Ally to sponsor inaugural Cup race at Nashville Superspeedway


The revived Nashville Superspeedway announced Tuesday that Ally Financial will serve as title sponsor for its inaugural NASCAR Cup Series race.

The Ally 400 on Father’s Day, Sunday, June 20, caps off a NASCAR tripleheader weekend at NSS that includes the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series (June 18) and Xfinity Series (June 19).

Tickets for those races went on sale Tuesday to the general public. The Xfinity and Cup races also serve as the start of NBC Sports’ NASCAR coverage this season.

Track president Erik Moses said that improvements have steadily progressed at the 1.33-mile facility in Lebanon, Tennessee ahead of its return to racing.

“As I look out my window here at the track, I see trucks going back and forth around here daily,” Moses said in a Tuesday video teleconference. “We have already done a repaving of our apron and our infield road course here. We are in the process of upgrading and renovating our infield care center, as well as our media center, and we’re starting to work on renovations of our luxury suite complex.

“There are many other things, including a big WiFi and fiber installation, that will be ongoing. But most of those projects are already underway and will continue as we march toward Father’s Day weekend.”

With the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic still ongoing and vaccinations in the first stages of rollout, potential attendance for the event is a salient topic.

Moses said he’s held “informal conversations with people in the live events business” about protocol ideas like designated seating sections and access areas for vaccinated fans, but no decisions have been made in that regard.

He also said that plans are in place to add portable seating that could accommodate an additional 15,000 fans. If the track is given permission, those temporary seats would bring total capacity to near 40,000 overall.

For Ally, a multi-year title sponsorship for a Cup race builds upon its partnership since 2019 with Hendrick Motorsports as primary sponsor for its No. 48 Chevrolet, now driven by Alex Bowman.

“It was always our design to have the footprint expand,” Andrea Brimmer, Ally’s chief marketing and public relations officer, said in the teleconference. “An entitlement of a race was always on the road map. We just wanted to be very deliberate about it.

“It needed to be the right race in the right place with the right partners, and (Nashville) was the combination of all of those. It was the trifecta of what we were looking for.”

As part of its sponsorship, Ally is donating $25,000 to Nashville’s Box 55 Association, which provides support to local first responders; and $25,000 to the Urban League of Middle Tennessee, a civil rights and urban advocacy organization providing direct services that impact thousands of people in underserved communities across the state.

NSS is entering the first year in a four-year sanctioning agreement with NASCAR to host races. During its first run, the track hosted the Xfinity and Truck Series from 2001-2011, as well as the NTT IndyCar Series from 2001-2008.

Along with NASCAR, IndyCar will also return to Middle Tennessee this August with a downtown street race – the Music City Grand Prix – on Sunday, Aug. 8. That event will air on NBCSN.

Additionally, talks remain ongoing between the city of Nashville and Bristol Motor Speedway about potentially bringing televised NASCAR events to historic Nashville Fairgrounds Speedway as early as 2022.

Talladega Xfinity starting lineup: Austin Hill wins pole


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


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


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 SiriusXM NASCAR Radio will carry the MRN broadcast.


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.


Could Talladega open door for a record 20th winner?


Talladega Superspeedway is known for fast speeds, huge drafting packs, sensational wrecks and tight finishes.

On Sunday (2 p.m. ET on NBC), it could be the site of an unexpected record.

Nineteen different drivers have won Cup races this season, tying a record. If a new winner shows up in Talladega victory lane Sunday, it will mark the first time in the sport’s history that 20 drivers have won races in a single season.

One of the remarkable things about that possibility is that the driver who has far and away the best record at Talladega among active drivers is among the group still looking for a win in 2022. That’s Brad Keselowski, who has won six times at NASCAR’s biggest track. No other active driver has more than three. (Keselowski is tied for second on the all-time Talladega win list with Dale Earnhardt Jr. and Jeff Gordon. Dale Earnhardt tops that list with 10).

Talladega and Daytona tend to reject repeat winners. The past nine races at the two tracks have been won by nine different drivers.

Other seasonal non-winners who could break through at Talladega:

Ryan BlaneyBlaney’s only win this year is in the All-Star Race, so he’s still looking for his first points win while continuing to chase the championship. He won at Talladega in 2019 and 2020.

Martin Truex Jr. — Superspeedways have been a pox on Truex’s career. In 70 races at Talladega and Daytona, he has failed to win.

Aric Almirola — In what has been a disappointing season, Almirola’s best finish is a fifth — twice. He won at Talladega in 2018 but hasn’t had a top 10 in his last four runs there.

Michael McDowell — McDowell’s best finish at Talladega is a third, but he is usually very competitive in the Talladega and Daytona drafts, winning the 2021 Daytona 500.

Ricky Stenhouse Jr. — Stenhouse won at Talladega in 2017 and usually is a factor in the draft.

Harrison Burton — Burton has had a tough rookie season, but the peculiarities of the Talladega draft should play in his favor. The No. 21 team’s next win will be its 100th.

Justin Haley — Haley has no top-10 runs in five Talladega starts, but he showed potential last week with a third-place finish at Texas.

Corey LaJoie — LaJoie has started nine Cup races at Talladega and has led exactly one lap. His best finish is a seventh.

Noah Gragson — Gragson, the star of this Xfinity season, is in the No. 48 for Hendrick Motorsports with Alex Bowman out because of concussion-like symptoms. In the Talladega draft he could be a threat.