Chase leaders hope to avoid Talladega carnage

TALLADEGA, Ala. (AP) — They plan and tinker, double-check this and triple-check that. Then, they cross their fingers, stick a rabbit’s foot in their race suits, and hope the luck goes their way. That is Talladega Superspeedway. By the end of the weekend, the Chase for the Sprint Cup championship could be a whole lot clearer — or just a big ol’ mess. Talladega is the biggest wild card among the five playoff races left on the schedule, meaning it’s still a little too early to declare points leader Matt Kenseth or the guy in his rearview mirror, Jimmie Johnson, as the only drivers with a legitimate chance to win the Cup. For those farther back, including Kevin Harvick and Jeff Gordon, this might be the best chance to make a big move.

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