Of his 76 career NASCAR Cup wins, Hall of Famer Dale Earnhardt earned a record 10 victories at Talladega Superspeedway.
Brad Keselowski has the most wins – five – of active drivers at the 2.66-mile facility, NASCAR’s largest racetrack.
On Thursday’s NASCAR America The MotorSports Hour, Krista Voda and analysts Parker Kligerman and AJ Allmendinger recapped the top five upset wins at ‘Dega:
No. 5: 1981 Talladega 500 – Ron Bouchard beats NASCAR Hall of Famers Darrell Waltrip and Terry Labonte in a wild three-wide finish. Bouchard’s winning margin was 2 feet. He would also go on to win the 1981 NASCAR Winston Cup Rookie of the Year honors.
“That was Ron Bouchard’s lone win in the Cup Series,” Voda said.
No. 4: 1988 Winston 500 – Phil Parsons earns the only win of his NASCAR Cup career, defeating runner-up and Hall of Famer Bobby Allison by .21 of a second.
“Phil Parsons, stealing a win, in the black Skoal Bandit car, the classic Skoal,” Kligerman said. “The hair’s even better on Phil, it’s a blonde mullet.”
No. 3: 2006 UAW-Ford 500: Brian Vickers took out Hendrick Motorsports teammate Jimmie Johnson and Dale Earnhardt Jr. on the backstretch on the final lap and wins under caution.
“Brian Vickers tries to make a move on his teammate, Jimmie Johnson, and takes out Dale Earnhardt Jr.,” Kligerman said. “How did he make it out of Talladega alive?
No. 2: 2009 Aaron’s 499: Brad Keselowski earns his first career Cup win in one of the most dramatic finishes ever seen at Talladega. Carl Edwards tried to block Keselowski and force him below the yellow line at the bottom of the track. Keselowski wasn’t having any of it, held his ground, made contact with Edwards’ car – sending Edwards into the catch fence – and then held on to defeat Dale Earnhardt Jr. by .175 of a second.
“You’re not supposed to go below the yellow line, Brad Keselowski said ‘I’m not going below the yellow line,’” Allmendinger said. “Carl Edwards went up in the grandstands and bounced back. I remember driving by there and said ‘wow, that was big.’”
Added Kligerman, “The reason (Keselowski) didn’t go below the yellow line is a year prior, Regan Smith got the win taken away for going below the yellow line. So (Keselowski) listened to that.”
No. 1: 2013 Aaron’s 499: This race went four laps into overtime before Front Row Motorsports teammates David Ragan and David Gilliland finished 1-2 for the organization’s first-ever Cup win.
“It was a long day,” Kligerman said, “It was basically nighttime (in victory lane) with rain delays and tornado warnings. It was a crazy day but that’s an exhilarating win for that team.”
Ragan comes into Sunday’s race “as a long shot, according to Vegas, 100-to-1 odds. Somebody’s got to take that bet,” Voda said. “David Ragan is a name you always have to pay attention to at Talladega.”