Chris Graythen/Getty Images(TALLADEGA, Ala.) — The Chase field will be cut from 12 to eight on Sunday at Talladega Superspeedway.
The final stage of the contender round will take place in the Geico 500 and Denny Hamlin is looking forward to another shot after winning at the track in May.
“My guess is that [Brad Keselowski] will probably try to wreck everyone — that’s his only shot,” Hamlin said this week. “He’ll just be out of control like normal. We’ll do what we have to do to get in and that’s the big picture.”
Keselowski was fined $50,000 on Tuesday for a post-race altercation with Tony Stewart at Charlotte.
Jeff Gordon leads active drivers with six Talladega victories, but still isn’t looking forward to the race.
“Nobody wants to deal with Talladega,” Gordon said this week. “Everybody would like to take the weekend off there if they could. Two guys [Contender Round winners Kevin Harvick and Joey Logano] in some ways get to, and the rest of us are going to have to go race there. We’ve got a little bit of a cushion but not near enough to be comfortable by any means.”
“We’ll go and race the way we normally do there, which is just try to be smart, try to stay out of the mess and then put ourselves in a good position to get a good finish [and] hope it works out,” he continued.
Dale Earnhardt Jr. has five victories at Talladega and won a record four straight from 2001-2003. Unlike Gordon, he’s looking forward to the track.
“[We just have to] go out there and win it. We can do it. We have won there a lot of times,” Earnhardt Jr. said. “I know what we need to do. We will just have to build a fast car and hope that we don’t have any gremlins and try to go out there and win it.”
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