Drafting at 200 mph is insane. Doing it for 312 miles while leaning on someone’s bumper directly in front of you? Yeah, it’s pretty wild in and of itself. That’s what 40 of NASCAR’s top drivers will be doing on Saturday afternoon.
The Aaron’s 312 is a race anticipated by NASCAR fans, drivers and teams each year. Held at the legendary Talladega Superspeedway, the Aaron’s 312 is one of the wildest events that NASCAR has to offer. The NASCAR Nationwide Series will be roaring around Talladega at speeds averaging nearly 190-195 mph, or even faster than that.
After the two practices which were held at the speedway on Thursday, most of the teams are now prepared for what they hope will be a successful day. Some drivers practiced in the tandem draft while others did simple qualifying runs. The ones that did qualifying runs are mainly ones that are in danger of not qualifying for the race. It’s a big race to make and for those who miss it, they can miss out dearly on potential television time which can help attract sponsors, helping their budgets increase substantially.
The sport is hoping for a safer outcome this time around. As the NASCAR Nationwide Series returns to Talladega, this is the first time they’re at a superspeedway track since the horrific finish at Daytona in February. Evening out the competition is a key at Talladega, but drivers have to stay out of trouble especially while dealing with the tandem draft.
Expect the victor to come from an experienced driver. It could be a NASCAR Sprint Cup Series regular such as Joey Logano or Kurt Busch, a guy trying to earn a few extra bucks like Joe Nemechek, a rookie like Alex Bowman or Kyle Larson, or it could also be a NASCAR Nationwide Series regular which would be a first since 2005. It should be interesting to see how the race turns out, but it definitely won’t disappoint race fans.
Joseph Wolkin can be followed on Twitter at @JosephNASCAR.