The Tide Returns: Matt Kenseth channels Waltrip, Rudd and Craven for Darlington scheme

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Joe Gibbs Racing has partnered with Tide to sponsor the No. 20 Toyota of Matt Kenseth for the Sept. 4 Southern 500 on NBC. Tide sponsored Darrell Waltrip, Ricky Rudd and Ricky Craven in NASCAR’s top series. The Southern 500 will mark Tide’s first time as a primary sponsor in the Sprint Cup series since 2006.

The team announced the sponsor with a car unveiling Tuesday at the NASCAR Hall of Fame in Charlotte, North Carolina. All three former Sprint Cup drivers helped unveil the car.

“Tide has such a rich history in this sport,” said Kenseth in a press release. “I can’t think of a better race to make their return to NASCAR than for the Southern 500. I’m looking forward to being a part of the second annual throwback weekend and am proud to represent such an iconic brand.”

From left: NASCAR Sprint Cup Series driver Matt Kenseth, team owner Joe Gibbs, Tide Brand Manager Amy Krehbiel, and former Tide Legend drivers Ricky Rudd, Ricky Craven and Darrell Waltrip pose for a photo in front of the newly unveiled No. 20 Tide PODS Toyota Camry paint scheme at the NASCAR Hall of Fame in Charlotte, NC Tuesday, August 16, 2016. (Jason E. Miczek/AP Images for Tide PODS)
From left: Matt Kenseth, team owner Joe Gibbs, Tide Brand Manager Amy Krehbiel, and former Tide drivers Ricky Rudd, Ricky Craven and Darrell Waltrip in front of the newly unveiled No. 20 Tide PODS Toyota Camry at the NASCAR Hall of Fame. (Jason E. Miczek/AP Images for Tide PODS)

Joe Gibbs Racing is celebrating its 25th anniversary this season, while the Tide brand celebrates its 70th.

This is a more proper throwback after Josh Wise’s car last season had the Tide colors and the right number, but not the actual sponsorship for the Southern 500.

Waltrip, Rudd and Craven all won with Tide as a sponsor. Waltrip claimed nine wins with Hendrick Motorsports, including the 1989 Daytona 500. This is the third Sprint Cup paint scheme for this year’s Southern 500 that acknowledges Waltrip’s career. The paint schemes of Ricky Stenhouse Jr. and Denny Hamlin will evoke Waltrip cars. Blake Koch in the Xfinity Series also will drive a paint scheme modeled after an old Waltrip ride.

Rudd was sponsored by Tide for nine seasons beginning in 1991 and also earned nine wins with it, including the 1997 Brickyard 400.

Ricky Craven earned both of his Sprint Cup wins with Tide, including the 2003 Carolina Dodge Dealers 400 at Darlington. That race ended with the Craven edging Kurt Busch by .002 seconds, the closest finish in NASCAR history.

MORE: Rundown of retro paint schemes for the Southern 50o

Saturday NASCAR schedule at Talladega Superspeedway

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Both the Xfinity Series and Camping World Truck Series will race Saturday at Talladega Superspeedway.

Cup cars will start the day’s action by qualifying for Sunday’s playoff race, followed by the Truck playoff race and then the Xfinity playoff race.

Talladega Superspeedway (Cup, Xfinity and Truck)

Weekend weather

Saturday: Sunny. High of 78.

Saturday, Oct. 1

(All times Eastern)

Garage open

  • 8:30 a.m. – 12:30 p.m. — Cup Series
  • 9:30 a.m. — Truck Series
  • 1 p.m. — Xfinity Series

Track activity

  • 10:30 a.m. – Noon — Cup Series qualifying (NBC Sports app, Motor Racing Network, Sirius XM NASCAR Radio)
  • 12:30 p.m. — Truck Series race (94 laps, 250 miles; FS1, Motor Racing Network, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio)
  • 4 p.m. — Xfinity Series race (113 laps, 300 miles; USA Network, Motor Racing Network, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio)

Talladega Xfinity starting lineup: Austin Hill wins pole

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TALLADEGA, Ala. — Austin Hill will lead the field to the green flag Saturday at Talladega Superspeedway after scoring his first career Xfinity Series pole.

Hill won the pole Friday with a lap of 182.036 mph. He will be joined on the front row by fellow playoff contender Ty Gibbs (181.981 mph).

MORE: Talladega Xfinity starting lineup

Playoff drivers will start in seven of the top eight spots. The exception is Sheldon Creed, who will start third after a lap of 181.870 mph. Hill and Creed give Richard Childress Racing the first and third starting spots.

Justin Allgaier (181.529) qualified fourth and Brandon Jones (181.305) completed the top five. Noah Gragson, who has won four races in a row, starts sixth after a lap of 181.134 mph and is followed by playoff drivers Josh Berry (181.052) and AJ Allmendinger (180.932).

The Xfinity Series race is scheduled for 4 p.m. ET Saturday on USA Network.

Talladega Truck starting lineup: John Hunter Nemechek wins pole

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TALLADEGA, Ala. — John Hunter Nemechek will start on the pole for Saturday’s Camping World Truck Series race.

Nemechek earned the pole with a lap of 178.767 mph.

Nemechek is one of four playoff drivers starting in the top six: Chandler Smith (second, 177.732 mph), Zane Smith (fourth, 177.061) and Ty Majeski (sixth, 176.744). Majeski clinched a spot in next month’s championship race at Phoenix with his Bristol win.

MORE: Talladega Truck starting lineup

Also qualifying in the top five were Carson Hocevar (177.068) in third and Matt Crafton (176.960) in fifth.

Failing to qualify are Tim Viens, Spencer Boyd, Jason White and Natalie Decker.

Saturday Talladega Xfinity race: Start time, TV info, weather

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The second race of the opening round of the Xfinity playoffs takes drivers to Talladega Superspeedway.

Noah Gragson secured his spot in the next round by winning last weekend at Texas. Ryan Sieg holds the final transfer spot. Riley Herbst is the first driver below the cutline, one point behind Sieg. Also below the cutline are reigning series champion Daniel Hemric (-8 points), Brandon Jones (-12) and Jeremy Clements (-28).

Details for Saturday’s Xfinity race at Talladega Superspeedway

(All times Eastern)

START: The command to start engines will be given at 4:09 p.m. … Green flag is scheduled to wave at 4:21 p.m.

PRERACE: Xfinity garage opens at 1 p.m. … Driver introductions are at 3:30 p.m. … The invocation will be given at 4 p.m. … The Brookwood High School choir will perform the anthem at 4:02 p.m.

DISTANCE: The race is 113 laps (300.58 miles) on the 2.66-mile speedway.

STAGES: Stage 1 ends at Lap 25. Stage 2 ends at Lap 50.

TV/RADIO: USA Network will broadcast the race at 4 p.m. Countdown to Green begins at 3:30 p.m. on USA Network. … Motor Racing Network coverage begins at 3:30 p.m. and also will stream at mrn.com. SiriusXM NASCAR Radio will carry the MRN broadcast.

STREAMING: NBCsports.com

FORECAST: Weather Underground — Sunny with a high of 78 degrees and no chance of rain at the start of the race.

LAST TIME: Noah Gragson won and was followed by Jeffrey Earnhardt and AJ Allmendinger.