Matt Kenseth took his restrictor-plate talents to Joe Gibbs Racing, leaving Roush Fenway Racing hoping its remaining drivers picked up a thing or two from their departed teammate.
It’ll be a tough act to follow, to say the least. Last season, Kenseth racked up a stunning average finish of 2.0 and a Driver Rating of 121.1 in the four restrictor plate races (two each at Daytona and Talladega). He won twice, the Daytona 500 and the fall Talladega event, and finished third in the other two.
Now what? It’s not all bad news. Though overshadowed by his winning teammate, Greg Biffle turned in a likewise outstanding restrictor plate performance last season, with two top fives and three top 10s. He also finished sixth in this year’s Daytona 500.
Carl Edwards’ relationship with Talladega has been a rocky one. At Daytona, he’s strong – he has two runner-up finishes to his credit. At Talladega, a sixth-place finish in 2011 is sandwiched between a number of runs outside the top 20. In all, Edwards has four top-10 finishes … and six outside the top 30.
Sunday will mark Ricky Stenhouse Jr.’s first Sprint Cup race at Talladega, following three NNS starts. His best finish came last year, a third in May.