like (Talladega),” Blaney said. “Even if you win a couple stages, yeah, that’s great and you have a bunch of gap.
“But you can go out and get caught in one before the first stage and lose a bunch. I don’t think you can ever feel comfortable going into a speedway race unless you’re locked in. Hopefully we can win the race. That’s our main goal. Maybe a solid day helps out. I don’t think you really be comfortable unless you win the race going into next week.”