The stage has been set.
An unexpected – and somewhat unlikely – collection of circumstances has coalesced around Sunday's Aaron's 499 at Talladega Superspeedway, a race which now has the potential to provide a significant spark to the 2012 NASCAR season.
Dale Earnhardt Jr., NASCAR's most popular driver, will try to end his 138-race winless streak at the track where he’s been the most successful. Earnhardt has more wins at Talladega (five) than any other track.
An Earnhardt victory would mark two additional milestones.
Earnhardt is second in the series standings – five points behind leader Greg Biffle – and a win would also more than likely make him the Cup series points leader. He’s not been in that a position for nearly eight years (September 2004).