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May 5, 2012

IN THE FAST LANE: Derby, Oaks not the only big races this weekend

> SOUTHERN INDIANA — The Kentucky Derby and Kentucky Oaks are not the only races people should be excited about this weekend.

On Sunday, the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series will be making its first of two trips to Talladega Superspeedway, which has had a history of producing some thrilling races.

So if you are experiencing your annual Oaks-Derby hangover on Sunday, you might want to tune into the latest edition of Talladega chaos, while you recuperate.

Here are some ‘Dega picks:

SUNDAY’S AARON’S 499

At Talladega (Ala.) Superspeedway

TOP-FIVE CONTENDERS


1. DALE EARNHARDT JR.: From time to time during Junior’s long winless streak, several NASCAR prognosticators have went out on a limb and said this is the week that Junior will finally get into Victory Lane. Well, it is my turn to make this bold prediction. I think Junior is going to win for two reasons. One, Earnhardt has been running well all year. If you want proof, just look at his name that is listed second in the Sprint Cup standings.

2. MATT KENSETH: Led by Kenseth, Roush Fenway Racing definitely had the most horsepower and the fastest cars in the Daytona 500. Expect Kenseth to lead the Roush charges at Talladega.

3. GREG BIFFLE: Like at Daytona, Biffle should hook up with Kenseth, his teammate, and be a key factor on Sunday. Plus despite his 18th-place finish at Richmond last weekend, Biffle has not cooled off from his hot start to the season.

4. KEVIN HARVICK: Despite placing 32nd in the Talladega fall race last year, Richard Childress Racing’s No. 1 driver finished fifth in this race a year ago and placed first and second in both 2010 races. RCR has always been strong at Talladega, and Harvick has a good chance of continuing that prowess this weekend.

5. CLINT BOWYER: In the last four Talladega races, Bowyer has finished in the top 10 in each one. That includes two victories and a second-place finish, which happened in last year’s spring race. Even though Bowyer was steering RCR cars in those four races, I still expect him to be tough to beat on Sunday.

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