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