Strategy for a NASCAR Cup Series race at Talladega (Ala.) Superspeedway is like the game of musical chairs.
In the game you want to be in front of a chair when the music stops. At Talladega, you want to be in a safe area when the multicar accident strikes.
No. 99 Tootsie’s Chevrolet driver Daniel Suárez knows selecting the correct strategy on the 2.66-mile track is easier said than done.
In the April race last year, he was second on the white flag lap when a nudge from another car sent him off track and left him with a 23rd-place finish.
When the Cup Series returned to Talladega in October, the No. 99 team employed a cautious strategy racing in the back and avoiding the accidents that eliminated its competition.
That strategy looked good until a rain shower ended the race after 117 of a scheduled 188 laps and before Suárez had the chance to show his speed. It left him with another 23rd-place finish.
Given his performance at Talladega in April and his bid for victory on the final lap at Daytona (Fla.) International Speedway in September, Suárez should be one of the drivers to keep an eye on Sunday as he and Trackhouse Racing teammate Ross Chastain attempt to bring a second victory to Trackhouse in 2022.
Suárez arrives at Talladega with momentum after leading 64 laps before finishing 12th on the dirt at Bristol (Tenn.) Speedway on Sunday night.
The finish moved him to the edge of playoff contention should the season end now, but the season has 17 more races before the 16-driver playoff field is determined.
Which strategy will Suárez and his Trackhouse Racing team employ on Sunday? Will he immediately charge to the front or lay back avoiding danger and charge at the end?
Fans will have to tune in to Fox at 3 p.m. EDT to find out.
Are you ready for Talladega?
“I don’t know if you are really ever ready for Talladega, but I am looking forward to it. At the beginning of my career I wasn’t a big fan of the superspeedways but I have begun to enjoy them. We had chances to win at Talladega in April and last fall at Daytona so I am optimistic about our chances this weekend.”
Are you thinking about points and playoffs yet?
“Not right now. Right now, I’m focused on making our team the best it can be. What is the good of getting a playoff spot if you aren’t running good? If you get in the playoffs you want to win. I don’t think I will worry about points until five or six weeks before the playoffs. Right now we want to run as well as possible and the rest will take care of itself.”
Trackhouse Racing PR