Race #: 10 of 36 (05-06-12)
Track Size: 2.66 miles
Race Length: 500 miles
Banking/corners: 33 degrees
Banking/Frontstretch: 16.5 degrees
Banking/Backstretch: 2 degrees
Frontstretch: 4,300 feet
Backstretch: 4,000 feet
This could be it for Hendrick Motorsport’s 200th Victory. The chances are in their favor heading to ‘Dega. Jeff Gordon has six wins, Dale Earnhardt, Jr. holds five wins, Jimmie Johnson comes in with two wins. Coming up on the spoiler of the 200th victory for HMS, could be that of RCR – having won three races at Talladega – Kevin Harvick and fellow RCR drivers Jeff Burton and Paul Menard have yet to win in 2012. Harvick ranks seventh in points.
After an exciting Daytona 500, Talladega should bring in the same excitement: The Pack. No more two-car tandems as we seen absent from Daytona. Last year’s Aaron’s 499 matched series records for lead changes (88) and closest margin of victory (0.002 seconds).
Who else to watch? How about MWR… Clint Bowyer has several reasons to be excited about racing at Talladega Superspeedway this weekend. Bowyer finished second in last year’s Aaron’s 499 and won the track’s fall race in 2011. He’s also fighting to a spot in the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup™ having just missed qualifying for NASCAR’s post season a year ago. Bowyer, 12th in the standings but just 14 points out of 10th-place, left Richard Childress Racing at season’s end and bids to carry his Talladega success to Michael Waltrip Racing. Teammates Martin Truex Jr. and Michael Waltrip logged top-10 finishes in last year’s fall race. MWR has a single top-five finish at Talladega: David Reutimann’s fourth in the fall of 2010.
Below is a look at some of the top statistical performers at Talladega Superspeedway in Talladega, Ala. going into the Aaron’s 499 on May 6.
Jeff Burton (No. 31 CATERPILLAR Chevrolet)
· Five top fives, 14 top 10s
· Average finish of 18.5
Kurt Busch (No. 51 Phoenix Construction Services Inc. Chevrolet)
· Six top fives, 13 top 10s
· Average finish of 14.9
Dale Earnhardt Jr. (No. 88 National Guard/Diet Mountain Dew Chevrolet)
· Five wins, nine top fives, 12 top 10s
· Average finish of 15.0
Jeff Gordon (No. 24 DuPont Chevrolet)
· Six wins, 14 top fives, 18 top 10s; two poles
· Average finish of 16.3
Denny Hamlin (No. 11 FedEx Express Toyota)
· Three top fives, five top 10s
· Average finish of 17.8
Jimmie Johnson (No. 48 Lowe’s Chevrolet)
· Two wins, five top fives, nine top 10s; one pole
· Average finish of 16.9
Matt Kenseth (No. 17 Best Buy Ford)
· Three top fives, six top 10s
· Average finish of 19.3
Brad Keselowski (No. 2 Miller Lite Dodge)
· One win, two top fives, four top 10s
· Average finish of 15.0
Joey Logano (No. 20 Dollar General Toyota)
· Two top fives, four top 10s
· Average finish of 14.5
Juan Pablo Montoya (No. 42 Target/Kraft Chevrolet)
· Three top fives, three top 10s; two poles
· Average finish of 17.1
David Ragan (No. 34 Front Row Motorsports Ford)
· Two top fives, three top 10s
· Average finish of 18.1
Tony Stewart (No. 14 Office Depot/Mobil 1 Chevrolet)
· One win, nine top fives, 13 top 10s
· Average finish of 15.2
· Construction began on what was then known as the Alabama International Motor Speedway on May 23, 1968.
· The first NASCAR Sprint Cup race was held on Sept. 14, 1969.
· The name changed to Talladega Superspeedway in 1989.
· Fourth repaving completed on Sept. 19, 2006.
· There have been 85 NASCAR Sprint Cup races at Talladega Superspeedway since the track opened in 1969; two a year every year except the inaugural season, which had just one.
· Richard Brickhouse won the first NASCAR Sprint Cup race.
· Bobby Isaac won the first NASCAR Sprint Cup pole in September 1969. Isaac won the first three poles there.
· 35 different drivers have won poles. Bill Elliott leads all drivers with eight poles.
· 41 different drivers have posted victories, led by Dale Earnhardt Sr. (10). Twenty drivers have won more than once.
· Jeff Gordon leads all other active drivers in victories, with six. Dale Earnhardt Jr. is second among active drivers in victories with five.
· Richard Childress Racing has won more than any other organization at Talladega with 12 wins.
· 33 of 85 races have been won from a top-two starting positions, including 13 from the pole; 23 have been won from a starting position outside the top 10. The most recent driver to win from the pole was Jeff Gordon in 2007 (spring).
· The furthest back in the field a race winner started was 36th, by Jeff Gordon in 2000.
· Mark Martin’s pace in the 1997 spring race set an all-time NASCAR Sprint Cup record for the fastest race ever. He won the caution-free race with an average speed of 188.354 mph and covered the 500-mile distance in two hours, 39 minutes and 18 seconds.
· The 2010 spring race set the all-time and track records for lead changes (88) and lap leaders (29). Last season’s spring race tied the 2010 record for most lead changes with 88 (amongst 26 lap leaders). The previous highs were 75 lead changes (set on May 6, 1984) and 28 lap leaders (set on Oct. 5, 2008). Both previous records also were set at Talladega.
· Dale Earnhardt Jr. had four consecutive victories (October 2001 through April 2003), the most ever by a driver there. Buddy Baker (three – May 1975 through May 1976) is the only other driver to win more than two consecutive races there.
· Since the inception of electronic scoring in 1993, every race that has ended under green has had a margin of victory under half a second.
· The 2011 spring race tied the 03/16/2003 Darlington race won by Ricky Craven for the all-time record of the closest series finish (0.002 seconds) since the inception of electronic scoring.
· Youngest NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Talladega Superspeedway winner: Bobby Hillin Jr. (07/27/1986 – 22 years, 1 month, 22 days).
· Oldest NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Talladega Superspeedway winner: Harry Gant (05/06/1991 – 51 years, 3 months, 26 days)