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Today’s Cup race at Talladega: Start time, weather, TV/radio info

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While the focus is on Dale Earnhardt Jr. as he makes his final Cup start at Talladega Superspeedway, there’s still a playoff race taking place in the Alabama 500, the middle event of the Round of 12.

Ford has won all three restrictor-plate races this year. Ricky Stenhouse Jr. won at Daytona in July and Talladega in May. Kurt Busch won the Daytona 500. Fords also won the last three restrictor-plate races of last season with Joey Logano and Brad Keselowski.

Here are the details for today’s race:

(All times are Eastern):

START: Alabama Gov. Kay Ivey will give the command to start engines at 2:01 p.m. Green flag is set for 2:13 p.m.

DISTANCE: The race is scheduled for 188 laps (500 miles) around the 2.66-mile speedway.

STAGES: Stage 1 ends on Lap 55. Stage 2 ends on Lap 110.

PRERACE SCHEDULE: The Cup garage opens at 9:30 a.m. The driver/crew chief meeting is at noon. Driver introductions are at 1:20 p.m.

NATIONAL ANTHEM: The 313th United State Army Bad will perform the anthem at 1:55 p.m.

TV/RADIO: NBC will broadcast the race at 2 p.m. Coverage begins at 1 p.m. on NBCSN with NASCAR America, followed by Countdown to Green at 1:30 p.m. on NBC. The Motor Racing Network radio broadcast begins at 1 p.m. at mrn.com and affiliates. SiriusXM NASCAR Radio will carry the MRN broadcast.

FORECAST: The wunderground.com site predicts a temperature of 82 degrees and a 15 percent chance of rain at race time.

LAST TIME: Ricky Stenhouse Jr. won the race in May. Jamie McMurray placed second. Kyle Busch finished third. In this race last year, Joey Logano led the final 45 laps to win. He was followed by Brian Scott and Denny Hamlin.

STARTING LINEUP: Click here for starting lineup

Preliminary entry lists for NASCAR at Talladega

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NASCAR makes its return trip to Talladega Superspeedway this weekend with the Cup and Camping World Truck Series.

The Xfinity Series is off this week.

The Cup Series holds the Alabama 500, the second race of the Round of 12 in the playoffs. The Truck Series competes in the Fred’s 250, its first playoff elimination race.

Here are the entry lists for both races.

Cup – Alabama 500

Forty cars are entered.

J.J. Yeley will driver the No. 7 Chevrolet for Tommy Baldwin Racing. Brendan Gaughan is entered in the No. 75 Chevrolet for Beard Motorsports.

Ricky Stenhouse Jr. won the last race at Talladega in May after a last-lap pass of Kyle Busch. He beat Jamie McMurray and Busch to the finish.

This race was won last year by Joey Logano after he led 45 laps. He beat Brian Scott and Denny Hamlin.

Click here for the entry list.

Trucks – Fred’s 250

There are 32 trucks entered. No full-time Cup drivers are entered.

This race was won last year by Alabama native Grant Enfinger, who led 45 of that race’s 94 laps.

He beat Spencer Gallagher, Timothy Peters and Rico Abreu.

Click here for the entry list.

Today’s Cup race at Talladega: Start time, weather, TV/radio info

Photo by Jared C. Tilton/Getty Images
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NASCAR heads to Alabama for its second of four restrictor-plate races this season. Can Dale Earnhardt Jr. score his seventh career win at Talladega? Can Team Penske score its fourth consecutive Talladega win? Or will there be a new winner? Those are among the questions that will be answered today.

Here are the particulars for the race:

 (All times are ET)

START: Frank Pickering, assistant VP of Southeast Claims for GEICO, will give the command for drivers to start engines at 2:07 p.m. The green flag is scheduled for 2:19 p.m.

DISTANCE: The race is scheduled for 188 laps (500 miles) around the 2.66-mile track.

STAGES: Stage 1 ends on Lap 55. Stage 2 ends on Lap 110.

PRERACE SCHEDULE: The Cup garage opens at 9:30 a.m. The drivers meeting is at noon. Driver introductions are at 1:20 p.m.

NATIONAL ANTHEM: The 313th U.S. Army Band will perform the Anthem at 2:01 p.m.

TV/RADIO: Fox will broadcast the race at 2 p.m. with its coverage beginning at 1:30 p.m. Motor Racing Network will broadcast the race on radio and at mrn.com. MRN’s coverage begins at 1 p.m. SiriusXM NASCAR Radio will carry MRN’s broadcast.

FORECAST: The wunderground.com site predicts 68 degrees at race time with a zero percent chance of rain.

LAST YEAR: Brad Keselowski led 46 of 188 laps to win this event last year. Kyle Busch placed second and Austin Dillon third.

LAST TIMEJoey Logano led the final 45 laps to earn the victory in October. Brian Scott placed second and Denny Hamlin third.

STARTING LINEUP: Click here for Cup starting lineup

Brian Scott gives update on his new job, life after retiring from racing

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If you were worried about what would happen to Brian Scott after his retirement from NASCAR racing, you need not fear.

Scott already has a new job one month after his last Premier Series race at Homestead-Miami Speedway.

The former Richard Petty Motorsports driver is staying close to the world of cars. Scott now has a desk at Rimz One, a company that sells tires, wheels and other car accessories.

Scott made 53 Cup Series starts in four years and was a Xfinity Series regular for six seasons. Now the native of Boise, Idaho, is taking advantage of the more flexible schedule that comes with no longer being a NASCAR driver.

A few days ago Scott finally achieved a dream he started pursuing in 2004 before he went after his racing career. After mastering race tracks, Scott will now try to tame the sky.

Oh, and Scott also had a close encounter with a Lemur.

NASCAR celebrates Jimmie Johnson’s seventh championship

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NASCAR’s 2016 Sprint Cup season closed with a mix of poignant moments, humor and a celebration of one of the greatest drivers in the sport’s history who declared he’s no Richard Petty or Dale Earnhardt.

Jimmie Johnson ended his six-minute speech in Friday night’s Sprint Cup Awards at Wynn Las Vegas by harkening to a quote from Dale Earnhardt after Earnhardt tied Richard Petty with seven championships in 1994: “I might have won as many championships as Richard Petty but he will always be the King.’’

Then Johnson said: “I completely agree and must say I might have won as many championships as Richard Petty and Dale Earnhardt, but I will never be the King or the Intimidator. I’m just a guy from California who always wanted to race. Thank you all and have a great night.’’

Johnson’s speech ended the formal celebration of his seventh championship, which included 23-time gold medalist Michael Phelps introducing Johnson and fellow drivers congratulating Johnson throughout the 3-hour, 31-minute program.

But Johnson had to share the spotlight on this night. The sport also celebrated Tony Stewart’s retirement from the series as a driver.

A night after drivers roasted Stewart at the “After the Lap” event, drivers had a bit more fun in a video clip for Stewart. Kyle Busch later jokingly thanked Stewart for preparing car owner Joe Gibbs for Busch’s arrival, noting the headaches both have caused the owner through the years.

NASCAR surprised Stewart by having Pearl Jam’s Eddie Vedder appear and speak about his friend. Then NASCAR surprised Vedder by announcing a $1.8 million donation on Stewart’s behalf to the EB Research Partnership, which was co-founded by Vedder to find a cure for Epidermolysis Bullosa, a devastating skin disorder.

This also was a night that NASCAR said farewell to Sprint as series sponsor. Monster Energy becomes the entitlement sponsor next season.

And Dale Earnhardt Jr. was awarded his 14th consecutive NMPA Most Popular Driver Award. After winning the award, Earnhardt confirmed he’ll wed Amy Reimann on Dec. 31.

The night also had its fun moments, from Denny Hamlin stating on stage: “I got to pee so bad. We’ve got to get this over with. It’s bad you all, I’m telling you.’’

Among host Jay Mohr’s better lines was one about Joey Logano, saying to the driver “you finished first at Talladega, which is amazing. Your jack finished 12th.’’

Mohr also made fun of Stewart’s retirement, saying: “Biggest story this season in NASCAR, in my opinion, was the retirement of a NASCAR icon, a superstar, a NASCAR legend. Brian Scott.’’

In the end, the focus turned to Johnson and all that he has accomplished.

“It’s an amazing task to just win one, let alone seven (championships),’’ Kurt Busch said. “Names like Richard Petty and Dale Earnhardt. When you say names like those, you think of their amazing accomplishments and contributions to NASCAR racing. Welcome to that club Jimmie.’’