Fuel & Tires: NASCAR Talladega weekend; F1 touches down in America


Eric Gay

NASCAR’s Sprint Cup and Camping World Truck Series hit Talladega this weekend while Formula One visits Texas for its only U.S. race of the year.


Following the NASCAR Sprint Cup race Sunday at the 2½-mile Talladega Superspeedway, the field of participants in this season’s Chase for the Sprint Cup will be narrowed to eight. This will likely make the race even more exciting than usual.

The only drivers locked into the next Chase round are Jimmie Johnson and Kevin Harvick, who won the last two races held at Charlotte and Kansas, respectively. That means the ten other Chase drivers will be looking to make sure they don’t end up flipping down the backstretch and out of contention.

Because of the added pressure for these drivers to advance, I predict there is going to be more than one “big one” that will take out multiple cars. Not that it’s much of a stretch to predict such a thing, but sometimes these restrictor plate races are quite clean, though I don’t think we’ll see that Sunday.

Brad Keselowski won the spring race at Talladega while his teammate Joey Logano is the defending race winner. Keselowski leads active drivers (not counting Dale Earnhardt Jr., who won’t return to the cockpit until next season) with four wins at the track.

Chase drivers who are winless at Talladega include Carl Edwards, Kurt Busch and Martin Truex Jr. Austin Dillon and Chase Elliott have also never won at the track and are the only Chase drivers who are winless yet this season.

Because Talladega is such a wild-card track, many drivers would prefer it to not be a Chase round cut-off race. But NASCAR wants excitement, which they will surely get Sunday. I’m going with Keselowski for the win because he obviously knows how to win there and his Penske team can never be counted out. It’s anybody’s guess as to who won’t make the Chase cut, but I think title chances for Dillon, Elliott, Logano and Denny Hamlin will end this weekend.

Coverage of the Hellmann’s 500 starts at 1 p.m. Sunday on NBC Sports Network.

Coverage of the Camping World Truck Series in the Fred’s 250 starts at noon Saturday on FOX.


The Formula One spaceship lands in Austin, Texas this weekend for the United States Grand Prix at the Circuit of Americas. The 3.4-mile track has hosted F1 since 2012 and luckily, the weather forecast in Austin this weekend looks much better than last year's waterlogged affair.

Nico Rosberg won two weeks ago in Japan to extend his points lead over his Mercedes teammate Lewis Hamilton to 33 points. Hamilton, the defending race winner, has won in the U.S. four times, including a win in his rookie year of 2007 when the race was held at Indianapolis Motor Speedway’s road course. Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel is the only other active driver to have won in America.

Hamilton needs to extinguish the fire that is currently threatening to end his chances for a fourth F1 championship, but it’s obvious that Rosberg has the upper hand. Rosberg is looking for his tenth win of the season and second in North America before the series heads into the final three races.

I guarantee that Hamilton will come out swinging, and Rosberg by no means has an insurmountable lead, but what Rosberg does have is momentum. I think Rosberg will win Sunday en route to his first F1 championship, a title his father Keke won in 1982.

Coverage of the United States Grand Prix starts at 2 p.m. Sunday on FOX.

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