1. Dale Junior Looks to Join Father With 7th Dega Win
Talladega has long been known as part of "Earnhardt Country," and this will be the next-to-last Cup Series race Dale Earnhardt Jr. will run there before his retirement at the end of the season. Dale Jr. is a 6-time Talladega winner, which is tied with former teammate Jeff Gordon for 2nd all-time. A win, and he'll join his father, a 10-time Talladega winner, as the only drivers with 7 or more wins at the track.
Most Talladega Wins - NASCAR Cup Series History
Wins Races Win Pct
Dale Earnhardt 10 44 22.7
Dale Earnhardt Jr. 6 33 18.2
Jeff Gordon 6 46 13.0
>>Brad Keselowski: among 4 drivers tied for 4th with 4 wins (in 16 starts)
NASCAR began using restrictor plates at Daytona and Talladega in 1988 to limit the speeds of the car at the track, producing a different style of racing with the cars tightly packed and the engine power limited. Earnhardt Jr., has won 10 of those races, putting him 1 behind his father for the 2nd-most all-time and 2 behind Gordon for the series record. There are 3 plate races remaining this season.
Most Restrictor Plate Race Wins - NASCAR Cup Series History
Jeff Gordon 12 92
Dale Earnhardt 11 53
Dale Earnhardt Jr. 10 68
Dale Jarrett 6 80
>>Races at Daytona and Talladega since 1988
Junior is a 6-time Talladega winner, but 5 of those wins came in a 7-race span from 2001-04, in which he won 4 straight, finished 2nd in the next 2, and then won again. Earnhardt did win this race 2 years ago, but finished last at Talladega in his last start there (last May, he missed the October race), after being involved in an early-race wreck.
Dale Earnhardt Jr. at Talladega - Since 2001
Starts 8 23
Wins >>5 1
2nd place 2 3
Avg finish 2.1 19.0 (436/23)
Laps led 461 471
>>Won 4 straight from 2001-03
2. Prepare for Wild Finish at Talladega
Exciting finishes are the norm at Talladega. 12 of the last 23 races at the track were decided by a last lap pass
InPlay: Recent Memorable Moments in Spring Race at Talladega
" May 2013: Drivers David Ragan and David Gilliland comes through the pack on the final lap to pick up the first win for underdog team Front Row Motorsports
" April 2011: Jimmie Johnson wins a thrilling 4-wide, 2-deep finish, getting a push from Dale Earnhardt Jr. to beat Clint Bowyer by 2-thousandths of a second
" April 2010: Kevin Harvick waited until the last possible moment to make his move, but passed Jamie McMurray heading to the finish line to win by .011 seconds.
" April 2009: Brad Keselowski's first career lap led was the final lap at Talladega, the first driver in series history to make his first lap led the last lap of a race; but the race is better remembered for Carl Edwards' flying into the catchfence after last-lap contact with Keselowski
Since 1980, there's been 74 Cup Series race at Talladega, and 21 of those (28%) have been decided by a last-lap pass, the most of any track. Four drivers have been the beneficiaries of last-lap passes for the win multiple times at Talladega since 1980, Jimmie Johnson, Brad Keselowski, Clint Bowyer and Dale Earnhardt.
Most Last-Lap Passes for Win - By Track Since 1980
Pct of Total Races
Talladega 21 28.4
Daytona 13 17.3
Pocono 6 8.3
3. Brad Keselowski Ahead of the Pace
While Dale Earnhardt Jr. is looking to win his 7th Talladega race, Brad Keselowski is looking for his 5th. He'd be the 5th driver to win at least 5 Cup Series races at Talladega, a track that has been hosting Cup Series races since 1969. His 4 wins have come in 16 career starts, giving him a better winning percentage at the track than all-time wins leader Dale Earnhardt, and the best mark among drivers with at least 10 starts at the track.
Best Win Percentage at Talladega - NASCAR Cup Series History
Win Pct Wins Races
Brad Keselowski 25.0 4 16
Dale Earnhardt 22.7 10 44
Davey Allison 20.0 3 15
Dale Earnhardt Jr. 18.2 6 33
Jeff Gordon 13.0 6 46
Joey Logano 12.5 2 16
>>Among drivers with more than 5 starts at track
Last October, Keselowski led 90 of 192 laps, but finished 38th after losing an engine. The 90 laps led were the 3rd-most in a Talladega race in the playoff era (since 2004), and the most since Matt Kenseth led 142 in May 2013.
4. Can Kurt Make it 2-for-2?
To start the season at Daytona, Kurt Busch picked up his first Cup Series restrictor plate win (races at Daytona and Talladega) in 64 career starts in those races. Now, he'll look to pick up his first career Talladega win. Busch has 3 straight top 10s at Talladega and 17 in 32 career races at the track.
Most Top-10 Finishes at Talladega Without a Win - NASCAR Cup Series History
Top 10 Top 10 Pct
Kyle Petty 19 35.8
Kurt Busch 17 53.1 (17-32)
Jeff Burton 16 40.0
Benny Parsons 14 38.9
Busch will now look to be the 4th driver since NASCAR began using restrictor plates at Daytona and Talladega to win the first 2 plates races of the season. The last to do it, Jimmie Johnson in 2006, went on to win the series championship.
Won First 2 Restrictor Plate Races of Season - Cup Series Since 1988
2006 Jimmie Johnson 1st
2005 Jeff Gordon >>11th
1992 Davey Allison 3rd
>>Missed playoffs (playoffs started in 2004)
5. Penske Power Rules at Talladega
Between Joey Logano (twice) and Brad Keselowski, Team Penske has won the last 3 NASCAR Cup Series races at Talladega. That after winning twice in the first 55 races the team ran at the track. Another win would put Team Penske into a tie with Ranier Racing and Dale Earnhardt Inc. for 3rd-most by a team in track history, behind Richard Childress Racing and Hendrick Motorsports, which have 12 apiece.
Another win would leave Penske 1 shy of the longest win streak by a team in Cup races at Talladega.
Most Consecutive Wins by a Team - NASCAR Cup Series Races at Talladega
2001-03 DEI 5
2006-07 Hendrick 4
2015-16 Penske >>3
1975-76 Moore 3
Who's Hot and Who's Not - Talladega Edition
* Dale Earnhardt Jr.: 6 Talladega wins are tied for 2nd-most in NASCAR Cup Series history (10 restrictor plate race wins are 3rd)
* Brad Keselowski: defending race winner; won 4 of 16 career MENCS Talladega races (best win pct in track history among drivers with more than 5 starts)
* Clint Bowyer: 8 top-10 finishes in 13 restrictor plate races since start of 2014 (26 top 10s in 104 races at all other tracks)
* Ryan Blaney: finished 4th and 9th in 2 Cup Series spring races at Talladega (25.3 Avg finish in 3 starts in fall race)
* Kurt Busch: 8.2 Avg finish in last 5 Talladega races (28.0 in previous 8 races at track)
* Joey Logano: finished 25th or worse in last 5 Talladega spring races (won last 2 Talladega fall races)
* Jimmie Johnson: 1 top-10 finish in last 6 Talladega races
* Matt Kenseth: finished 23rd or worse in last 4 Talladega races
* Kasey Kahne: finished 34th or worse in 3 of last 4 and 5 of last 8 Talladega races
* Danica Patrick: never finished better than 19th in 8 career starts at Talladega
* Martin Truex Jr.: 2 top 5s, 8 top 10s, 10 DNF in 24 career Talladega races
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