Test Your Talladega IQ
By: Dustin Long - @dustinlong on May 2, 2013 | 3:19 P.M. EST
Who will emerge from the pack during this weekend's return to Talladega Superspeedway and write a new chapter in the track's storied history? (Photo: Getty Images)
Talladega Superspeedway, a tempestuous track, has teased and tormented drivers and fans for years. It has provided stirring moments such as Dale Earnhardt’s dramatic win in 2000 and stunning accidents ... witness Bobby Allison’s crash in 1987.
The 2.66-mile Alabama oval continues to surprise today and as the Sprint Cup Series heads there this weekend, all is not as it seems. Whenever the Cup series races at Talladega, the focus turns to Dale Earnhardt Jr. because of his family’s rich history of success there. His father won a record 10 races and "Junior" has won five times.
But did you know ...
- That Earnhardt Jr.’s last Talladega win came in October 2004?
- The only active driver with more wins than him at Talladega is Jeff Gordon, who has six?
- Or that Gordon has not won at Talladega since sweeping both races in 2007?
And did you know ...
- Kurt Busch has finished in the top 10 in 54.2 percent of the 24 races he’s run at Talladega? That’s a higher percentage than any other active driver except Brad Keselowski, who has six top 10s in eight starts ... yet Busch has finished no better than 18th in his last five Talladega starts.
- That despite Talladega being known for close racing and numerous lead changes, five of the last six races there have had a last-lap lead change? The exception was last spring’s Aaron's 499 when winner Keselowski took the lead with two laps to go.
You may not know ...
- That although Talladega is famous for its unpredictability and how underdogs can win the race, five of the last six winners went on to finish in the top 10 in points.
- Or that 10 drivers scored their first career Cup Series win at Talladega including Keselowski, Davey Allison, Ken Schrader and Brian Vickers. Six other Talladega winners ... Richard Brickhouse, Dick Brooks, Lennie Pond, Ron Bouchard, Bobby Hillin Jr. and Phil Parsons ... never won another Cup race.
And did you know ...
- That Jeff Burton enters Talladega with a 158-race winless streak?
- But that he also has the highest driver rating (91.4) during the past eight years at Talladega? Burton has finished in the top 10 in the last three Cup races there.
- Or that Bobby Labonte is set to make his 700th career start this weekend, the 14th driver in series history to reach that mark? He will still be 485 starts behind Richard Petty’s all-time mark of 1,185.
- That eight drivers have had at least two consecutive top-10 finishes at Talladega entering this weekend, led by Gordon’s streak of four straight? And did you know that group includes David Ragan, who finished fourth and seventh in the two Talladega races last season?
Motor Racing Network - "The Voice of NASCAR" - will air live coverage of Sunday's Aaron's 499 from Talladega Superspeedway starting at 12 p.m. (ET), with live streaming at MotorRacingNetwork.com.