The No.88 National Guard Chevrolet driver, Dale Earnhardt Jr., is no stranger to success at Talladega Superspeedway. With five wins at Talladega, nine top five finishes and thirteen top ten finishes, Earnhardt Jr. has the second-best driver rating at Talladega of 89.6. Despite his success at Talladega, Earnhardt Jr. has also experienced the chaos often associated with restrictor-plate races.
The common phrase used when describing NASCAR restrictor-plate races is “checkers or wreckers.” The driver and his race car either take the checkered flag and head to victory lane, or the race car ends up on a wrecker, having been collected in whatever late-race chaos that typically occurs at tracks like Talladega. Earnhardt Jr. became more familiar with the “wreckers” scenario during a final-lap crash in the October race at Talladega last season. The crash resulted in Earnhardt Jr. suffering a concussion, which was his second concussion during a six week time span. The concussions forced Earnhardt Jr. to miss two races, which ended his hopes for a Sprint Cup Series Championship.
Six months later Earnhardt seems to be healthy and hopeful for a good performance Sunday in the Aaron’s 499 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race at Talladega Superspeedway. When asked about his outlook for this weekend, Earnhardt Jr. said, “Really have had a lot of success here, a lot of great runs. Always feel confident when we come here that we are going to have a good car, going to know how to use it and I think we feel that way coming into this weekend. We had a great run at Daytona. Feel like as far as a company goes Hendrick Motorsports has done a great job with this car at these particular race tracks. Our confidence level is real good, real high. Just looking forward to getting a little practice in, make sure everything is working the way it is supposed to. Probably won’t run a whole lot, but the weather here is going to be odd all weekend. Hopefully, we get an opportunity to race on Sunday and go to Victory Lane. We really feel like we have a good shot at it and feel like it is about that time for us to win one here at Talladega.”