Talladega Notes & Facts: Drivers, history, poles and top-10 ratings

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In order to help you enjoy Sunday’s Geico 500 at Talladega Superspeedway, we’re passing along some of the most noteworthy bits of information and history of the celebrated 2.66-mile track.

Talladega Superspeedway Notes & Facts – Drivers:

· 439 drivers have competed in at least one NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race at Talladega; 302 in more than one.

· Dave Marcis and Terry Labonte lead the series in starts at Talladega with 61 each. Jeff Gordon leads all active drivers with 44 starts; followed by Tony Stewart with 31.

· 44 different drivers have won at Talladega Superspeedway, led by Dale Earnhardt with 10. Jeff Gordon leads all active drivers with six.

· Buddy Baker and Tony Stewart are tied for most runner-up finishes at Talladega with six each.

· NASCAR Hall of Famer Dale Earnhardt leads the series in top-five finishes at Talladega with 23. Jeff Gordon leads all active drivers with 15.

· Dale Earnhardt leads the series in top-10 finishes at Talladega with 27. Jeff Gordon leads all active drivers with 19.

· Jimmie Johnson leads all active drivers in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series in average starting position at Talladega with a 10.192.

· Clint Bowyer leads all active drivers in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series in average finishing position at Talladega with a 14.444.

· Jamie McMurray (10/06/2002) made his series debut at Talladega Superspeedway.

· Brian Scott (05/04/2014), David Gilliland (10/08/2006) and Travis Kvapil (10/05/2008) posted their first NASCAR Sprint Cup Series poles at Talladega.

· 2012 series champion Brad Keselowski (04/26/2009) and Brian Vickers (10/08/2006) posted their first Cup wins at Talladega.

· Nine Cup drivers have posted consecutive wins at Talladega; Dale Earnhardt Jr. leads the series in consecutive wins at Talladega after posting four straight from the fall of 2001 – 2003.

· Brad Keselowski is the only active series driver to win at Talladega in his first appearance.

· Matt Kenseth competed at Talladega 25 times before winning the fall of 2012; the longest span of any the 12 active NASCAR Sprint Cup Series winners.

· Matt Kenseth (25), Tony Stewart (19), Kevin Harvick (18), and David Ragan (12) all made 10 or more attempts before their first win at Talladega.

· Kurt Busch leads the series among active drivers with the most Cup starts at Talladega without visiting Victory Lane at 28. Ryan Newman is next with 26.

· Jeff Gordon leads active Cup drivers in laps led at Talladega with 847 laps led in 44 starts.

· Three female drivers have competed at Talladega in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series: Janet Guthrie, Patty Moise and Danica Patrick.

Talladega Superspeedway Notes & Facts – History:

· Construction began on what was then known as the Alabama International Motor Speedway on May 23, 1968.

· The first NASCAR Sprint Cup race was held on Sept. 14, 1969 – won by Richard Brickhouse.

· The name changed to Talladega Superspeedway in 1989.

· Fourth repaving completed on Sept. 19, 2006.

Talladega Superspeedway Notes & Facts – Poles:

· Bobby Isaac won the inaugural Coors Light pole at Talladega in 1969 with a speed of 199.466 mph. Isaac won the first three poles at the 2.66-mile superspeedway.

· 38 drivers have Coors Light poles at Talladega, led by Bill Elliott with eight. Jeff Gordon leads all active drivers with three.

· 10 drivers have won consecutive Coors Light poles at Talladega. Bill Elliott holds the record for most consecutive poles at Talladega with six (1985 – 1987).

· 13 of the 91 (14.2%) NASCAR Sprint Cup Series races at Talladega have been won from the Coors Light pole. Jeff Gordon (2007) is the only active driver to be able to accomplish the feat.

· The outside front row (second-place) starting position is the most proficient starting position in the field, producing more winners (20) than any other starting position at Talladega.

· 33 of the 91 (36.2%) NASCAR Sprint Cup Series races at Talladega have been won from the front row: 13 from the pole and 20 from second-place.

· 63 of the 91 (69.2%) NASCAR Sprint Cup races at Talladega have been won from a top-10 starting position.

· 8 of the 91 (8.7%) NASCAR Sprint Cup Series races at Talladega have been won from a starting position outside the top 20.

· The deepest in the field that a race winner has started at Talladega was 36th, by Jeff Gordon in the spring of 2000.

· Qualifying has been cancelled due to weather conditions in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series at Talladega Superspeedway five times; most recently fall of 2013.

Top 10 Driver Ratings at Talladega Superspeedway:

#42-Kyle Larson 95.6
#88-Dale Earnhardt Jr. 90.7
#20-Matt Kenseth 89.9
#41-Kurt Busch 88.3
#48-Jimmie Johnson 87.5
#17-Ricky Stenhouse Jr. 85.0
#55-Brian Vickers 84.0
#2-Brad Keselowski 82.9
#22-Joey Logano 82.2
#11-Denny Hamlin 82.0

Note: Driver Ratings compiled from 2005-2014 races (20 total) among active drivers at Talladega Superspeedway. Formula combining the following categories: Win, Finish, Top-15 Finish, Average Running Position while on Lead Lap, Average Speed Under Green, Fastest Lap, Led Most Laps, Lead-Lap Finish. Maximum: 150 points per race.

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Miami Championship Weekend schedule

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The NASCAR season ends this weekend with the championship races for the Cup, Xfinity and Gander Outdoors Truck Series at Homestead-Miami Speedway. (Watch Sunday at 3 pm on NBC or the NBC Sports app.)

Three drivers will leave the 1.5-mile track as champions.

For Friday, wunderground.com forecasts a temperature of 75 degrees, partly cloudy skies and a 14% chance of race for the start of the Truck Series race.

On Saturday, the forecast is for a temperature of 77 degrees, sunny skies and a 10% chance of rain for the start of the Xfinity race.

On Sunday, the forecast is for a temperature of 75 degrees, sunny skies and no chance of rain for the Cup race.

MORE: NBC to have multi-network coverage of Cup championship race

Here’s the complete weekend schedule with TV and radio info.

(All times are Eastern)

Friday, Nov. 15

7:30 a.m. – Truck Series garage opens

9:05 – 9:55 a.m. – Truck Series practice (No TV)

10:35 – 11:25 a.m. – Final Truck practice (No TV)

11 a.m. – 9 p.m. – Xfinity garage open

12:30 – 10 p.m. – Cup garage open

2:35 – 3:25 p.m. – Xfinity practice (NBCSN)

3:35 – 4:25 p.m. – Cup practice (NBCSN, Motor Racing Network)

4:35 p.m. – Truck Series qualifying; single truck/one lap (FS1)

5:35 – 6:25 p.m. – Final Xfinity practice (NBCSN)

6:15 p.m. – Truck Series driver-crew chief meeting

6:30 – 7:20 p.m. – Final Cup practice (NBCSN, MRN)

7:30 p.m. – Truck Series driver introductions

8 p.m. – Ford EcoBoost 200; 134 laps/201 miles (FS1, MRN, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio)

Saturday, Nov. 16

8 a.m. – Xfinity garage opens

9:30 a.m. – 3:30 p.m. – Cup garage open

12:35 p.m. – Xfinity qualifying; single car/one lap (NBCSN)

1:45 p.m. – Xfinity driver-crew chief meeting

2:05 p.m. – Cup qualifying/impound; single car/one lap (NBCSN, MRN, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio)

3 p.m. – Xfinity driver introductions

3:30 p.m. – Ford EcoBoost 300; 200 laps/300 miles (NBCSN, MRN, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio)

Sunday, Nov. 17

11 a.m. – Cup garage opens

1 p.m. – Driver-crew chief meeting

2:20 p.m. – Driver introductions

3 p.m. – Ford EcoBoost 400; 267 laps/400.5 miles (NBC, NBCSN, MRN, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio)

Jagger Jones earns K&N West Rookie of the Year honors

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Like grandfather, like father and now like son. Racing success is definitely a tradition in the Jones family.

Jagger Jones has followed in the shoes of his legendary grandfather Parnelli and father P.J., capturing the 2019 Sunoco K&N Pro Series West Rookie of the Year honors in the NASCAR K&N Pro Series West, it was announced Wednesday.

“(Winning Rookie of the Year) and to win races, those were our two main goals,” the youngest Jones, of Scottsdale, Arizona, said in a statement. “I think the whole season we’ve led the Rookie of the Year standings, which is pretty cool, and separated ourselves from the other rookies and got it done.”

Driving for Sunrise Ford and team owner Bob Bruncati, the 17-year-old Jones earned one win, eight top fives and 11 top 10s in the 14-race season. He also earned one pole, led 248 laps and had an average finish of 5.4. He finished second in the overall standings behind champion Derek Krause and three points ahead of third-ranked Hailie Deegan.

MORE: Parnelli Jones’ grandson Jagger set to make own racing mark in K&N debut

Brittney Zamora, driving for Bill McAnally Racing, finished second in the Rookie of the Year voting.

“McAnally versus Sunrise was definitely the race in the West competition wise,” Jones said. “To get that and finish second in the points in my rookie season, I was pretty pleased with that.”

Jones becomes the sixth Sunrise Ford Racing driver in the last 13 years to win the top rookie honors, joining Jason Bowles (2007), Luis Martinez Jr. (2010), Austin Dyne (2012), Dylan Lupton (2013) and James Bickford (2014). Bill McAnally Racing won the top rookie award in each of the last three seasons: Todd Gilliland (2016), Derek Kraus (2017) and Hailie Deegan (2018).

Sam Mayer previously won the K&N Pro Series East Sunoco Rookie of the Year award for 2019.

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Daniel Hemric, Jeb Burton to drive JR Motorsports’ No. 8 car in 2020

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JR Motorsports’ revealed Wednesday that Jeb Burton and Daniel Hemric will drive its No. 8 Chevrolet for the majority of the 2020 Xfinity Series season, in addition to one race with Dale Earnhardt Jr. behind the wheel.

Hemric, who drove Richard Childress Racing’s No. 8 car in the Cup Series this season, is scheduled for 21 races.

RCR is replacing Hemric with Tyler Reddick in 2020.

Hemric returns to the Xfinity Series, where he competed for RCR from 2017-18. He made the Championship 4 in both seasons.

“I want to thank Dale, Kelley and everyone at JR Motorsports for believing in me,” Hemric said in a press release. “For a Kannapolis (N.C.) boy like me, driving for the Earnhardt family is pretty awesome.

“My goal here is simple — to go win races for JR Motorsports and to help their program any way that I can. I’ve raced against their cars before and I know how they’re capable of running. My focus is on finishing the Cup season out strong, but once the checkered flag flies at Homestead, we’ll set our sights on getting the No. 8 car to Victory Lane early and often next season.”

Said Dale Earnhardt Jr.: “Daniel is a solid competitor with a great personality. He’ll be a quality addition to our lineup in 2020. We’re lucky to have him. I feel like he has grown as a driver from his time in the Cup Series. That will be valuable to him with this new opportunity to compete in the Xfinity series. He’s a local Kannapolis native with a lot of determination to succeed, and I’m excited to work with him.”

Burton, who has driven in six races for JRM this season, is set for 11 next year.

Other drivers who have piloted the No. 8 for JRM this season included Zane Smith (10 starts), Ryan Truex (six starts), Ryan Preece (four starts), Regan Smith (two starts), Brett Moffitt (one start), Chase Elliott (one start), Sheldon Creed (one start) and Earnhardt (one start).

 

NASCAR America presents MotorMouths airs at 5 p.m. ET on NBCSN

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Today’s edition of NASCAR America presents MotorMouths airs from 5-6 p.m. ET on NBCSN.

On the show will be Rutledge Wood, Kyle Petty, Dale Jarrett and Nate Ryan.

Obviously, the main topic of discussion will be this weekend’s championship races, particularly the Cup battle between Denny Hamlin, Martin Truex Jr., Kevin Harvick and Kyle Busch.

You can join the conversation by calling 1-844-NASCARNBC or reach out on Twitter via #LetMeSayThis.

If you can’t catch today’s show on TV, watch online at http:/nascarstream.nbcsports.com. If you plan to stream the show on your laptop or portable device, be sure to have your username and password from your cable/satellite/telco provider handy so your subscription can be verified.

Once you enter that information, you’ll have access to the stream.

Click here at 5 p.m. ET to watch live via the stream.