Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series Talladega Headlines
Talladega TV Schedule 2017
Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series
Next Race: GEICO 500
The Place: Talladega Superspeedway
The Date: Sunday, May 7
The Time: 2 p.m. ET
TV: FOX, 1:30 p.m. ET
Radio: MRN, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio
Distance: 500.8 miles (188 laps); Stage 1 (Ends on lap 55),
Stage 2 (Ends on lap 110), Final Stage (Ends on lap 188)
NASCAR XFINITY Series
Next Race: Sparks Energy 300
The Place: Talladega Superspeedway
The Date: Saturday, May 6
The Time: 1 p.m. ET
TV: FOX, 12:30 p.m. ET
Radio: MRN, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio
Distance: 300.58 miles (113 laps); Stage 1 (Ends on lap 25),
Stage 2 (Ends on lap 50), Final Stage (Ends on lap 113)
Talladega Tornado: Dale Jr. Readies To Make Final Mark At Top Track
Sunday’s GEICO 500 marks Dale Earnhardt Jr.’s final spring race at the Talladega Superspeedway – his top track.
Earnhardt’s six wins at Talladega rank tied with Jeff Gordon’s total for second all-time. His father, Dale Earnhardt, holds the track record with 10 victories.
In addition to his triumphs, Earnhardt has 12 top fives, 16 top 10s and a 15.4 average finish at the 2.66-mile behemoth. Among active drivers, he claims the second-best driver rating (92.0) and third-best average running position (14.4).
Earnhardt, who announced he will retire after this season, has struggled so far in his final campaign. He has one top-10 showing, a finish of fifth at Texas. He’s currently 24th in the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series standings.
Young Guns At ‘Dega
Many of the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series “Young Guns” performed well at Talladega last season and are poised to finish up front again in Sunday’s race. Last spring, four drivers currently 27 or younger finished in the top 10: Austin Dillon (third), Chase Elliott (fifth), Ryan Blaney (ninth) and Trevor Bayne (10th).
In last season’s fall Talladega race, five drivers currently 27 or younger finished in the top 12: Joey Logano (first), Kyle Larson (sixth), Dillon (ninth), Blaney (11th) and Elliott (12th).
Standings Shakeup: Larson Increases Lead, Truex Moves Into Second
There was some movement at the top of the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series standings following Sunday’s Toyota Owners 400 at Richmond – a race that set the spring track record for most green flag passes (2,495). Martin Truex Jr. jumped from third to second following his 10th-place showing. Chase Elliott dropped one spot to third after finishing 24th. The current top five features drivers from all three manufacturers: 1. Kyle Larson (Chevrolet), 2. Truex (Toyota, 40 points behind Larson) 3. Elliott (Chevrolet, -52) 4. Joey Logano (Ford, -65) 5. Brad Keselowski (Ford, -71).
Keselowski leads the series with 11 playoff points. Truex ranks tied with Jimmie Johnson for second with 10. They are followed by Larson with seven and Logano with six.
GEICO 500 Had Most Passes For The Lead: Don’t be surprised to see a ton of passes for the lead at Talladega this weekend. A year ago in the GEICO 500, there were 213 passes for the lead throughout the race (not just counting lead changes at the Start/Finish line) – tops among all 2016 races.
30th Anniversary Of Bill Elliott’s Qualifying Record: Thirty years ago, NASCAR Hall of Famer, Bill Elliott set the NASCAR qualifying record with a 212.809 mph lap at Talladega Superspeedway. His son, Chase Elliott, will take the track in Sunday’s GEICO 500. In his first two career starts at Talladega last season, Chase finished fifth and 12th, respectively, and led a total of 36 laps. He won the Coors Light Pole Award in the 2016 spring race.
NASCAR XFINITY Series
Points Leader Elliott Sadler Returns To Talladega With Lots To Accomplish And Little To Worry About
With a little more than a race win’s worth of points (41) between himself and second-place Justin Allgaier in the NASCAR XFINITY Series standings following Richmond, Elliott Sadler can go all out in defending his 2016 win at Talladega Superspeedway in the Sparks Energy 300 this Saturday, May 6 (1 p.m. ET on FOX, MRN and SiriusXM NASCAR Radio).
If Sadler can successfully defend his win this weekend, he will tie Martin Truex Jr. for the series-most wins at Talladega with three each. Sadler’s two Talladega wins have him tied with Joe Nemechek and Joey Logano for the second-most NXS Talladega wins all-time. He will also become just the second driver in series history to win consecutive races at Talladega, joining Martin Truex Jr. who won three straight (2004-2006).
Sadler has been one of the best at restrictor-plate tracks (Daytona and Talladega) over the last three seasons. During that time, the NASCAR XFINITY Series has run 10 restrictor plate races and Elliott Sadler (two) and Ryan Reed (two) are the only two drivers with multiple wins. Plus, earlier this season Sadler dominated the Daytona season-opener, winning the first two stages and leading a race-high 40 laps before being caught in a multi-car incident late in the race.
Sadler has made eight series starts at Talladega, posting two poles, two wins (spring of 2014 and 2016), three top fives and five top 10s. His average finish on the famed 2.66-mile track is an 11.5.
Justin Allgaier Moves To Second In Points, Takes Dash 4 Cash After Strong Performance At Richmond
Well one thing is for sure, Justin Allgaier’s pockets are lined with cash, Dash 4 Cash that is, as the JR Motorsports driver took home his second $100,000 dollar check of the season this past weekend at Richmond International Raceway, following a dominating performance in which he led 157 laps and finished second.
As a result of the stellar performance, Allgaier jumps to second in the series standings, 41 markers back from his JR Motorsports teammate and standings leader Elliott Sadler.
Allgaier will look to close the points gap between himself and the standings lead this weekend at Talladega. Allgaier has made six starts on the 2.66-mile track, posting two top fives and four top 10s. He also has the third-best average finish among championship contenders on restrictor-plate tracks over the last three seasons.
Daniel Hemric Continues To Climb The Standings; Now Up To Fourth And Looking For More At ‘Dega
Richard Childress Racing might have found themselves a diamond in the rough with Sunoco Rookie of the Year candidate Daniel Hemric, who, since Daytona (last seven races), has moved up 22 spots in the NASCAR XFINITY Series standings from 26th to fourth heading into Talladega this weekend.
A Kannapolis, North Carolina, native, Hemric is amidst a great comeback in the series points. After being caught in an incident in the season-opener at Daytona that relegated him to a 31st-place finish and a 26th-place ranking in the points, he has rallied to post two top fives, four top 10s and won a Dash 4 Cash bonus at Bristol in the process. Now the RCR youngster sits fourth in points after coming off his best finish of the season (third).
This weekend will be Daniel Hemric’s series track debut. Though he does have some Talladega track experience, he made two NASCAR Camping World Truck Series starts at the superspeedway; posting a best finish of 11th last season.
Ben Kennedy Signs With RCR and GMS, Makes Season Debut This Weekend At Talladega
The great grandson of NASCAR founder Bill France Sr. and grandson of Bill France Jr., Ben Kennedy, will return to NASCAR XFINITY Series competition this weekend at Talladega Superspeedway after signing a multi-race deal with Richard Childress Racing (nine races) and GMS Racing (12 more races).
Kennedy has been working for months to line the two deals up and is supremely focused on the development of his driving career.
“I’m very ready to go,” said Kennedy. “It’s been a long offseason for me, so it’s great to know Talladega is around the corner and even better to know we’re going to Charlotte after and will have a pretty busy schedule,” Kennedy said. “I’m looking forward to it.”
Kennedy will strap into the No. 2 Richard Childress Racing Chevrolet Camaro this weekend with crew chief Justin Alexander calling the shots from the pit box.
His first start with GMS Racing will not be until May 27 at Charlotte Motor Speedway. GMS Racing will be expanding to a second car to accommodate Kennedy, who will be working with his former NCWTS crew chief Jeff Stankiewicz.
Kennedy has made just one NASCAR XFINITY Series start in his career at Iowa Speedway, where he started sixth and finished 10th.
NASCAR XFINITY Series Etc.
Monster Energy Series Drivers To Watch On Saturday: Ty Dillon, Daniel Suarez, Erik Jones, Joey Logano, Aric Almirola, and Kasey Kahne make up the six Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series regulars that will be competing in the NASCAR XFINITY Series race this weekend.
Restrictor-Plate Kings In The NXS: NASCAR Hall of Famer Dale Earnhardt and former driver/current car owner Tony Stewart lead the NASCAR XFINITY Series in wins on restrictor-plate tracks (Daytona and Talladega) with eight wins each. Joey Logano leads all active drivers in the NASCAR XFINITY Series with three; followed by Elliott Sadler and Ryan Reed with two each.
Whoa, That Was Close! Top Five Closest NXS MOVs At ‘Dega: The 1999 Talladega Superspeedway race is tied with the 1996 Milwaukee event as the two closest finishes in the NASCAR XFINITY Series since the inception of electronic scoring in 1993 at 0.002. Here are the five closest margin of victory finishes at Talladega Superspeedway in the NXS: 1999 (0.002); 1994 (0.008); 2009 (0.030); 2012 (0.034) and 2007 (0.052).
Sunoco Rookie Of The Year Update: William Byron continues to hold the rookie standings lead following Richmond, but Daniel Hemric closed Byron’s points lead from 17 markers following Bristol down to just five after Richmond. Cole Custer (-28) in third, Matt Tifft (-32) in fourth and Spencer Gallagher (-37) in fifth have their work cut out for them if they want to catch Byron.