The Cursed Claw of Talladega

05/13/2021, Author: William Calhoun

Chris Evans crosses ahead of Dane Kruse to become the first 2x SS Winner

Talladega, the wild wild west of NASCAR tracks, is the longest and fastest oval that NASCAR currently goes to. Whether you stick to Bill Elliot running the fastest recorded lap at 212.809 mph or give it to Rusty Wallace who ran a 216.309 during an unsanctioned event, there is no denying that racers are flying at this track. Now imagine how these high speeds work with 40 drivers racing within inches of each other. You guessed it, the big one. Many times, fans get multiple. If you think Talladega is haunted or cursed, you may be right, but there’s no doubt that it is one dangerous track.

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Great Lakes Sim Racing debuted season four at Talladega and it did not disappoint. The racing was fast and the wrecks were massive. To top it all off, Chris Evans and Dane Kruse gave fans a finish that would rival that of Kevin Harvick and Jaimie McMurray in the Talladega finish of 2010. It was that close.


It takes a lot of luck to make it to the end of a Superspeedway race. Yes, even a virtual one. Being that GLSR does not allow fast repairs, drivers have to be exceedingly cautious to maintain a fast truck for the closing laps. Every driver approaches a Superspeedway differently but is there a best way, or is it purely luck that gets you a win? Chris Evans, the only driver to have multiple Superspeedway wins in GLSR may have the insight you’re looking for.

Evans advises, “...with talladega you want to sit back and watch everyone wreck pretty much and with around 25 or 20 to go just work your way up front and keeping it clean is the best way to win.”

Whether it was Evans getting the win or his teammate crossing ahead of him, he expressed happiness with either result. Evans added, “2 wins at a superspeedway is pretty rad. Myself I know I'm really good at pushing and as you seen last night with 20 to go the 4 aced racing trucks got together and I had no intention to win as long I was pushing an aced truck to the win. Just superspeedways are most luck just take runs as you need.


Drivers take many different approaches to Superspeedway racing. There are more than a few ways to tackle these types of tracks. While that may be the case, a resounding response is that there is certainly a good bit of luck that needs to go one's way for a racer to make it out up front at the checkered flag.

Shaun Pechin, driver of the #21 for ACED Racing, said , “I think there is a certain degree of luck, absolutely!... My approach to super speedway racing is more than most tracks. I focus first on making sure I get a feel for the draft and then I look at ways to take away the variables and limit that luck factor as much as I can.” avatar

Robert Johnson, #20 Brewer Motorsports, gave his strategy, “Often my approach to SS is to lay back and observe drivers to understand where the trouble will be later in the race before making any moves to gain positions. My advice for anyone looking to win at SS is to make friends and practice pushing.”


Sam Barnes, #22 Down Under Racing, offered his advice, “You gotta work as a team with the people around you, and that's a skill that lots of guys don't have… Be smart, be patient, find friends on track and work together. But when it comes to the last lap, it's luck, a lead foot, and big balls to win.”


For other drivers who do everything right and put themselves in a position to win, it doesn’t always work out. Talladega still shatters their hopes as her cursed claw breaches the track and sucks them down under. In Caden Atkings case, she spit him up back into the rest of the field, adding more trucks to her haunted graveyard.

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Caden Atkings, driver of the #2 for Peak Performance Motorsports, has been released from the care center and had this to say to his fans, “Definitely put myself in the best position I could there with a teammate pushing me at the end. I guess the guy got pushed badly by his teammate and came down into me… But no hard feelings, it was just frustrating but there's still the rest of the season to get wins and good finishes!”

Dane Kruse, driver of the #46 for Peak Performance Motorsports, and the runner-up added, “I do wish that the entire final lap played out cleanly, I would have 100% pushed my teammate Caden Atkings to the win if I needed to… I really just listened and trusted my teammates all night, fortunately everything worked out really well on green-flag pit stops to get us up towards the Top 5 with a few laps left.”

You be the judge. Did Chris Evans and Dane Kruse get lucky and avoid the cursed claw of Talladega, or did their skills as racers pilot them to the checkered within a mere hundredth of a second gap? Chris Evans, the first repeat Superspeedway winner in GLSR may have figured something out.


Tune in next week, Wednesday, May 19th at 9pm est at CaptainTV iRacing on YouTube. The Great Lakes Sim Racing Black Horizon Brewing Company Truck Series will test the racers skill and tire conservation at Hotlanta as they race around one of the few intermediate tracks in the 14 race schedule.

I will leave you with a haiku:
Chris Dean drank a lot
What the hell can’t hold a line
Ten to one real dumb

“But when it comes to the last lap, it's luck, a lead foot, and big balls to win.”

-Sam Barnes

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