In a move that surprised no one, considering the weather, NASCAR chose to cancel Saturday qualifying for Sunday’s Aaron’s 499 Sprint Cup race at Talladega Superspeedway.
It has rained here continuously since early evening Friday, and drivers were well aware of the bad weather on the way. NASCAR set the field based on times in Friday’s first practice session. That set the top three as Carl Edwards, Martin Truex Jr. and Marcos Ambrose.
While starting up-front can only help at a track known for multi-car wrecks, restrictor-plate racing minimizes the advantage of track position.
"Where you start doesn’t really matter. You can start second and be 27th at the end of the first lap,’’ Truex said. "Plate racing is a big, revolving door.’’
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It was clear Saturday that the major wrecks that dotted the last restrictor-plate race at Daytona are still fresh in drivers’ minds.
"Based on Daytona, you just hope you can stay out in front of the run,’’ Truex said. "The chances here of getting into a wreck are great, so why not race and have some fun?’’
In that regard, Edwards said he’s glad his car was fast in practice, but that won’t count for much in a race where you’re trying as much to stay out of trouble as push the limits of the machinery.
"It’s so chaotic, so unpredictable, you can throw all the stats out,’’ said Edwards, who ran a top lap speed of 199.675 mph Friday. "I’m happy we have a fast car, but the last lap of this race could turn the field inside-out.
"It looks like it’s going to be a crazy race. I guarantee the last couple of laps will be insane.’’
NASCAR still hoped to run the Nationwide event here, but Saturday’s forecast called for off-and-on rain throughout the afternoon and most of the evening.