NASCAR record setting weekend at ‘Dega

2011 Talladeag NASCAR Sprint Cup four-wide finish at Talladega Superspeedway.

Fans watch Jimmie Johnson cross the finish line .002 seconds ahead of Clint Boywer at Talladega Superspeedway. Johnson's win ties the record for closest finish in NASCAR history. Photo credit: Getty Images

Sunday’s Aaron’s 499 at Talladega Superspeedway tied two NASCAR Sprint Cup Series records – number of lead changes and closest margin of victory.

There were 88 lead changes at the start/finish line, tying an all-time NASCAR record set in last season’s April event at Talladega. The final lead change occurred on the last lap – eight of the last 12 Talladega races featured a last-lap lead change.

Thanks to some awesome pushing from behind from teammate Dale Earnhardt, Jr., Jimmie Johnson edged out Clint Bowyer by .002 seconds, which matches the closest finishes of victory since the inception of electronic scoring in May 1993. It also tied Ricky Craven’s victory over Kurt Busch at Darlington in 2003. Johnson felt the push from Earnhardt was so important that he tried to give Earnhardt the checkered flag after the race. To Bowyer, losing by such a small margin was compounded by being edged by a driver who had spent considerable time near the back of the field. “The only thing that bums me out about that is those guys lagged back all day long. That’s what makes it tough, losing to somebody that did that. We were up front for our sponsors and our team, digging all day long. When you get it taken from you at the end by somebody who lagged back all day, it’s hard to take.”

Usually, RCR has been known for the best restrictor plate racing – even that has changed…Hendrick Motor Sports has moved on up.

But towards the end of the race, there seemed to be some confusion as to when the checkered flag had dropped… even Jimmie Johnson wasn’t aware that it had dropped. I was listen to the race via MRN, and they were calling it from 4th place back, and then abruptly stopped and said “wait, the race is over…. we think Jimmie Johnson won.”  What was the deal with that?

In Saturday’s NASCAR Nationwide Series race, there were 56 lead changes, an all-time record since the series’ inception in 1982.

Events/autograph sessions for ‘Dega


Aaron’s 499

NASCAR Pre-race: FOX – 12:00pm/et

Race Coverage: FOX, 1:00pm/et

SPEED’s NASCAR Raceday Pre-Race Show: 10:00am/et

John Roberts, Kyle Petty, Kenny Wallace

Track/Race Length: 2.66 mile quad oval, 188 laps, 500.08 miles

Superspeedway: 2.66-mile trioval 48 feet wide (12-foot apron)

Turns: Banking: 33° Length: 3,750 feet Radius: 1,100 feet

Trioval: Banking: 18°

Frontstretch: Chute length: 2,150 feet (from turn to middle of trioval) Total length: 4,300 feet Banking: 16.5°

Backstretch: Length: 4,000 feet Banking: 2°

Grand Marshal: Auburn Tigers head football coach Gene Chizik

Command to start engines: Gene Chizik

Aaron’s Dream Weekend at Talladega Superspeedway:

Friday, April 15

Qualifying for the NASCAR Nationwide Series,

ARCA Racing Series 250

Saturday, April 16

Qualifying for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series

Aaron’s 312 (NASCAR Nationwide Series race)

Sunday, April 17

Aaron’s 499 (NASCAR Cup Series race)

NOTEBOOK:

•Richard “The King” Petty won twice in 46 Talladega starts. But his two wins managed to set an unusual record. The first win came on August 11, 1974. The second came on May 1, 1983, setting the mark for longest stretch between wins at the 2.66-mile oval.(10-2-2004)

Slowest Cup race ever at Talladega 2004: A track record 11 caution periods over 55 laps caused the average speed to be 129.396mph, the slowest in a NASCAR Winston/Nextel Cup race at Talladega. The record (130.892) was set in 1975 in a race won by Buddy Baker.(4-27-2004)

October 2010 Pole Sitter: #42-Juan Pablo Montoya, 184.640mph, finished 3rd

April 2010 Pole Sitter: none, due to inclement weather

Track/Event Qualifying Record (no restrictor plate): Bill Elliott, April 1987, 212.809mph

Track/Event Qualifying Record (Restrictor Plate): Bill Elliott, May 1990, 199.388 (15/16th inch plate)

Oldest Pole Winner: Ricky Rudd, 47 years, 7 months, 13 days, 4/25/2004

Youngest Pole Winner: Jimmie Johnson, 26 years, 7 months, 4 days, 4/21/2002

October 2010 Race Winner: #33-Clint Bowyer, 163.618mph, started 2nd

April 2010 Race Winner: #29-Kevin Harvick, 150.590mph, started 4th

Track Race Record: Mark Martin, May 1997, 188.354mph

Slowest Race Record: Jeff Gordon, April 25, 2004, 129.396mph

Worst Starting Spot to Win: Jeff Gordon, April 2000, started 36th

Oldest Race Winner: Harry Gant, 52 years, 3 months, 26 days, May 1991

Youngest Race Winner: Bobby Hillin Jr., 22 years, 1 months, 22 days, July 1986

CONCERT

Gretchen Wilson performs a free Saturday night infield concert for Talladega Superspeedway race fans. The April 16th concert will be open to all infield guests and any race fan presenting a Sunday Aaron’s 499 race ticket.

EVENTS AT THE SPEEDWAY:

Horsepower Plaza

Visit the Horsepower Plaza with company displays and vendor merchandise will be open Friday – Sunday. The Horsepower Plaza located outside of Turn 4.

Coca-Cola Family Track Walk

Saturday, April 16

Race fans, this is your chance to join Coca-Cola Racing Family members Bobby Allison, Kurt Busch, Joey Logano and Bobby Labonte on Saturday for the Coca-Cola Family Track Walk after the checkered flag waves on the Nationwide race. It’s a truly unique opportunity to walk on an actual surface fresh off 300 miles of racing. The event begins 30 minutes after the end of the Aaron’s 312. Enter the track from the frontstretch grandstands through the crossover gates at the Start/Finish line, or from the backstretch through the Allison Grandstand crossover gate.

Official Merchandise Promotion

Visit the Official Merchandise Trailers at Talladega Superspeedway for a special Fan Appreciation Offer. Anyone who spends $80 or more will receive $10 off their purchase. Visit any of the Official Merchandise Trailers or the Merchandise Store inside the Internation Motorsports Hall of Fame & Museum during the race weekend. Limit one discount per customer.

Miller Lite Inside Track Bar

Friday – Sunday

The Miller Lite Inside Track Bar is a great place to meet up with friends in the infield – at the intersection of Talladega Blvd and Eastaboga Blvd.

Hours:

Friday, April 15 - 10 am – 2 am

Saturday, April 16 - 11 am - 2 am

Sunday, April 17 - 10 am – 3 pm

SPEED TV LIVE Show Tapings

Friday, April 15 –  Sunday, April 17

Everyone has seen race fans in the audience at a live taping on the SPEED Stage. SPEED TV will be set up all weekend during the Aaron’s Dream weekend broadcasting LIVE front Talladega Superspeedway. Here is a complete list of the shows and when they are taping at the SPEED Stage during the race weekend. The SPEED Stage is located on the outside of Turn 4 are on the Frontstretch. Look for the SPEED Tower!

Stage Opens – 9:00 AM – SPEED games and activities all day!

TRACKSIDE LIVE
6:00 – 7:00 PM
Hosted by Steve Byrnes, Darrell Waltrip, Jeff Hammond, Rutledge Wood & Special Guests
Saturday, April 16th
Stage Opens - 9:30 AM – SPEED games and activities all day!
Sunday, April 17th
Stage Opens – 7:00 AM – SPEED games and activities all day!
NASCAR RaceDay - 9:00 – 11:00 AM – Hosted by John Roberts, Kenny Wallace, Kyle Petty, Wendy Venturini & Hermie Sadler

Concerts in The Campgrounds presented by Motor Racing Outreach

Friday, April 15 & Saturday, April 16 - 8:00 pm – 11:00 pm

Concerts in the campgrounds are open to the overnight park customers.

After some great days of racing action, fan can enjoy concerts at night from local bands in the following locations:

West Park B Reserved Park – Who So Ever

Reserved Family Park – The River

West Park C FREE Camping – Cross Country

North Park FREE Camping – Trackside

DRIVER APPEARANCES/AUTOGRAPH SESSIONS

Friday, April 15

ARCA Racing Series Autograph Session

The drivers from the 3 Amigos 250 ARCA Racing Series presented by Menards will be having an autograph session on Friday, April 15 in the ARCA Series garage from 11:30 am to 12:30 pm. Drivers from the series will be available for autographs at their haulers during this time.

The garage will be open for all infield campers and any race fan with a Friday infield admission. Drinks will be permitted in the garage area, but no glass containers or coolers will be allowed. Race fans of all ages are welcome to attend.

Trams will transport guests from designated pick-up point on the infield road course and take them to the entrance of the ARCA garage. The same trams will return guest at the conclusion of the walkthrough.

1:00pm local time

Tim George & Ty Dillon

Scheduled to appear for a question-and-answer session with race fans on the Chevrolet Stage located in the midway at Talladega Superspeedway.

NASCAR Nationwide Series Autograph Session

The NASCAR Nationwide Series Autograph Session will be on Friday, April 15th from 2:00 – 3:00 pm in the concourse area behind O.V. Hill South Grandstand, Sections D & E.

Fans will need to have a Friday General Admission grandstand ticket to attend the autograph session.

Pick up your wristbands before the session at the main Guest Services Office located at O.V. Hill South Grandstand, Section L. Guests that do not have wristbands can still wait in line but are not guaranteed autographs due to time constraints.

PRE-RACE PIT PASS INFORMATION for Sunday, April 17

Pre-Race Pit Passes are $50 and anyone with Tower seating or in Gecko Frontrunner Club I and II can purchase the Pre-Race Pit Pass.

TALLADEGA HELP LINE

To access Talladega Superspeedway’s 24-hour Security Hotline in case of emergency or in need of service assistance, you can simply call 256-761-4877.

Text-message based communication system in the grandstands: Simply text:  TSSFAN  <space>  your issue/need & your current location to: 69050 Text Service is 8am-8pm CST only.

Note: Standard SMS rates apply.

To purchase or for more information on tickets to Talladega Superspeedway, please visit www.talladegasuperspeedway.com or call 1-877-Go2-DEGA.