Talladega Superspeedway hosts a NASCAR doubleheader weekend with the Monster Energy Cup Series and Gander Outdoors Truck Series in action.
Sunday’s 1000Bulbs.com 500 is the second race in the Round of 12 for the Cup Series Playoffs. Kyle Larson advanced to the Round of 8 with his Dover win a week ago. Coming into Talladega, Joey Logano, Clint Bowyer, Chase Elliott and Ryan Blaney are the four drivers below the cutline on the Playoff grid.
Elliott won at Talladega in May and after his engine expired only eight laps into last week’s Dover race.
“It didn’t really seem like anything was off, we were just kind of making laps and then obviously had a failure,” Elliott explained after his Dover early exit. “It’s an unfortunate way to start this round, for sure.”
The Hendrick Motorsports driver is approaching the next two races of this round as “must win” opportunities
“If you ever make it to Homestead, you’re going to have to win down there,” he said. “I guess it’s a good opportunity to practice here these next few weeks.”
Logano had an axle problem before the race even began at Dover. He was more than 20 laps down before returning to the track and raced hard to gain as many possible points available. He’ll need a better performance at Talladega, where he’s won three times to keep his playoff hopes alive.
“I’m still racing. I ran as hard as I could this whole race,” Logano said after Dover. “I don’t have anything to show for it, but we ran as hard as we could. We ran it as if we were on the lead lap and did everything we possibly could to be better. We’ll have to keep pushing forward to gain as many points as possible these next two races.”
After three straight off weeks, the NASCAR Gander Outdoors Trucks Series begins the Round of 6 at Talladega Superspeedway this Saturday with the Sugarlands Shine 250.
Brett Moffitt came out of Las Vegas as the top seed moving into the next round and has 3,034 points with the reset. Austin Hill, the winner from Las Vegas, trails him by 17 points at 3,017 points, while Ross Chastain is just one more point back with 3,016 points. Stewart Friesen is fourth with 3,014 points.
Matt Crafton (3,011 points) and Tyler Ankrum (3,005 points) round out the group of six drivers who will battle over the next three races for the shot at the title in Miami.
“With the season winding down the pressure is on to perform, and this weekend at Talladega will be a true test,” Moffitt said. “Historically, superspeedway racing has not been my friend, but we had a really fast truck at Daytona in February and Jerry (Baxter, crew chief) won Talladega last year for GMS so I’m confident going into this weekend’s race.
“I just have to be patient and let things shake out and hope we’re around at the end to show what we got. We have a decent points lead right now, we just need to be smart and hopefully we can improve on that. It would be great to come out of the weekend with a win and lock ourselves into the Championship 4 in Miami, but ultimately it’s about survival.”