FACT: No fall Talladega winner has gone on to become the NASCAR Sprint Cup champion during the Chase era.
With non-Chase drivers winning four of the eight fall races at Talladega under the current post-season format, watch for an outlier to open the gates to Victory Lane on Sunday.
Seven of this year’s 12 Chase qualifiers (Bowyer, Brad Keselowski, Jimmie Johnson, Tony Stewart, Dale Earnhardt Jr., Kevin Harvick and Jeff Gordon) have a ‘Dega victory. Denny Hamlin, Kasey Kahne, Martin Truex Jr., Greg Biffle and Matt Kenseth are still looking for one. A member of this year’s Chase field has won 10 of the past 13 races at Talladega Superspeedway.
NASCAR Sprint Cup points leader Brad Keselowski, winner of the track’s spring race earlier this year and in 2009, when he scored his first of nine series victories. Denny Hamlin is 16 points behind Keselowski in third place. A victory would make Keselowski the first to sweep both Talladega races since Jeff Gordon in 2007.
Talladega stands statistically as Jimmie Johnson’s worst-performing track. Kenseth, the Daytona 500 winner, finished third in the track’s spring race with Biffle close behind in fifth place. Both drivers need a victory in the worst way and so does Ford, a winner just twice in the track’s most recent 27 races.
However, do not rule out Jamie McMurray. McMurray was the last Ford driver to win at Talladega (fall 2009) and is both a Daytona 500 and Coke Zero 400 champion in Daytona.
Source: NASCAR Media