Cut To The Chase: Talladega

RacingOne breaks down each of the 2006 "Chase for the NEXTEL Cup" competitor's performances at Talladega Superspeedway with comprehensive statistics and notes by driver.

Note: All stat charts do not reflect races completed in the "Chase" unless noted.

1. Jeff Burton
Points Behind: 5511
Best Chase Track by Average: Phoenix
Total Wins on Chase Tracks: 11 (Including Dover 2006)
Total DNFs on Chase Tracks: 24
Average Talladega Finish Rank Among Chase Drivers: Sixth

Jeff Burton has raced in 52 restrictor-plate races, including the 2000 New Hampshire event when he led every lap. Burton has run 25 of the events at Talladega Superspeedway where he has captured two top fives and nine top-10 finishes. His fourth-place finish in the spring race was his first top five and second top 10 in four track starts with Richard Childress Racing. The 2004 fall race marked Burton's first race at Talladega with RCR. He led six laps in that event and ran in the lead pack until he broke a valve in the engine with five laps to go, relegating him to a 13th-place finish. Burton's worst finish with RCR at Talladega came in this event last year when he ended with a DNF in the 35th position. The No. 31 Cingular team will bring chassis No. 135 to Talladega as the primary car. This is the same car that won the pole for the Daytona 500 and has raced in every plate event in 2006.

Track
Starts
Poles
Wins
Avg. Start
Avg. Finish
Laps Led
% Completed
DNFs
New Hamphsire
23
0
4
19.6
13.5
642
92.1
3
Dover
25
0
0
25.4
18.1
121
84.8
5
Kansas
5
0
0
26.2
19.2
4
96.6
1
Talladega
25
0
0
24.9
17.6
50
90.3
4
Charlotte
25
0
2
24.1
15.8
369
92.8
4
Martinsville
24
0
1
16.9
14.3
574
92.5
3
Atlanta
24
0
0
27.5
18.0
101
93.1
3
Texas
11
0
1
27.2
17.5
145
96.1
1
Phoenix
14
0
2
23.5
11.6
215
99.6
0
Homestead
7
0
0
24.3
13.7
5
97.7
0
Totals
183
0
10
24.0
15.9
2226
93.6
24


2. Denny Hamlin
Points Behind: -69
Best Chase Track by Average: Texas
Total Wins on Chase Tracks: 0
Total DNFs on Chase Tracks: 0
Average Talladega Finish Rank Among Chase Drivers: Eighth

Since winning the Budweiser Shootout at Daytona, Denny Hamlin has yet to score a top 10 in three restrictor-plate races. Hamlin's best effort on a plate track came in the Pepsi 400 when he finished 17th. This weekend Hamlin will be behind the wheel of the same car (chassis No. 90) that finished 30th in the Daytona 500 after getting caught up in a late-race wreck. The Talladega spring race was the site of Hamlin's only lap led in Cup restrictor-plate competition (points paying).

Track
Starts
Poles
Wins
Avg. Start
Avg. Finish
Laps Led
% Completed
DNFs
New Hamphsire
1
0
0
12.0
6.0
1
100.0
0
Dover
1
0
0
7.0
11.0
0
100.0
0
Kansas
1
0
0
7.0
32.0
0
99.3
0
Talladega
1
0
0
30.0
22.0
1
99.5
0
Charlotte
2
0
0
23.5
8.5
26
100.0
0
Martinsville
2
0
0
23.0
22.5
0
80.7
0
Atlanta
2
0
0
16.0
25.0
16
99.5
0
Texas
2
0
0
11.0
5.5
41
100.0
0
Phoenix
2
1
0
3.5
23.5
23
96.3
0
Homestead
1
0
0
42.0
33.0
1
98.5
0
Totals
15
1
0
17.5
18.9
109
97.4
0


3. Mark Martin
Points Behind: -70
Best Chase Track by Average: Phoenix
Total Wins on Chase Tracks: 17
Total DNFs on Chase Tracks: 48
Average Talladega Finish Rank Among Chase Drivers: Fourth

Two-time Talladega winner Mark Martin still holds the race record at 188.354 mph (2:39:18) with his victory on May 10, 1997. Martin, who has finished 33rd or worse in his last three Talladega starts, currently holds the record for most top 10s in restrictor-plate races with 34 in 75 events. Martin's last top-10 finish at Talladega came in the spring race in 2004 when he started sixth and led six laps before finishing sixth. His average finish in 41 starts at the 2.66-mile superspeedway is 15.7. The No. 6 AAA Team will bring the same car (RK-337) to the track this weekend that opened the season with a seventh-place finish in the Bud Shootout at Daytona. This is also the same car that finished 35th in the spring at Talladega after being involved in an accident.

Track
Starts
Poles
Wins
Avg. Start
Avg. Finish
Laps Led
% Completed
DNFs
New Hamphsire
23
2
0
14.4
11.0
395
99.7
0
Dover
40
4
4
10.0
13.0
1700
88.6
9
Kansas
5
0
1
21.4
14.4
141
98.7
1
Talladega
41
2
2
14.0
15.7
313
90.7
5
Charlotte
43
2
4
11.1
15.9
1168
87.7
12
Martinsville
41
3
2
13.2
13.2
318
93.7
6
Atlanta
41
1
2
10.4
15.7
924
87.4
12
Texas
11
0
1
12.0
13.5
169
92.5
1
Phoenix
20
0
1
11.4
9.4
582
97.5
1
Homestead
7
0
0
18.0
11.6
30
98.7
1
Totals
272
14
17
13.6
13.3
5740
93.5
48


4. Matt Kenseth
Points Behind: -84
Best Chase Track by Average: New Hampshire
Total Wins on Chase Tracks: 4
Total DNFs on Chase Tracks: 20
Average Talladega Finish Rank Among Chase Drivers: Fifth

Matt Kenseth captured his best finish (third) at Talladega Superspeedway in 13 starts in this event last year. This spring he finished sixth for his fifth top 10. Kenseth led at least one lap in his first eight starts for an overall total of 61 and then led an additional 23 in each of the last two races. He will be driving the same car (chassis No. RK-271) that raced in the last three events at Talladega.

Track
Starts
Poles
Wins
Avg. Start
Avg. Finish
Laps Led
% Completed
DNFs
New Hamphsire
13
0
0
16.9
10.9
85
99.9
0
Dover
15
1
1
17.5
15.1
142
95.8
3
Kansas
5
1
0
18.6
19.4
85
94.3
1
Talladega
13
0
0
25.8
16.4
107
93.1
2
Charlotte
14
0
1
22.9
14.9
168
93.0
3
Martinsville
13
0
0
24.5
17.2
59
98.4
2
Atlanta
13
0
0
25.5
17.5
49
91.7
3
Texas
8
0
1
20.1
12.1
313
98.1
1
Phoenix
8
0
1
21.0
20.8
60
82.2
3
Homestead
6
0
0
26.0
25.5
0
82.1
2
Totals
108
2
4
21.9
17.0
1068
92.9
20


5. Kevin Harvick
Points: -96
Best Chase Track by Average: Homestead
Total Wins on Chase Tracks: 3 (Including New Hampshire 2006)
Total DNFs on Chase Tracks: 5
Average Talladega Finish Rank Among Chase Drivers: Second

Kevin Harvick currently holds the longest streak without a DNF at Talladega Superspeedway at 11 races. In fact, he has only scored one DNF in 22 restrictor-plate races. Harvick, who has two runner-up finishes at Talladega, finished 23rd in the spring race after being black-flagged from prior damage. It was his worst plate finish of 2006. Harvick's best qualifying effort at Talladega came in the 2005 spring race when he won the pole. In that event he led 12 laps and finished 12th snapping a four-race streak of finishes of seventh or better. Last year in this event, Harvick finished 10th and led six laps, marking the seventh consecutive race he led laps at the track. This weekend, Harvick will be behind the wheel of the same car (chassis No. 087) that he raced at Talladega in the spring.

Track
Starts
Poles
Wins
Avg. Start
Avg. Finish
Laps Led
% Completed
DNFs
New Hamphsire
11
0
0
15.3
13.7
68
99.8
0
Dover
11
0
0
19.0
16.3
133
99.4
0
Kansas
5
0
0
22.8
18.4
49
91.9
1
Talladega
11
1
0
18.8
14.4
54
99.5
0
Charlotte
11
0
0
18.6
20.4
2
94.6
1
Martinsville
10
0
0
18.1
19.1
147
97.7
0
Atlanta
11
1
1
17.2
24.6
59
95.7
3
Texas
7
0
0
23.1
13.4
4
99.8
0
Phoenix
7
0
1
16.1
16.4
10
99.2
0
Homestead
5
0
0
15.6
9.4
59
100.0
0
Totals
89
2
2
18.5
16.6
585
97.8
5


6. Jeff Gordon
Points Behind: -120
Best Chase Track by Average: Kansas
Total Wins on Chase Tracks: 28
Total DNFs on Chase Tracks: 28
Average Talladega Finish Rank Among Chase Drivers: Third

Jeff Gordon led a race high 62 laps in the spring race at Talladega Superspeedway. He appeared to be in contention for the win, but was shuffled out of the lead draft with two laps to go and went from possibly winning his third straight Talladega spring race to a 15th-place finish. Overall, Gordon has a 15.1 average finish, four victories, 14 top 10s and has led 702 laps at Talladega. He currently leads all active drivers in wins on plate tracks with 10. Last fall at Talladega, Gordon finished 37th ending a string of six consecutive races in which he led a lap, with the most being 139 in the 2005 spring race.

Track
Starts
Poles
Wins
Avg. Start
Avg. Finish
Laps Led
% Completed
DNFs
New Hamphsire
23
3
3
10.0
12.8
1070
97.2
2
Dover
27
2
4
9.9
12.9
2198
92.2
5
Kansas
5
0
2
10.4
6.0
169
100.0
0
Talladega
27
0
4
11.4
15.1
702
91.5
6
Charlotte
27
7
4
8.0
16.2
458
93.5
7
Martinsville
27
5
7
7.3
7.6
2041
99.1
0
Atlanta
28
1
4
14.1
13.6
976
90.2
5
Texas
11
0
0
11.0
17.5
133
87.7
2
Phoenix
15
1
0
10.3
8.9
191
97.4
1
Homestead
7
0
0
15.4
9.6
46
99.8
0
Totals
197
19
28
10.8
12.0
7984
94.9
28


7. Dale Earnhardt Jr.
Points Behind: -123
Best Chase Track by Average: Texas
Total Wins on Chase Tracks: 10
Total DNFs on Chase Tracks: 17
Average Talladega Finish Rank Among Chase Drivers: First

Although Dale Earnhardt Jr. hasn't finished a race in his last two starts at Talladega Superspeedway, his track record speaks for itself. From this event in 2001 through 2004, Earnhardt Jr. mastered Talladega scoring five wins - including four straight - and two runner-up finishes. His 40th-place finish in the 2005 fall event was his worst at the track since placing 42nd in his first start in 2000. Junior has the best finishing average (12.5) among all active drivers on restrictor-plate tracks and the third best (12.2) at Talladega. In 13 starts at the Alabama track, Earnhardt has led in 11 races, including 10 consecutive from 10/15/2000 - 05/01/2005, for a total of 500 laps. He will drive the same car (chassis No. 25) that finished eighth in the Daytona 500 and 31st in the spring race at Talladega after leading eight laps.

Track
Starts
Poles
Wins
Avg. Start
Avg. Finish
Laps Led
% Completed
DNFs
New Hamphsire
14
0
0
16.3
18.9
175
89.1
3
Dover
13
0
1
11.7
15.9
366
98.8
1
Kansas
5
1
0
14.4
20.0
22
96.9
1
Talladega
13
0
5
15.2
12.2
500
88.4
3
Charlotte
14
1
0
15.4
18.4
198
92.7
3
Martinsville
13
0
0
12.8
14.4
451
97.6
2
Atlanta
14
1
1
15.7
11.9
475
99.1
1
Texas
8
1
1
8.5
10.8
253
94.7
1
Phoenix
8
0
2
15.1
17.2
310
90.9
2
Homestead
6
0
0
20.8
19.2
46
99.7
0
Totals
108
4
10
14.6
15.9
2796
94.8
17


8. Jimmie Johnson
Points Behind: -165
Best Chase Track by Average: Charlotte
Total Wins on Chase Tracks: 13
Total DNFs on Chase Tracks: 11
Average Talladega Finish Rank Among Chase Drivers: Seventh

Jimmie Johnson won his first race at Talladega Superspeedway in the spring after starting 16th. The win was his third top 10 in nine starts. It was also his second plate win of 2006 after winning the Daytona 500. In 2002, Johnson won his second of nine career poles in his first race at the 2.66-mile superspeedway. Later that season at Talladega, he took the top spot after rain washed out qualifying for his second of seven top-10 starts at the track. In the 2004 Talladega fall event, Johnson equaled his worst finish (37th) after the engine overheated from a collision on pit road. Over the last seven races Johnson has led in every race adding to his 162 laps led at Talladega. With Johnson's Daytona 500 winning car currently sitting in Daytona USA, he will be driving the same chassis (No. 48383) that debuted with a win at Talladega earlier this year.

Track
Starts
Poles
Wins
Avg. Start
Avg. Finish
Laps Led
% Completed
DNFs
New Hamphsire
9
0
2
8.7
8.7
73
100.0
0
Dover
9
0
3
12.1
11.2
553
95.0
2
Kansas
4
1
0
7.2
13.8
21
97.3
1
Talladega
9
1
1
7.4
20.7
162
93.1
4
Charlotte
10
2
5
8.0
6.2
884
96.0
1
Martinsville
9
1
1
13.8
7.9
366
98.8
1
Atlanta
10
0
1
9.8
11.8
176
99.3
1
Texas
6
0
0
11.7
7.0
2
100.0
0
Phoenix
6
0
0
12.8
8.7
85
100.0
0
Homestead
5
0
0
25.4
15.6
34
89.3
1
Totals
77
5
13
11.7
11.2
2356
96.9
11


9. Kyle Busch
Points Behind: -233
Best Chase Track by Average: Dover
Total Wins on Chase Tracks: 2
Total DNFs on Chase Tracks: 8
Average Talladega Finish Rank Among Chase Drivers: 10th

Kyle Busch's second-place finish at Daytona in July is his only top 20 in seven starts on restrictor-plate tracks. His best effort in three starts at Talladega Superspeedway came this year when he finished 32nd. It marked the first time Busch was able to finish a race at the 2.66-mile track after a crash and an engine, respectively, took him out in his first two starts. Busch, who has the worst average finish among the "Chase" contenders, has yet to lead a lap in restrictor-plate competition.

Track
Starts
Poles
Wins
Avg. Start
Avg. Finish
Laps Led
% Completed
DNFs
New Hamphsire
3
0
1
13.7
10.7
107
99.9
0
Dover
3
0
0
18.3
3.0
112
100.0
0
Kansas
2
0
0
27.5
29.0
0
75.5
0
Talladega
3
0
0
20.3
35.3
0
74.8
2
Charlotte
5
0
0
22.4
33.6
62
81.2
3
Martinsville
3
0
0
20.3
17.7
0
86.9
1
Atlanta
4
0
0
23.5
19.8
4
78.4
1
Texas
3
0
0
28.3
25.3
0
99.1
0
Phoenix
3
1
1
14.3
15.0
78
94.3
0
Homestead
1
0
0
4.0
41.0
0
43.1
1
Totals
30
1
2
19.3
23.0
363
83.3
8


10. Kasey Kahne
Points Behind: -279
Best Chase Track by Average: Atlanta
Total Wins on Chase Tracks: 3
Total DNFs on Chase Tracks: 11
Average Talladega Finish Rank Among Chase Drivers: Ninth

Kasey Kahne has yet to post a top-10 finish in five starts at Talladega Superspeedway. His best finish of 13th - and only top 20 - came last fall. This weekend Kahne will be behind the wheel of a brand new chassis (No. 141) in the UAW-Ford 500 as he seeks his first top 10 in his 12th restrictor-plate race.

Track
Starts
Poles
Wins
Avg. Start
Avg. Finish
Laps Led
% Completed
DNFs
New Hamphsire
5
0
0
10.4
12.8
49
91.0
1
Dover
5
0
0
15.2
24.2
36
73.9
3
Kansas
2
0
0
22.0
15.5
39
100.0
0
Talladega
5
0
0
26.6
26.6
0
75.5
1
Charlotte
5
0
1
13.4
18.8
416
96.2
1
Martinsville
5
0
0
25.4
17.6
18
94.9
1
Atlanta
5
1
1
11.2
9.8
89
97.0
1
Texas
4
1
1
5.5
20.0
211
81.4
2
Phoenix
4
0
0
15.5
13.8
0
99.9
0
Homestead
2
0
0
3.5
27.0
0
85.3
1
Totals
42
2
3
14.9
18.6
858
89.5
11


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