Drivers differ on how to race at Talladega

Associated Press Published: October 3, 2012
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Johnson has yet to finish a plate race this season. The five-time champion was collected in an accident on the second lap of the Daytona 500, suffered an engine failure at Talladega in the spring and was in yet another accident at Daytona in July. So he hast no idea what's going to be the best strategy Sunday, or where he wants to be in the field for the bulk of the race.

"It definitely is the one track in the Chase I've kind of been a little concerned about," he said. "There are so many things that are out of your control. I think the odds are in our favor to be able to finish one of these restrictor-plate races this year. At least I hope so."

Johnson was only half-kidding when he said he wanted NASCAR to drop Talladega from the Chase, but Daytona 500 winner Matt Kenseth said he's looking forward to the race for the first time in his career.

Kenseth has been strong in plate races this year, won the 500 and had a shot at winning both Talladega in May and Daytona in July. He's looking for some redemption at Talladega, where he was the leader on the final restart.

But he got too far ahead of drafting partner Greg Biffle, and it allowed Keselowski and Busch to pass him as those two drivers battled for the win without Kenseth.

"I messed up and didn't do the right things," said Kenseth, who is trying to salvage his championship race after three disappointing races to open the Chase.

Kenseth thinks it can be a big day for Roush Fenway Racing, which is trying to make up ground in the Chase after a rough start for both Kenseth and Biffle. And Biffle is still trying to win a plate race this year — he's blamed driver error on costing him a chance to win the season-opening Daytona 500.

"The No. 16 (Biffle) and us have been really fast. We've been able to work together and stayed up front the whole time," Kenseth said. "Hopefully we can do that again and, if there is some trouble, take advantage of that for Greg and I to gain some points."

Keselowski cautioned against putting too much planning into strategy for Sunday.

"I'm trying really hard not to overthink it, the thing is we just have to go out and do it," he said.