Aric Almirola

Another Talladega surprise in store this weekend?


Anything can happen at Talladega Superspeedway, where last year’s Sprint Cup races brought about two surprise winners.

And with this year’s overhaul of the Chase for the Sprint Cup, a dark horse springing an upset doesn’t just mean pulling one over on the big boys.

It could very well mean being able to fight for a championship.

Last spring at ‘Dega, David Ragan and David Gilliland pulled off a 1-2 finish for the small Front Row Motorsports team, while Jamie McMurray earned his first Sprint Cup win in three years when he took the checkers there last fall.

But that’s not the only time Talladega’s free-for-all nature has yielded a shock result.

Take the 2009 spring race, where a young Brad Keselowski led only one lap – the final lap – in earning his inaugural Cup win for the Phoenix Racing team.

Keselowski was a ways off from the leaders before he hooked up with Carl Edwards in the draft. At the white flag, the two had taken the lead but as they headed for the checkered flag in the tri-oval, Keselowski went inside and turned Edwards, who was hit by another competitor and sent skyward into the catch fence.

An equally memorable ‘Dega finish came in the fall of 2006 as Brian Vickers was chasing then-Hendrick Motorsports teammate Jimmie Johnson and Dale Earnhardt Jr. on the final lap.

But down the backstretch, Vickers moved with Johnson to the inside and tapped him, which sent Johnson spinning into Earnhardt.

When the ensuing caution froze the field, Vickers was found to be leading the way and was awarded his own first win in the Cup Series – much to the annoyance of the heavy Earnhardt fan base in the grandstands.

Will we see another unexpected result this weekend? It’d only be fitting at Talladega, which has taught us time and again to expect the unexpected.

IndyCar 2015 Driver Review: Ryan Briscoe

Ryan Briscoe
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MotorSportsTalk continues its review of the Verizon IndyCar Series field, driver-by-driver, with a look at Ryan Briscoe. Despite not having a ride to start the year, Briscoe ended strongly courtesy of a series of strong runs at Schmidt Peterson Motorsports.

Ryan Briscoe, No. 5 Schmidt Peterson Motorsports Honda

  • 2014: 11th Place, Best Finish 4th, Best Start 4th, 1 Top-5, 11 Top-10, 5 Laps Led, 12.8 Avg. Start, 10.6 Avg. Finish
  • 2015: 18th Place (8 starts), Best Finish 5th, Best Start 2nd, 1 Top-5, 4 Top-10, 10 Laps Led, 17.8 Avg. Start, 12.0 Avg. Finish

For those who slag on Briscoe as being undeserving of top level equipment, his 2015 second half provided a friendly reminder of his overall ability level in what might be less than the best machinery.

Briscoe was thrust into the No. 5 car under trying circumstances to begin with, getting all of an hour’s worth practice replacing the injured James Hinchcliffe ahead of the Indianapolis 500. But subsequent drives on the ovals there, Texas, Fontana, Milwaukee and Iowa – even if the results were less than ideal – showcased a driver determined to show to the paddock he still had it, and then some. His defense against Juan Pablo Montoya in Sonoma was nothing short of brilliant, and courtesy of double points he actually finished ahead of full-season driver Stefano Coletti.

The Australian immediately gelled with the SPM team, engineer Allen McDonald and race strategist Robert Gue. He continues to prove he’s an asset, as he has enjoyed multiple opportunities to extend his career in various arenas of motorsport in both open-wheel and sports cars, the latter of which he won at both the Rolex 24 at Daytona and the Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring with Corvette Racing this year.

Race Recap: Hamilton closes on third title at Russia (VIDEO)

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Following an early retirement for Mercedes AMG Petronas teammate Nico Rosberg, Lewis Hamilton has closed even more on his third Formula 1 World Championship.

View it above in the race recap from the 2015 Russian Grand Prix.