NASCAR Heading to Talladega Superspeedway

Car going airborne during NASCAR Cup Series race at Talladega Superspeedway 4-25-21 (Photo credit: YouTube)
Car going airborne during NASCAR Cup Series race at Talladega Superspeedway 4-25-21 (Photo credit: YouTube)

The NASCAR Cup Series is heading to Talladega Superspeedway for the Geico 500 this Sunday afternoon.

Talladega is one of the tracks that most call a “Wild Card” on the annual circuit. The cars are able to reach speeds of 200 mph plus. They tend to race together in packs to take advantage of the draft created that way. The drivers put their cars just inches apart bumper-to-bumper and side-by-side.

The problem is at those high speeds and packs of cars, one mistake can take out many cars. Over the years this has become known as “The Big One.” Most of the time it is not IF it will happen but WHEN and how many times?

Here are the data points for the track and the race.

Talladega Superspeedway Data:
Track Size: 2.66-miles
Banking/Turn 1 & 2: 33 degrees
Banking/Turn 3 & 4: 33 degrees
Banking/Frontstretch: 16.5 degrees
Banking/Backstretch: 2 degrees
Frontstretch Length: 4,300 feet
Backstretch Length: 4,000 feet

GEICO 500 Data:
Season Race #: 10 of 36 (04-27-22)
Race Length: 188 laps / 500 miles
Stage 1 & 2 Length: 60 laps (each)
Final Stage Length: 68 laps

There have been eight different winners in the nine races so far this season. With the uncertainty of what will happen at Talladega during the race the odds are high that we could get a tenth different winner for the year.

Here are the ten active drivers that have best overall driver rating at Talladega during their Cup Series careers.

Brad Keselowski – 91.9
Joey Logaon – 91.6
Ryan Blaney – 91.4
Kurt Busch – 89.7
Chase Elliott – 88.2
Cole Custer – 86.8
Denny Hamlin – 84.0
William Byrin – 83.0
Kevin Harvick – 81.6
Kyle Busch – 81.0
*Based on 2005-2021 races (33 total) among active drivers at Talladega Superspeedway.

Here are the active drivers with wins at Talladega on their Cup Series resumes.

Brad Keselowski – 6 Wins (2021, 2017, 2016. 2014, 2012, 2009)

Joey Logano – 3 Wins (2018, 2016, 2015)

Ryan Blaney – 2 Wins (2020, 2019)

Denny Hamlin – 2 Wins (2020, 2014)

Bubba Wallace – 1 Win (2021)

Chase Elliott – 1 Win (2019)

Aric Almirola – 1 Win (2018)

Ricky Stenhouse Jr. – 1 Win (2017)

Kevin Harvick – 1 Win (2010)

Kyle Busch – 1 Win (2008)

How many “Big Ones” will there be? What cars will get taken out of contention to win in them? Will a last lap incident and pass determine the winner like last week at Bristol?

All these questions and more will be answered starting at 2 p.m. central time (3 p.m. eastern time) Sunday, April 27th in the Geico 500 at Talladega Superspeedway.

By: Buck Stevens