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NASCAR National Series News & Notes -- Talladega

Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series
Next Race: Alabama 500
The Place: Talladega Superspeedway
The Date: Sunday, Oct. 15
The Time: 2 p.m. ET
TV: NBC, 1:30 p.m. ET
Radio: MRN, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio
Distance: 500.08 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: Kansas Lottery 300
The Place: Kansas Speedway
The Date: Saturday, Oct. 21
The Time: 3 p.m. ET
TV: NBC, 2:30 p.m. ET
Radio: MRN, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio
Distance: 300 miles (200 laps); Stage 1 (Ends on lap 45),
Stage 2 (Ends on lap 90), Final Stage (Ends on lap 200)

NASCAR Camping World Truck Series
Next Race: fred’s 250 Powered by Coca-Cola
The Place: Talladega Superspeedway
The Date: Saturday, Oct. 14
The Time: 1 p.m. ET
TV: FOX, 12:30 p.m. ET
Radio: MRN, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio
Distance: 250.04 miles (94 laps); Stage 1 (Ends on lap 20),
Stage 2 (Ends on lap 40), Final Stage (Ends on lap 94)

Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series
Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series Playoffs Travels To Talladega
The Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series Playoffs travel to the second race of the Round of 12 - Sunday’s Alabama 500 at Talladega Superspeedway (2 p.m. ET on NBC, MRN and SiriusXM NASCAR Radio).

Truex Advances To Round Of 8 With Charlotte Win
Martin Truex Jr. continued his dominant season with a win in the Round of 12 opener at Charlotte. With the victory, he automatically advances to the Round of 8, which begins at Martinsville on Oct. 29.

Truex will carry at least his 64 playoff points - 30 for his six wins, 19 for his 19 stage wins and 15 for his regular season championship - into the Round of 8. He can still earn even more in the upcoming races at Talladega and Kansas.

Truex’s victory was his fifth at a 1.5-mile track this season, tying Carl Edwards (2008) for the most in a year. He still has races at Kansas, Texas and Homestead to break Edwards’ mark.

The No. 78 Toyota driver has led 1,977 laps this season - 23 away from 2,00. If he accomplishes the feat, he will become only the fourth driver since 2000 to lead 2,000 or more laps in a single season, joining Kevin Harvick (2015 - 2,294 laps led and 2014 - 2,137 laps led), Jimmie Johnson (2009 - 2,238 laps led) and Jeff Gordon (2001 - 2,320 laps led).

In the Modern Era (1972 to Present), only 11 drivers have led 2,000 or more laps in a single season: Cale Yarborough, Darrell Waltrip, Dale Earnhardt, Richard petty, Rusty Wallace, Jeff Gordon, Bobby Allison, Kevin Harvick, David Pearson, Jimmie Johnson, Dale Jarrett

Truex leads the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series in wins (six), top fives (14, tied with Kyle Larson), top 10s (21), stage wins (19), average running position (7.3), driver rating (115.7), fastest laps run (1,143, 16.4%) and laps led (1,977, 22.7%).

Elliott Scores Another Runner-Up Finish
Chase Elliott scored his second consecutive runner-up finish and third of the Playoffs in Sunday’s Bank of America 500 at Charlotte Motor Speedway. As a result, he shot up from ninth on the Playoff leaderboard to fourth (16 points above Matt Kenseth on the cutoff line).

The runner-up marked the sixth career second-place showing for Elliott, who is still trying to win his first race.

Elliott will try to tackle Talladega this weekend, where he has a career-best finish at the track of fifth (spring 2016). He finished 12th (fall 2016) and 30th (spring 2017) in his other two starts at the 2.66-mile behemoth.

Stenhouse Goes For Third Restrictor-Plate Win Of The Season
Ricky Stenhouse Jr. is trying to establish himself as the new restrictor-plate ace in the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series this season. He took the checkered flag in the May Talladega race and the July Daytona contest.

He’ll go for the Talladega sweep and his third restrictor-plate win of the season in Sunday’s Alabama 500.

Stenhouse’s success at Talladega shouldn’t come as a complete surprise. He has three top fives, five top 10s and a 10.4 average finish at the Alabama track.

A win on Sunday would automatically advance Stenhouse to the Round of 8. Currently, he sits last on the Playoff leaderboard, 10 points behind Jamie McMurray on the cutoff line.

Talladega has been swept seven times by six different drivers: Pete Hamilton (1970), Buddy Baker (1975), Darrell Waltrip (1982), Dale Earnhardt (1990, 1999), Dale Earnhardt Jr. (2002) and Jeff Gordon (2007).

Talladega Knight: Earnhardt Jr. Takes Final Ride At Alabama Track
No driver is more beloved at Talladega than Dale Earnhardt Jr.

On Sunday, the restrictor-plate ace will make his last start at the 2.66-mile superspeedway.

In 34 starts at Talladega, Earnhardt boasts six wins, 12 top fives, 16 top 10s and a 15.6 average finish. His 91.0 driver rating at the Alabama track leads active drivers who have more than three starts there.

Earnhardt ranks sixth all-time in career superspeedway wins with 10 (six at Talladega and four at Daytona). Every eligible driver in the top 11 is in the NASCAR Hall of Fame: Dale Earnhardt (13 superspeedway wins), Cale Yarborough (12), Jeff Gordon (not yet eligible, 12), Richard Petty (12), David Pearson (11), Bobby Allison (10), Earnhardt Jr. (not yet eligible, 10) Fireball Roberts (seven), Bill Elliott (six), Buddy Baker (six), Dale Jarrett (six).

Keselowski Can Produce Another Wild ‘Dega Finish
Brad Keselowski is no stranger to success at Talladega. In fact, he’s had some wild finishes at the 2.66-mile Alabama track.

In 2009, the No. 2 Ford driver won his first career race at Talladega for Phoenix Racing, turning Carl Edwards on the final lap to take the checkered flag.

In 2014, Keselowski entered the Talladega Playoff race in a “win or go home” situation following a run-in the previous weekend with Matt Kenseth at Charlotte. Keselowski blocked out the distractions and won the race to make the Round of 8.

The Team Penske driver will attempt to muster some of the same magic for Sunday’s Alabama 500. He is currently 10th on the Playoff leaderboard - two points behind Jamie McMurray on the cutoff line.

Keselowski boasts four wins, six top fives, 10 top 10s and a 14.9 average finish in 17 career starts at Talladega.

NASCAR XFINITY Series

This weekend, the NASCAR XFINITY Series is off, and the drivers and teams are regrouping for when the action gets back into full throttle for the fifth Playoff race on October 21, the Kansas Lottery 300 at Kansas Speedway on NBC, MRN and SiriusXM NASCAR Radio at 2 p.m. ET.

Five First-Time Winners This Season Are Most Since 2014
Alex Bowman’s Charlotte Motor Speedway victory this past weekend made him the fifth different first-time winner of the 2017 NASCAR XFINITY Series season; which is the most since 2014 (five first-time winners). The series record for first-time winners was set in the inaugural season (1982) with 14 first-time winners. Since then, the next most first-time winners in a single NASCAR XFINITY Series season is six and it has happened seven times (1987, 1989, 1991, 1996, 2002, 2004 and 2006).

So far, this season we have witnessed Ryan Preece (Iowa), Jeremy Clements (Road America), Tyler Reddick (Kentucky), William Byron (Iowa) and Alex Bowman (Charlotte) all get their first career series win.

Which begs the question, could we see a record tying sixth first time winner in 2017?

There is a good chance we do. Four of the remaining eight Playoff drivers have yet to win in the NASCAR XFINITY Series - Brennan Poole, Daniel Hemric, Cole Custer and Matt Tifft.

The next stop on the NASCAR XFINITY Series Playoff schedule is Kansas Speedway. If a first-time winner captures the checkered flag on October 21 at Kansas, it will be quite the feat, as it will be the first time a driver has captured his first career series win at Kansas.

A Five-Season Look At The Top Three Powerhouse Winning Organizations
Over the last five seasons (2013-Present) nine different team organizations have visited Victory Lane in the NASCAR XFINITY Series. This season, we have seen seven of the nine organizations get one or more drivers a win - Joe Gibbs Racing (10 wins), Team Penske (six), Chip Ganassi Racing (five), JR Motorsports (five), Biagi-DenBeste Racing (one), Jeremy Clements Racing (one) and Roush Fenway Racing (one).

Leading the series in wins over the last five seasons (2013-Present) is Joe Gibbs Racing with 64 victories out of a possible 161 races for a winning percentage of 39.8%. The 68 wins were the result of eight different drivers capturing the checkered flag - Kyle Busch (40 wins), Erik Jones (eight), Denny Hamlin (six), Daniel Suarez (three), Matt Kenseth (three), Sam Hornish Jr. (three), Elliott Sadler (one) and Ryan Preece (one).

Next on the list of winning organizations over the last five years in the NASCAR XFINITY Series is Team Penske with 36 wins out of a possible 161 and a winning percentage of 22.4%. The 36 wins came from the steady hands of five different drivers - Brad Keselowski (16 wins), Joey Logano (10), Ryan Blaney (six), AJ Allmendinger (two) and Sam Hornish Jr. (two).

The organization with the third-most wins over the last five seasons in the NASCAR XFINITY Series is JR Motorsports with 26 victories out of a possible 161 races; a winning percentage of 16.1%. The 26 wins came from eight different drivers - Kevin Harvick (six wins), Chase Elliott (five), Regan Smith (five), Elliott Sadler (three), William Byron (three), Justin Allgaier (two), Dale Earnhardt Jr. (one) and Kasey Kahne (one).

NASCAR XFINITY Series Etc.
Milestones: At Kansas on Oct. 21, Elliott Sadler (358 series starts) will tie Mike Bliss (359 series starts) for 10th on the all-time NASCAR XFINITY Series starts list. Kenny Wallace currently holds the record for the most all-time series starts with 547. Elliott Sadler made his first series start at South Boston back in 1995, driving a car owned by his mother, Bell.

NASCAR Camping World Truck Series

Dega Dance
Following an off-week, the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series will close out the Round of 8 at Talladega Superspeedway Saturday with the Fred’s 250 Powered by Coca-Cola (1 p.m. ET on FOX, MRN and SiriusXM NASCAR Radio).

2017 Sunoco Rookie of the Year contender Grant Enfinger is the defending race winner, while 2017 Playoffs contenders Christopher Bell (sixth) and Johnny Sauter (seventh) both finished inside the top-10.

Playoff Bubble Drivers At Talladega
As the 2017 NASCAR Camping World Truck Series Playoff field gears for its first elimination race of the post-season at Talladega Superspeedway, below is an outlook of how the bubble drivers have performed this season and at the superspeedway if they’ve registered a start:

Chase Briscoe: The Sunoco Rookie of the Year contender and Brad Keselowski Racing driver currently sits 10 points above the cutoff line. Briscoe has been on a tear all season - finishing top-25 or better in every race this year. He’s coming off a third-place finish at Las Vegas and has never made a NASCAR Camping World Truck Series start at Talladega.

Austin Cindric: Also a Brad Keselowski Racing driver and a Sunoco Rookie, Austin Cindric sits eight points above the cutoff line heading into Talladega. Cindric has been stout during his Playoffs run as he has finishes of eighth (New Hampshire) and fourth (Las Vegas). He has one career NASCAR Camping World Truck Series start at Talladega - he finished 20th in this race a year ago in the No. 2 Brad Keselowski Racing Ford.

Kaz Grala: Having a strong Sunoco Rookie season for GMS Racing, Kaz Grala sits eight points below the Round of 8 Playoffs bubble. Grala has finished top-10 or better in four consecutive races and will need a strong finish, plus some help, to stay in the 2017 Playoffs. Grala will be making his first career NASCAR Camping World Truck Series start at Talladega this weekend.

John Hunter Nemechek: Due to mechanical trouble in the opening race of the Round of 8, John Hunter Nemechek is 14 points below the cutoff line heading into Talladega. He will need some help to get in the Round of 6 on points if he doesn’t win the race. Nemechek has two career NASCAR Camping World Truck Series starts at Talladega. He finished 32nd there last year due to an engine issue and 11th there in 2015.

NASCAR Camping World Truck Series Playoffs Clinch Scenarios At Talladega

  • Matt Crafton (0 Wins, 2101 Points): can clinch this weekend on points with 37 points and a new winner. If there is a repeat winner, he would clinch on points with 29 points. He can also clinch with a win this weekend.

  • Johnny Sauter (0 Wins, 2098 Points): can clinch this weekend on points with 40 points and a new winner. If there is a repeat winner, he would clinch on points with 32 Points. He can also clinch with a win this weekend.

  • Chase Briscoe (0 Wins, 2084 Points): can clinch this weekend on points with 54 Points and a new winner. If there is a repeat winner, he would clinch on points with 46 Points. He can also clinch with a win this weekend.

  • Austin Cindric (0 Wins, 2082 Points): can clinch this weekend on points with 55 Points and a new winner. If there is a repeat winner, they would clinch on points with 48 Points. He can also clinch with a win this weekend.

  • Kaz Grala (0 Wins, 2074 Points): He can clinch with a win this weekend and could clinch on points with help.

  • John H Nemechek (0 Wins, 2068 Points): He can clinch with a win this weekend and could clinch on points with help.

NASCAR Camping World Truck Series Playoffs By Round
The 2017 NASCAR Camping World Truck Series Playoffs concludes the Round of 8 this weekend at Talladega Superspeedway with the Fred’s 250 on Saturday (1 p.m. ET on FOX, MRN and SiriusXM NASCAR Radio).

Below is a look at the remaining NASCAR Camping World Truck Series Playoffs rounds and which tracks line up per round.

ROUND OF 8
Fred’s 250 Powered by Coca-Cola at Talladega Super Speedway
(Saturday, October 14 at 1 p.m. ET on FOX, MRN and SiriusXM NASCAR Radio)

ROUND OF 6
Texas Roadhouse 200 at Martinsville Speedway
(Saturday, October 28 at 1 p.m. ET on FS1, MRN and SiriusXM NASCAR Radio)

JAG Metals 350 at Texas Motor Speedway
(Friday, November 3 at 8 p.m. on FS1, MRN and SiriusXM NASCAR Radio)

Lucas Oil 150 at Phoenix International Raceway
(Friday, November 10 at 8:30 p.m. on FS1, MRN and SiriusXM NASCAR Radio)

CHAMPIONSHIP 4
Ford EcoBoost 200 at Homestead-Miami Speedway
(Friday, November 17 at 8 p.m. on FS1, MRN and SiriusXM NASCAR Radio)

Sauter Looking For Another Dega Win
Reigning NASCAR Camping World Truck Series champion Johnny Sauter is looking to make his mark in the final race of the Round 8. Sauter was victorious at Talladega in 2013 and finished seventh there in back-to-back seasons (2016 and 2015).

Sauter had a rough night at Las Vegas Motor Speedway in his last race out but still managed to finish 10th. He finished ninth in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series Playoffs opening race at New Hampshire.

Sauter currently sits fourth in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series Playoffs point standings and remains a threat to win anywhere, any week.

Talladega Superspeedway Quick Facts
As the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series heads to Talladega Superspeedway for the Fred’s 250 on Saturday (1 p.m. ET on FOX, MRN and SiriusXM NASCAR Radio), below are some series quick facts at the 2.66-mile track:

Races: 11
Pole Winners: 11
Youngest Pole Winner: Cole Custer (10/22/2016 - 18 years, 8 months, 29 days)
Oldest Pole Winner: Ron Hornaday Jr. (10/30/2010 - 52 years, 4 months, 10 days)
Race Winners: 8
Youngest Winner: Parker Kilgerman (10/06/2012 - 22 years, 1 months, 28 days)
Oldest Winner: Mike Wallace (10/22/2011 - 52 years, 7 months, 12 days)
Races Won from Pole (or 1st Starting Position): 3
Last Race Won from Pole (or 1st Starting Position): Timothy Peters (10/24/2015)
Race Record: Todd Bodine 145.513 mph (10/04/2008)
Qualifying Record: Tyler Reddick (186.827 mph (10/18/2014)

First Timers At Talladega
There are six Sunoco Rookie of the Year contenders making their track debut at Talladega Superspeedway in Saturday’s Fred’s 250 (1 p.m. ET on FOX, MRN and SiriusXM NASCAR Radio). They include: Chase Briscoe, Wendell Chavous, Stewart Friesen, Noah Gragson Kaz Grala and Justin Haley.

Cody Coughlin, Austin Cindric and Grant Enfinger are the three NASCAR Camping World Truck Series Sunoco Rookie contenders who have made previous career starts at Talladega Superspeedway.

In 11 NASCAR Camping World Truck Series races at Talladega Superspeedway, 2017 Sunoco Rookie of the Year contender Grant Enfinger (10/22/2016) and current NBC NASCAR analyst Parker Kligerman (10/06/2012) are the only two drivers to win their first series race at Talladega.

Current NASCAR XFINITY Series driver Tyler Reddick (10/18/2014) is the only driver to win his first career NASCAR Camping World Truck Series pole at Talladega.

NASCAR Camping World Truck Series Etc.
From The Booth To The Truck: Two current NASCAR broadcasters in Parker Kligerman (NBC Sports) and Regan Smith (FOX Sports) will be racing in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series this weekend at Talladega. Kligerman won at Talladega in 2012 - becoming the youngest winner at Talladega in series history. Smith has one career NASCAR Camping World Truck Series start at Talladega and finished ninth there in 2007.

NASCAR Camping World Truck Series Owner Standings Update: Kyle Busch Motorsports’ No. 4 Toyota Tundra leads ThorSport Racing’s No. 88 Toyota by 51 points in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series owner standings after 18 races this season. GMS Racing’s No. 21 Chevrolet Silverado (-54), Brad Keselowski Racing’s No. 19 Ford F-150 (-71) and GMS Racing’s No. 33 Chevrolet Silverado (-78) round out the top five.

NASCAR Camping World Truck Series Manufacturer Standings Update: Through 18 NASCAR Camping World Truck Series races this season, Toyota leads Chevrolet by 33 points in the manufacturer standings, 673-640. Ford occupies third place with 570 points.

--- NASCAR ---