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Talladega Superspeedway - Aaron's Rent 499
Talladega Superspeedway - EA Sports 500

    THE RACE: Aaron's 499

    Nextel Cup Race #9 of 36 for the 2004 Nextel Cup season
    Updated: often, leading up to the race

  • Race: Sunday, April 25, 2004 in Talladega, AL

  • TV: FOX - 1:00pm/et, green flag ~1:20pm/et

  • Race Re-Air: on Speed Channel
    Wednesday, April 28 [Fast Forward] at 4:00pm/et;
    Thursday, April 29 [Full Race] at 3:00pm/et;
    Friday, April 30 [Fast Forward] at 12:00am/et

  • Announcers: Mike Joy, Darrell Waltrip, Larry McReynolds

  • Pit Reporters: Dick Berggren, Matt Yocum, Steve Byrnes, Jeanne Zelasko

  • Hollywood Hotel: Chris Myers and Jeff Hammond

  • NASCAR on TV and Fox Sports

  • Purse/Race Awards: $5,711,245 (was $5,082,015 in 2003)

    Practice Dates/Times/TV

  • Practice: Friday, April 23, 12:00 - 1:30pm/et; Saturday, April 24, 10:30 - 11:15am/et.

  • Happy Hour Practice: Saturday, April 24, 12:10 - 12:55pm/et on TV-FX tape delay at 1:00pm/et.

    Qualifying Info

  • Qualifying Draw: Friday, April 23, 11:00am/et

  • Qualfying Order: - Talladega qualifying order or
    Talladega qualifying order -

  • Qualifying: 2 laps for positions 1-38, Friday, April 23 at 4:10pm/et, TV-Speed Channel and live via MRN Radio, XM Satellite Radio and via's Racecast (paid). Re-aired on Speed Channel at 8:00pm.

  • NASCAR Online will have live lap-by-lap coverage of Nextel Cup qualifying via the web (NOTE: this is a paid subscription service).

  • Track Specs:
    Track/Race Length: 2.66 mile quad oval, 188 laps, 500.08 miles
    Superspeedway: 2.66-mile trioval 48 feet wide (12-foot apron)
    Turns: Banking: 33 degrees Length: 3,750 feet Radius: 1,100 feet
    Trioval: Banking: 18 degrees
    Frontstretch: Chute length: 2,150 feet (from turn to middle of trioval) Total length: 4,300 feet Banking: Minimal for drainage only
    Backstretch: Length: 4,000 feet Banking: Minimal for drainage only
    Pit Road Speed: 55mph; Caution Car: 70mph
    Grandstand Seating: 143,000

  • Track Homepage: Talladega Super Speedway

  • Last Year: see my 2003 April - Talladega Race Info page


    Tire: Goodyear Eagle Superspeedway Radials

    Number of Tires Required:
    Nextel Cup: Left - 900, Right - 900;
    Busch Series: Left - 500, Right - 500

    Tire Codes: Left - D-6804; Right - D-6806

    Tire Circumference: Left - 87.9 in.; Right - 88.4 in.

    Technical Inspection Inflation:
    Left Front - 30 psi; Left Rear - 30 psi;
    Right Front - 55 psi; Right Rear - 50 psi

    Minimum Recommended Inflation:
    Left Front - 27 psi; Left Rear - 27 psi;
    Right Front - 50 psi; Right Rear - 45 psi

    Estimated Pit Window: Every 32-36 laps, based on fuel mileage.

    Notes: This is the first time Goodyear has brought this specific combination of left- and right-side tires to Talladega . . . the previous combination had been run at the track since May 1997, 14th consecutive races . . this is the only NASCAR track on which these tire codes will be run in 2004 . . . as on all NASCAR ovals greater than one mile in length, teams are required to run inner liners in all four tire positions at Talladega . . . the air pressure in the inner liners must be 12-25 psi greater than that of the outer tire.

    Goodyear Quote -- Mark Keto, Lead Engineer, Stock Car Tire Development: "Talladega and Daytona share the same construction set-up, but require different tread compounds for optimal performance. Daytona is more of a handling racetrack and requires a 'grippier' compound set-up than does Talladega. The compounds for Talladega are unchanged from 2003. This construction was tested last fall at Daytona and was introduced at this year's Daytona 500."


  • The NASCAR Nextel Cup Leader Bonus is $60,000 at Talladega Superspeedway for leading the points and winning the race (Matt Kenseth last won the award, $30,000 at Las Vegas on March 7, 2004). The $360,000 annual award is paid at $10,000 per race to the point leader at the end of each event if the driver is also the winner. The award increases by $10,000 each week the it goes unclaimed. If the point leader is not the race winner at the end of the year, the balance of the award is distributed among the top-10 finishers in the drivers point standings(4-18-2004)

  • MBNA Mid-Race Leader Award: The MBNA Mid-Race Leader Award is worth $10,000 to any eligible NASCAR Nextel Cup driver who leads a race at the halfway mark. An additional $5,000 is earned if that driver also wins the race. If the race-win bonus is not earned, the $5,000 rolls into the next week’s award. Tony Stewart claimed the biggest MBNA Mid-Race Leader payout when he took home $85,000 ($10,000 for the award, $75,000 for the race-win bonus) by winning last year’s UAW-GM Quality 500 after leading the race at the halfway point.
    Bonus for leading at halfway and winning at Talladega is: $30,000
    Winners for 2004 so far:
    Daytona: Tony Stewart, $10,000
    Rockingham: Matt Kenseth, $20,000*
    Las Vegas: Matt Kenseth, $15,000*
    Atlanta: Tony Stewart, $10,000
    Darlington: Jamie McMurray, $10,000
    Bristol: Sterling Marlin, $10,000
    Texas: Kasey Kahne, $10,000
    Martinsville: Jeff Gordon, $10,000
    (* won race and bonus)(4-18-2004)



none listed

news and links

  • What happened between #5-Terry Labonte and #20-Tony Stewart? Fox showed #20-Stewart making an abrupt left after the checkered flag and right into the the right front of #5-Labonte, but no further explanation was given and I have found none yet in articles or PR's. But have been told Stewart was avoiding some of the fan thrown debris and didn't realize Labonte was there and darted to avoid it, but have seen nothing 'official' about it.
    AND As NASCAR ruled that Jeff Gordon had edged-out fan favorite Earnhardt for the win because he was ahead of Earnhardt when the caution flag waved, fans littered the track with beer cans and other debris. When Stewart crossed the finish line, he made a hard left onto pit road to avoid the raining garbage. That caught Terry Labonte by surprise, who was just to the inside of Stewart. As Stewart turned, he clipped the nose of Labonte's #5 Chevrolet.(Truespeed PR/Joe Gibbs Racing)(4-26/27-2004)

  • NASCAR's comments on the #8 and #24 placement and why no last lap shootout at Talladega: NASCAR spokesman Jim Hunter said a videotape review clearly showed Gordon ahead when the caution lights came on. "We turned the lights on when the wreck was in progress," Hunter said. "We had a great piece of footage that showed the two cars, so it was really clear-cut that Gordon was in the lead." Hunter said Tony Eury, Earnhardt's crew chief, looked the video and agreed with NASCAR. The other part of the controversy was the fact that NASCAR did not get the green flag back out for a race to the finish, keeping it under caution to the end and igniting the fans anger when they realized Gordon was going to win. "Here and at Daytona we're not going to have a one-lap shootout just because of safety," Hunter said. "We're just not going to do that."(Daytona Beach News Journal/AP)(4-26-2004)

  • Trash helps end race under yellow: fans showed their dissatisfaction by littering the [Talladega] speedway with beer cans -- and anything else that was handy -- when the lineup showed the #8 car in second place. With trash on the track, NASCAR officials had no choice but to finish the race under yellow.(FoxSports/Sporting News)(4-26-2004)

  • Harvick to 3rd, Johnson back to 4th: For NASCAR officials the day ended in yet another scoring controversy, because of its freeze-the-field rules. More than an hour after the four-hour race was over NASCAR finally determined that Kevin Harvick, not Jimmie Johnson, had finished third. And there was heated debate over NASCAR's not providing a green-flag finish.(Winston Salem Journal)(4-26-2004)

  • Gordon wins Talladega under caution: #24-Jeff Gordon won the Aaron's 499 at Talladega Superspeedway, getting in the lead just before the yellow flag was thrown when #25-Vickers spun. #8-Earnhardt Jr. felt he was ahead of Gordon, but says he will take the points [as he stays in the drivers points lead]. It is Gordon's 3rd win at Talladega, 1st of the season and his 65th of his career [6th all-time]. Chevy has now won 11 straight Talladega races. The rest of the top five [there could be some scoring changes later] were #29-Harvick, #48-Johnson and #31-Gordon. The highest finishing rookie was #77-Brendan Gaughan with a 13th. There were 11 cautions for 55 laps, a new record for the number at cautions [9 was the record, but not a record for the most caution laps which was 62 in May 1972]. There were 23 drivers lead a lap and 54 lead changes.
    Unofficial results at:
    Jayski's Aaron's 499 Race Results/Awards Standings page


  • TOP FIVE DRIVERS POINTS after at Talladega:
    #8-Dale Earnhardt Jr., 1347
    #48-Jimmie Johnson, 1253, -94
    #24-Jeff Gordon, 1236, -111
    #97-Kurt Busch, 1222, -125
    #17-Matt Kenseth, 1192, -155
    Unofficial Points Standings at:
    Jayski's Drivers/Owners Points Standings after Talladega

    So...what happened to the drivers at Talladega
    from watching/listening to race, PR's and columns/articles

      Finish Pos, Car#, Driver, Some Notes
    1. #24 Jeff Gordon, kept in the hunt until the end, and got infront just before the yellow flew
    2. #8 Dale Earnhardt Jr., led the most laps, bad restart, missed winning by a car length
    3. #29 Kevin Harvick, tapped Kenseth to cause spin, otherwise up front all day
    4. #48 Jimmie Johnson, tangled with #42, cut tire, caution saved him, tapped #20 who spun and saved
    5. #31 Robby Gordon, crew and pit stops kept him up front all day
    6. #6 Mark Martin, steady run, hates restrictor plate racing
    7. #99 Jeff Burton, steady all day with new sponsor, not too happy with Stewart
    8. #41 Casey Mears, nose got beat up from a few pit road incidents, but held on
    9. #42 Jamie McMurray, tangled with the #41, hit by the #29 and #20, 1st restictor plate top-10
    10. #18 Bobby Labonte, was quiet most of the day, then grabbed the 10th at the end
    11. #12 Ryan Newman, said he didn't have anyone pushing him to get to the front
    12. #15 Michael Waltrip, got tapped by the #24, swerved into the #33 and recovered
    13. #77 Brendan Gaughan, best career finish, top finishing Raybestos Rookie
    14. #30 Johnny Sauter, had some pitroad trouble with the #41, otherwise stayed out of trouble
    15. #16 Greg Biffle, hot engine, crew removed tape, added water
    16. #88 Dale Jarrett, not happy with the beating and banging, hung in there
    17. #21 Ricky Rudd, lost a lap when a tire went down, got a lucky dog pass, clipped the #25 who spun
    18. #22 Scott Wimmer, got moved to outside lane and fell back after final restart
    19. #43 Jeff Green, stayed out of trouble, couldn't run low on the track
    20. #4 Jimmy Spencer, overheating problems, couldn't run in the draft very long
    21. #19 Jeremy Mayfield, handling problems early in the race, crew made repairs
    22. #20 Tony Stewart, caused the 'big one' by tapping Busch, got spun by the #48, ran into the #5 on the cool down lap
    23. #49 Ken Schrader, just squirted past the 'big one'
    24. #45 Kyle Petty, early vibration, then got caught up traffic
    25. #5 Terry Labonte, lost a tire which caused a caution, got nailed by #20 on cool down lap
    26. #04 Eric McClure, nice run for his debut, even led a lap
    27. #25 Brian Vickers, got loose in middle of 3-wide, got clipped by the #21
    28. #38 Elliott Sadler, got into the back of the #17, nose damage, engine ran hot, changed water, lost laps
    29. #09 Johnny Benson, pit road incident with the #23, lost a tire and lap, front suspension problem
    30. #9 Kasey Kahne, part of the 'big one', came back to make up some points
    31. #40 Sterling Marlin, lost a tire, then the screen in front of the radiator came loose, something went through the radiator and overheated engine
    32. #01 Joe Nemechek, water temp spiked, lost an engine, was running in the top five
    33. #2 Rusty Wallace, part of the 'big one', came back to make up some points
    34. #10 Scott Riggs, part of the 'big one', came back to make up some points
    35. #33 Kerry Earnhardt, innocent victim of #24-Gordon and #15-Waltrip tangle, got spun while running up front
    36. #97 Kurt Busch, the main victim in the 'big one', wasn't too happy about it
    37. #00 Kenny Wallace, part of the 'big one', tested the new SAFER which passed
    38. #50 Derrike Cope, part of the 'big one'
    39. #23 Dave Blaney, part of the 'big one'
    40. #0 Ward Burton, ran hot all day, then the engine exploded a third thru the race
    41. #89 Morgan Shepherd, transmission gave out
    42. #17 Matt Kenseth, spun around, could had damaged the engine, which blew a few laps later
    43. #32 Ricky Craven, didn't even break a sweat when the engine went

  • The Aaron's 499 at Talladega Superspeedway:
    The UNOFFICIAL Top Ten (start pos in parens), lap leaders, cars out, cautions and some notes
    after 188 of 188 laps:

    car#, driver, starting spot
    #24-Gordon (11)(15 laps led)
    #8-Earnhardt Jr. (3)(57 laps led)
    #29-Harvick (14)(13 laps led)
    #48-Johnson (8)(25 laps led)
    #31-Gordon (21)(22 laps led)
    #6-Martin (6)(6 laps led)
    #99-Burton (25)
    #41-Mears (16)(5 laps led)
    #42-McMurray (33)(4 laps led))
    #18-Labonte (19)(1 lap led)

  • Cars on the lead lap: 27 (of 43 starters)
    Off track/out of race (12):
    #17-Kenseth (engine-out)
    #32-Craven (engine-out)
    #0-Burton (engine-out)
    #89-Shepherd (?-out)
    #97-Busch (accident-out);
    #50-Cope (accident-out)
    #23-Blaney (accident-out)
    #00-Wallace (accident-out)
    #33-Earnhardt (accident-off)
    #01-Nemechek (engine-out)
    #40-Marlin (radiator-out)
    #09-Benson (?-off)

  • Laps Leaders Unofficial (23 with 55 lead changes):
    #8-Earnhardt Jr.;
    #29-Harvick (led halfway);

    Cautions: 11 for 55 laps

    Caution 11 - Laps 184 - 188: #25-Vickers spun after getting loose in the middle of a 3-wide, #21-Rudd got into Vickers a bit, but drove on.
    Caution 10 - Laps 177 - 179: #48-Johnson tapped the left rear of #20-Stewart, who spun thru the 4th turn and drove accross the front stretch grass.
    Caution 9 - Laps 166 - 170: Debris on the track.
    Caution 8 - Laps 146 - 153: #40-Marlin lost a left rear tire, getting debris on the track and.
    Caution 7 - Laps 114 - 119: #15-Waltrip came down on #24-Gordon, made contact, and got into #33-Earnhardt who came down and smacked the inside retaining wall.
    Caution 6 - Laps 93 - 99: Debris on the track, piece of a tire from #5-Labonte.
    Caution 5 - Laps 84 - 87: The 'BIG ONE', #20-Stewart tapped #97-Busch in turn 3, others involved #00-Wallace, #5-Labonte, #50-Cope, #2-Wallace, #10-Riggs, #23-Blaney, #9-Kahne, #12-Newman.....
    Caution 4 - Laps 68 - ?: #0-Burton lost an engine.
    Caution 3 - Laps 34 - 38: #42-McMurray came up on #48-Johnson, getting into the left rear tire causing the tire to go down and then come apart, causing debris on the track.
    Caution 2 - Laps 22 - 26: #29-Harvick tapped #17-Kenseth who spun thru some cars, but hit nothing else, #9-Kahne checked up, #38-Sadler hit him in the back and Kahne spun around. All drove off. #38-Sadler and #17-Kenseth have front end damage to their cars.
    Caution 1 - Laps 4 - 6: #32-Craven blows an engine.

  • Who got a lap back on each caution at Talladega - The Lucky Dog Pack: (and their finish)
    (FOX calls it 'the Free Pass Car', NBC calls it the Lucky Dog - which I prefer)
    Caution 11: none, the race was under 10 laps to go
    Caution 10: #38-Sadler [4 laps down],
    Caution 9: #38-Sadler [5 laps down],
    Caution 8: #25-Vickers,
    Caution 7: #09-Benson,
    Caution 6: #5-Labonte,
    Caution 5: don't think any as no one a lap down [that are on the track]
    Caution 4: #01-Nemechek,
    Caution 3: #21-Rudd,
    Caution 2: none, no one a lap down at the time of the caution
    Caution 1: none, no one a lap down at the time of the caution
    See past races, rules, news and who has used the most Lucky Dog passes on my
    Lucky Dog page.

    RACE/PIT NOTES: (as noted heard on TV or Radio)
    ---- during the 9th caution, all the cars except 9 of the top 10 came in to top off fuel, some for tires too [#31 4 tires], #25-Vickers was the onlt driver in the top 10 to come in to pit.
    ---- many lead lap cars pitted, then towards the end of the caution, some of the cars came in to top off with gas during the 8th caution.
    ---- #29-Harvick slowed as he has fluid all over the windshield, supposedly from the #01-Nemechek car supposedly lost an engine on lap 146.
    ---- on lap 138, #25-Vickers had a left rear tire go down and had to pit and lost a lap.
    ---- #10-Riggs is back on the track after having repairs done
    ---- #2-Wallace is back on the track as of lap 124, making some laps for points.
    ---- #9-Kahne is back on the track as of lap 120, making some laps for points.
    ---- most of the lead lap cars came in to pit during the 7th caution.
    ---- most of the lead lap cars came in to pit during the 6th caution.
    ---- #00-Wallace and #19-Mayfield made contact entering pitroad on the 4th caution and both had to make pit stops to make minor repairs.
    ---- a tire got away from the #38-Sadler pit crew and it rolled accross pit road, the team will be penalized.
    ---- All the lead lap cars came in to pit during the 4th caution.
    ---- #24-Gordon's water temp was running hot before the 4th caution, so when he came in some tape was removed from the nose.
    ---- #23-Blaney lost a tire while running in the top 10 and had to pit on lap 61.
    ---- #32-Craven back off the track adter making a lap.
    ---- #17-Kenseth got up in the top 10 and then fell off the pace, and drove along the apron and to the pits, it was reported he lost an engine.
    ---- #32-Craven is back on the track as of lap 55, so it was NOT a blown engine as reported.
    ---- on lap 53, #77-Gaughan moved up and tapped #01-Nemechek, who came down and tapped #17-Kenseth, all recovered, but Nemechek fell back and has a front left tire going down and had to pit and lose a lap.
    ---- #8-Earnhardt Jr.'s velcroed mirror fell off around lap 45.
    ---- once again trouble in the pits between the #41-Mears and #30-Sauter teams, as Sauter was coming and in and #41-Mears was leaving, doing some minor damage to the #30's rear and the nose of the #41 during the 3rd caution. Also #23-Blaney and #09-Benson got together on pit road, the #23 has some right front nose damage. The #17 and #38 teams continue to make repairs to the noses of their cars.
    ---- just about all the lead lap cars came in to get gas, a few took 2 tires also, #8-Earnhardt Jr. had a mirror installed during his stop.
    ---- #21-Rudd had a vibration and had to make a green flag stop on lap 31, the team changed tires and he is now a lap down.
    ---- #41-Mears hit a tire from the #30-Sauter pit during 2nd caution pit stops, but no penality for either as NASCAR said the #30 team didn't leave the tire out of the box.
    ---- the #38 team is making repairs to the nose of Sadler's car, from the contact with #9-Kahne.
    ---- most of the lap leaders came into pit during the 2nd caution. ---- many teams came into pit during the 1st caution, including the leader, #01-Nemechek. Most just toppping off gas.
    ---- to the back, #38-Elliott Sadler due to an engine change.

  • StockCarFans.Com - Rumblings - Talladega: To say that we ended in controversy would be the understatement of the year.....Jeff Gordon was in front of Dale Earnhardt Jr (at least in the eyes of NASCAR) "at the moment of caution" today at Talladega Superspeedway and won the Aaron's 499 (where'd that mile go?). As a wreck happened behind them coming out of turn 3, instead of a drag race to the start/finish line, we had a couple laps of "what'd you see" to determine the outcome. More on that later....
    Jeff Gordon's victory was #65 for his career (he's 7th on the all-time win list) and first since he won at Atlanta last October. It was his 7th plate win and first since he won this event in 2000. Oh yeah, it was worth a paltry $320,258 from the over $5.7M in posted awards.
    Now, we're not gonna condone what happened at the race's end by the fans, but it certainly shouldn't have been unexpected. NASCAR fans aren't stupid. They know that "freezing the field at the moment of caution" isn't worth the PR paper it's printed on! 'Splain me how they can freeze a field at Nashville a couple weeks ago in the Busch race when you've got four cars sliding through the grass on the backstretch in a cloud of dust? Oh, we do it when they get back up to pace car speed......but don't pass anybody under the yellow, either. NASCAR doesn't have the technology.....plain & simple. And, the fans know it. The fans shouldn't have done what they did, but the last time this happened NASCAR became more forthcoming (the last red flag lap) with their rules. And, since nobody from NASCAR was gonna go out there and stand in front of that Gadsden grandstand and explain it, the fans expressed their displeasure. It's really a shame too, cause up till lap 183 we'd had about as good a race as we can get....plate or not.
    There'll be a lot of talk about how this gives our sport a black eye, but it was a moment like this that many consider the defining moment in NASCAR history....a fist fight in turn 3 at Daytona International Speedway. Out of that, improvement came.....hopefully we'll see the same after today. What a hot race.....lotsa overheating today.
    The "Big One" came on lap 84....11 cars sent spinning when Tony Stewart and Kurt Busch made contact.
    Jeff Burton (7th) had his best finish since he was 7th at Rockingham last November. He's the 26th driver to score a Top-10 this season....we've still got a ways to go to reach last year's number of 42.
    Brendan Gaughan (13th) had his career-best finish this week. He was 17th at Martinsville last week.
    Johnny Sauter (14th) tied his career-best finish today. He was 14th at Rockingham in February.
    Ricky Rudd (17th) had his best finish since he was 15th at Martinsville last October.
    Jimmy Spencer (20th) had his best finish since he was 14th at Rockingham last November.
    Eric McClure (26th) did a commendable job in his first Nextel Cup start.
    Kerry Earnhardt (35th) had his career-best finish today. He was 43rd in his only other Cup start at Michigan in August of 2000.
    Jeff Gordon has 4 Top-10's in a row.
    Jamie McMurray has 4 Top-10's in a row.
    Dale Earnhardt Jr. has 5 Top-10's in the last 6 races.
    Jimmie Johnson has 5 Top-10's in the last 6 races.
    This Week's Elevator...UP: The Operator of the Week is a lonely Jamie McMurray (+26). DOWN: The Big Dropper was Ward Burton (-30), Scott Riggs (-29), Joe Nemechek (-28), and Sterling Marlin (-22).
    With 55 lead changes amongst 23 drivers it comes as no surprise that....Mark Martin led today for the first time since he led once for one lap at Richmond last September. Dale Jarrett led today for the first time since he led twice for 25 laps at Kansas last October. Jimmy Spencer led today for the first time since he led once for 9 laps at Homestead last November. Brian Vickers led today for the first time since he led once for 11 laps at that same Homestead race. And, Eric McClure led today in his first Nextel Cup race. That means we've now had 36 leaders this season.....last year's number was 48.
    Jeff Burton (33rd to 28th) made the best move forward in the standings, while brother Ward (19th to 25th) went in the opposite direction.(StockCarFans.Com Nextel Cup Newsletter)(4-25-2004)

  • Happy Hour practice for the Aaron's 499 at Talladega Superspeedway is over. The fastest were:
    #29-Harvick 195.174
    #23-Blaney 194.733
    #25-Vickers 194.705
    #22-Wimmer 194.484
    #77-Guaghan 194.184
    Most laps run were: #22-Wimmer with 40 and #20-Stewart and #23-Blaney with 39.
    Slowest are #89-Shepherd at 188.193 and #31-Gordon at 190.030, no speed for #15-Waltrip.
    For speeds see or

  • Saturday's First Practice for the Aaron's 499 at Talladega Superspeedway is over. The fastest were...looks like drafting speeds:
    #30-Sauter 196.455
    #32-Craven 196.370
    #22-Wimmer 196.213
    #4-Spencer 196.093
    #0-Burton 195.981
    All 43 drivers have made runs.
    Slowest are #89-Shepherd 190.325 and #23-Blaney 192.237.
    Running the most laps: #42-McMurray and #97-Busch with 36, #'s 20,29,48 had 35.
    For speeds see or

  • - Ramblings - Talladega: It's been a week of catchin up....First, Rusty Wallace wins his first race in three years last week, then...It had been 20 years since the Wood Brothers had won a pole, but Ricky Rudd grabbed the top-spot today at Talladega Superspeedway for Sunday's Aaron's 499 and ended that streak! Kinda hard to believe it'd been that long for the Wood's, but for Ricky it was a mere two years ago when he took his last Bud Pole at Watkins Glen in August of 2002. Ricky's speed of 191.180 (50.089 sec) was good for his 29th career pole, and nipped the DEI juggernaut of Michael Waltrip and Dale Earnhardt Jr. He becomes the sixth different pole winner this season, and is now eligible for next February's Budweiser Shootout at Daytona.
    Michael Waltrip (2nd) has his best starting spot since he had the outside pole at Watkins Glen in August of 2002. So, if you've read closely, that means we've got the same front row here at a 2.66 mile Superspeedway that we had at that 2.45 mile road course. The more things change, the more they stay the same.....
    #01-Joe Nemechek (4th) has his best starting spot since he had the outside pole at Richmond in May of last year. #10-Scott Riggs (5th) has his career best starting spot. His previous best was 13th last week at Martinsville. #6-Mark Martin (6th) has his best starting spot since he lined up 3rd at Richmond last September. #5-Terry Labonte (13th) has his best starting spot since he lined up 9th at Dover last September. Welcome Back and Greetings: Kenny Wallace (27th) makes his first start of the season. Eric McClure (35th) makes his first-ever Cup start, and Kerry Earnhardt makes only his second Cup start this Sunday. His first was at Michigan in August of 2000....starting 27th and finishing 43rd.
    STREAKIN....Dale Earnhardt Jr. has 5 Top-10 starts in the last 6 races.( Nextel Cup Newsletter)(4-23-2004)

  • Rudd wins pole at Talladega: #21-Ricky Rudd won the Budweiser Pole for the Aaron's 499 at Talladega Superspeedway with a speed of 191.180mph. It is the first pole for Rudd in 58 races, since he won it at Watkins Glen in August 2002. It is the first pole for the #21 Wood Brothers team in over 20 years, since Buddy Baker won the pole at Atlanta on March 1984 and the Wood Brother's first pole at Talladega since Neil Bonnett won the pole there in August 1979 [speed of 193.600mph]. The pole is Rudd's 29th in his career and it puts him in the 2005 Budweiser Shootout. #15-Michael Waltrip will start 2nd after running 190.974mph. Points leader, #8-Dale Earnhardt Jr. will start 3rd. Top qualifying Rookie of the year candidate is #10-Scott Riggs, who will start 5th [190.019]. Provisionals go to #25-Vickers, #49-Schrader, #50-Cope, #23-Blaney and #89-Shepherd. Missing the race are #14-Foyt, #98-T. Bodine and #72-Shelmerdine [didn't practice or make an attempt].
    For qualifying results and starting lineups, see:
    Jayski's Talladega Qualifying/Lineup Page


  • Friday practice is is over for the Aaron's 499 at Talladega Superspeedway. The fastest were:
    #21-Rudd 191.039
    #8-Earnhardt Jr. 190.544
    #38-Sadler 190.128
    #12-Newman 189.808
    #15-Waltrip 189.778
    slowest were #98-Bodine at 180.349 and #89-Shepherd at 182.689.
    45 of the 46 cars made practice runs, no speed listed for #72-Shelmerdine. See the speeds at or

  • Qualfying Order Links are up, see above for the links. 46 drivers/cars are listed. 48 were originally on the Entry List, #02-Belmont withdrew, assuming that #80-Hillenburg did also as he is not on the qualifying order list. First driver schuled out is #72-Kirk Shelmerdine, last driver scheduled out is #89-Morgan Shepherd.(4-23-2004)

  • Friday's Practice and Qualifying: Practice for the Aaron's 499 at Talladega Superspeedway is scheduled to run today [April 23] from 12:00-1:30pm/et [corrected]. Qualifying is scheduled to start at 4:10pm/et [and run about 2.5 hours...maybe 2.66 hours] and will be televised on Speed Channel from 4:00pm/et until its conclusion. And re-aired at 8:00pm/et, after Trackside [7:00pm/et]. Qualifying can also be HEARD on MRN Radio and XM Satellite - NASCAR Radio 144 and followed on's paid Trackpass/Leaderboard service, also I will have my 'semi-live' Talladega Qualifying page, updated every 2-5 drivers, with practice vs qualifying speed comparisons, scheduled and actual qualifying position, provisional rank, etc.(4-23-2004)

  • Rookie News and Notes - Talladega

  • Entry List Links:
    Jayski's Aaron's 499 Entry List, 47 cars entered

  • No Racing to the Caution Rule and Q&A/Lucky Dog

  • Jayski's - 2004 Nextel Cup Race Results Page

  • Jayski's - 2004 Nextel Cup Practice Leader and Links

  • How to Calculate Track Speeds: use the formula Speed = Distance divided by Time. Distance is Track Length, and Lap Time into Hours. Once hour is 3600 seconds, so the calculation for a 48 second lap at Daytona(2.5 miles) would be: Speed = 2.5 x (3600/48), = 2.5 x 75 = 187.500mph. For a 19 second lap at Bristol(.533 miles): Speed = .533 x (3600/19), = .533 x 189.474 = a speed of 100.990mph

  • How to break a tie during qualifying?(same speed/time) When drivers are tied for a starting spot during qualifying, it is broken by owners points standings(not drivers).

  • Links: Practice speeds, qualifying and results can be found at these sites:


  • All 65: Six drivers have competed in all 65 restrictor-plate races at Daytona and Talladega: Terry Labonte, Mark Martin, Ricky Rudd, Ken Schrader, Rusty Wallace and Michael Waltrip.(2-18-2004)

  • Fastest at Talladega since 2000: #38-Elliott Sadler put his Ford on the pole position at Talladega with a lap of 189.943mph, which was the fastest the Cup cars have run here since 2000 [Joe Nemechek, 190.279 in Oct 2000], but far from the record run of 212.809 mph set in 1987 by Bill Elliot or the restrictor plate Talladega record speed of 199.388 also by Elliott in May of 1990.(Alabama Live and Jayski's Restrictor Plate page)(9-27-2003)

  • Dale Jr. 42nd first time out at 'Dega and some stuff: Dale Earnhardt Jr., finished 42nd in his first race at Talladega (2000 DieHard 500). In the following six races he finished 14th or better, including consecutive victories in four races (October 2001 through April 2003) and a second-place finish last fall. A Chevrolet has won 19 of the last 25 races at Talladega including the past 10 straight. Last time Dodge won at Talladega? Dave Marcis, 1976 Talladega 500.(NASCAR Statistical Services)(4-22-2004)

  • Track/Event Qualifying Record (no restrictor plate): Bill Elliott, April 1987, 212.809mph

  • Track/Event Qualifying Record (Restrictor Plate): Bill Elliott, May 1990, 199.388 (15/16th inch plate)

  • Last Year's Pole Sitter: Elliott Sadler, 189.943mph, finished 3rd.

  • 2003 Race Winner: Dale Earnhardt Jr., 144.625mph, started 13th

  • Track Race Record: Mark Martin, May 1997, 188.354mph

  • Slowest Race Record: Buddy Baker, July 1975, 130.892mph

  • Most Wins: 10 - Dale Earnhardt

  • Most Wins - Active Driver: 4 - Dale Earnhardt Jr.

  • Most Poles - All Time: 8, Bill Elliott

  • Most Poles - Active Driver: 3, Jeremy Mayfield; Sterling Marlin

  • Most Top 5s: 23 - Dale Earnhardt

  • Most Top 10s: 27 - Dale Earnhardt

  • Oldest Winner: Harry Gant, 52 years, 3 months, 26 days, May 1991

  • Youngest Winner: Bobby Hillin Jr., 22 years, 1 months, 22 days, July 1986

  • Most Laps Led by a Leader: Pete Hamilton, August 1970, 153 laps

  • Fewest Laps Led by a Race Winner: 3 - twice, most recently Bobby Hamilton 4/22/2001

  • Most Lead Changes: 75 - 5/6/1984

  • Fewest Lead Changes: 13 - 5/6/1973

  • Most Cautions: 9 - fout times, mosy recently, 5/3/1987

  • Most Caution Laps: 62, 5/7/1972

  • Fewest Cautions: 0 - three times, most recent 10/6/2002

  • Fewest Caution Laps: 0 - three times, most recent 10/6/2002

  • Most Running at the Finish: 40 - 4/22/2001

  • Fewest Running at the Finish: 14 - 7/27/1986

  • Most Wins by Manufacturer: 26 - Chevy

  • Worst Starting Spot to Win: Jeff Gordon, Oct 2000, started 36th

  • Races won from starting pos 1: 12 [of 69] 17.4%
  • Races won from starting pos 2: 16, 23.2%
  • Races won from starting pos 3: 6, 8.7%
  • Races won from starting pos 4: 6, 8.7%
  • Races won from starting pos 5: 3, 4.3%
  • Races won from starting pos 6: 3
  • Races won from starting pos 7: 2
  • Races won from starting pos 8: 1
  • Races won from starting pos 9: 1
  • Races won from starting pos 10: 1
  • Races won from starting pos 11: 2
  • Races won from starting pos 12: 2
  • Races won from starting pos 13: 3
  • Races won from starting pos 14: 1
  • Races won from starting pos 15: 1
  • Races won from starting pos 16: 1
  • Races won from starting pos 17: 1
  • Races won from starting pos 18: 2
  • Races won from starting pos 20: 1
  • Races won from starting pos 22: 1
  • Races won from starting pos 24: 1
  • Races won from starting pos 27: 1
  • Races won from starting pos 36: 1
  • Races won from the top 5: 43 of 69 - 62.3%
  • Races won from the top 10: 51 of 69 - 73.9%

  • Some MISC Talladega Notes:
    Historical data: Previous winners at Talladega: Dale Earnhardt (10) Darrell Waltrip (4) Buddy Baker (4) Bobby Allison (4) Dale Earnhardt Jr. (4) Davey Allison (3) David Pearson (3) Cale Yarborough (3) Donnie Allison (2) Pete Hamilton (2) Richard Petty (2) Bill Elliott (2) Ernie Irvan (2) Sterling Marlin (2) Mark Martin (2) Terry Labonte (2) Jeff Gordon (2) Dave Marcis (1) Dick Brooks (1) James Hylton (1) Richard Brickhouse (1) Lenny Pond (1) Neil Bonnett (1) Ron Bouchard (1) Bobby Hillin (1) Phil Parsons (1) Ken Schrader (1) Harry Gant (1) Jimmy Spencer (1) Bobby Labonte (1) Dale Jarrett (1) Bobby Hamilton (1) Michael Waltrip (1)
    Modern Era Event Victories by Car Make (1972 - Present): Chevy 26; Ford 16; Olds 6; Pontiac 2; Buick 6; Dodge 2; Mercury 5; Plymouth 1; Matador 0
    Track Milestones:
    Bobby Isaac won the first NASCAR NEXTEL Cup pole at Talladega in 1969. Richard Brickhouse, driving a Dodge, won the first NASCAR NEXTEL Cup (Grand National) race at Talladega Superspeedway in 1969.
    Track Update:
    Dale Earnhardt Jr., finished 42nd in his first race at Talladega (2000 DieHard 500). In the following six races he finished 14th or better, including consecutive victories in four races (October 2001 through April 2003) and a second-place finish last fall.
    Buddy Baker (three - spring 1975 through spring 1976) is the only other driver to win more than two consecutive races at Talladega.
    Manufacturer Update
    A Chevrolet has won 19 of the last 25 races at Talladega including the past 10 straight. Ford claimed five victories in the 25-race span with Pontiac winning the other.
    Qualifying Update:
    Jeremy Mayfield has scored three Bud Poles at Talladega. All three came with different team owners: 1996 (fall) - Cale Yarborough, 2000 (fall) - Penske-Kranefuss and 2003 (spring) - Ray Evernham. His Bud Pole with Yarborough was the first of two straight Bud Poles as a car-owner for the former NASCAR NEXTEL Cup champion. John Andretti won the Bud Pole for Yarborough the following spring.
    NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Active Drivers First and Last at this Track
    First Start
    Petty, Kyle 8-5-79
    McMurray, Jamie 10-6-02
    First Pole
    Mayfield, Jeremy 7-26-96
    First Win
    Schrader, Ken 7-31-88
    Last Pole
    Schrader, Ken 4-23-99
    Nemechek, Joe 10-13-00
    Mayfield, Jeremy 4-4-03
    Sadler, Elliott 9-26-03
    Last Win
    Spencer, Jimmy 7-24-94
    Waltrip, Michael 9-28-03
    Last Victory at This Track
    in a Chevrolet: Michael Waltrip, 2003 EA Sports 500 (Fall)
    in a Dodge: Dave Marcis, 1976 Talladega 500 (Fall)
    in a Ford: Dale Jarrett, 1998 Winston 500 (Fall)
    in a Pontiac: Bobby Labonte, 1998 DieHard 500 (Spring)
    Car Owner Victories at This Track
    Richard Childress 9
    Ranier Racing 6
    Bud Moore 5
    Wood Brothers 5
    Junior Johnson 5
    Dale Earnhardt Inc. 5
    Morgan-McClure 4
    Petty Engineering 4
    Rick Hendrick 4
    Robert Yates 3
    DiGard Racing Co. 2
    Jack Roush 2
    Stavola Brothers 2
    Melling Racing 2
    Hoss Ellington 1
    Nord Krauskopf 1
    Crawford Brothers 1
    James Hylton 1
    Holman-Moody 1
    Ray Nichels 1
    Race Hill Farm(Jack Beebe) 1
    Jackson Brothers 1
    Leo Jackson 1
    Joe Gibbs 1
    Andy Petree 1
    Total 69
    Would You Believe?
    #55-Bobby Hamilton won the caution-free 2001 Talladega 500 with an average speed of 184.008 mph. His average speed for 188 laps was just 0.853 mph slower than the Bud Pole speed for that race set by Stacy Compton.
    How Important is Track Position?
    Eight of the last 10 races at Talladega have been won from a starting position of 13th or worse.
    Track Update of the Week
    Seven of the last 10 NASCAR NEXTEL Cup races at Talladega have been won by an Earnhardt: Dale Earnhardt Jr., (four) and Dale Earnhardt (three).
    Modern Era Performance at this Track
    * Bill Elliott leads all drivers with eight Bud Poles in 54 races at Talladega. He has posted two victories, 10 top-five and 22 top-10 finishes at the Alabama superspeedway.
    * Dale Earnhardt Jr., leads all active drivers with four victories at Talladega.
    * Terry Labonte leads all active drivers with 14 top-five finishes and 23 top-10 finishes at Talladega.
    * Kurt Busch (six) and Kevin Harvick (six) are the only active drivers with more than two starts at Talladega that have not posted at least one DNF there.
    * Jeff Gordon leads all other active drivers with a 12.0 average start at Talladega, the best among drivers with five or more starts there.
    * Ryan Newman has an average start of 8.75 in four races at Talladega; Jamie McMurray has a 7.00 average start in three.
    * Dale Earnhardt Jr. has an 8.75 average finish at Talladega, the best among active drivers.
    * Bill Elliott leads all active drivers with 526 laps led at Talladega. Elliott has competed in 54 races there Jeff Gordon has led 474 laps in 22 races while Dale Earnhardt Jr., has led 354 in just eight races.
    Restrictor-Plate History
    * Since 1988 the primary method of limiting the speeds of NASCAR NEXTEL Cup cars on the Daytona and Talladega superspeedways has been the reduction of the airflow through the carburetor by the use of restrictor-plates.
    * There have been 65 restrictor-plate races since 1988: 33 at Daytona International Speedway and 32 at Talladega Superspeedway.
    * Six drivers have competed in all 65 restrictor-plate races: Terry Labonte, Mark Martin, Ricky Rudd, Ken Schrader, Rusty Wallace and Michael Waltrip.
    * Twenty-six different drivers have won Bud Poles for restrictor-plate events; 16 have won more than one restrictor-plate pole.
    * Three drivers have accounted for 19 restrictor-plate poles: Sterling Marlin (seven) along with Ernie Irvan and Dale Earnhardt (six each).
    * Twenty-four different drivers have won restrictor-plate races led by Dale Earnhardt with 11 victories followed by Dale Earnhardt Jr., and Jeff Gordon (six each); then Dale Jarrett and Sterling Marlin with five each.
    * Both of Jimmy Spencer's NASCAR NEXTEL Cup victories occurred in restrictor-plate races.
    * Sterling Marlin leads all active drivers with 20 top-five and 32 top-10 finishes in restrictor-plate races.
    * Dale Earnhardt had an 8.566 average start and a 9.377 average finish in 53 restrictor-plate races. His record remains the best of drivers with 10 or more restrictor-plate starts.
    * Jimmie Johnson leads all other active drivers a 6.22 average start in nine restrictor-plate races.
    * Dale Earnhardt Jr., leads all active drivers, with a 11.76 average finish in 17 restrictor-plate races.
    * Kurt Busch (13) and Greg Biffle (five) are the only active drivers that have never posted a DNF in a restrictor-plate race.
    * Dale Earnhardt (Talladega 1990 and '99) and Dale Earnhardt Jr. (Talladega 2002) are the only drivers to sweep both restrictor-plate races at the same track in a single season.
    Qualifying Update
    Elliott Sadler (189.943 mph) at Talladega (October 2003) produced the fastest restrictor-plate qualifying speed since Joe Nemechek posted a lap of 190.158 mph at Talladega in October 2000. The previous 11 restrictor-plate Bud Pole qualifying sessions (Daytona February 2001 through Talladega September 2003) had produced the slowest qualifying speeds since the beginning of restrictor-plate racing in 1988. Qualifying was rained out at Talladega in October 2002.
    Restrictor-Plate Would You Believe?
    Sterling Marlin leads all active drivers with 1,002 laps led in restrictor-plate races. Marlin has accumulated those 1,002 laps over 64 restrictor-plate races. Jeff Gordon is second among active drivers with 853 restrictor-plate laps led. Dale Earnhardt Jr., has led 607 laps in 17 restrictor-plate races.
    Mr. Restrictor-Plate
    Dale Earnhardt was undoubtedly the master of restrictor-plate racing. He still leads all other drivers in five of the seven restrictor-plate performance categories and is second in the other two.
    * Poles: 6 (tied with Ernie Irvan; second to Sterling Marlin - 7)
    * Wins - 11
    * Top 5s - 32
    * Top 10s - 40
    * Avg. Start - 8.6** (second to Davey Allison – 5.7)
    * Avg. Finish - 9.3**
    * Laps Led - 2,135 ** Drivers with 10 or more starts
    The Importance of Starting Up Front
    The average starting position of the race winners in the 65 restrictor-plate races has been 7.86. Forty-seven of 65 restrictor-plate races have been won from a top-10 starting position but only five have been won from the Bud Pole. Dale Jarrett was the most recent driver to win a restrictor-plate race from the Bud Pole (2000 Daytona 500). In the 16 restrictor-plate races since, 10 have been won from a starting position outside the top 10.
    A driver has won consecutive restrictor-plate races 11 times:
    * Davey Allison 1989 Winston 500 and Pepsi 400
    * Dale Earnhardt 1990 Winston 500, Pepsi 400 and DieHard 500 (three straight)
    * Davey Allison 1992 Daytona 500 and Winston 500
    * Ernie Irvan 1992 Pepsi 400 and DieHard 500
    * Dale Earnhardt 1993 Pepsi 400 and DieHard 500
    * Jimmy Spencer 1994 Pepsi 400 and DieHard 500
    * Sterling Marlin 1996 Winston Select 500 and Pepsi 400
    * Jeff Gordon 1996 DieHard 500, 1997 Daytona 500
    * Jeff Gordon 1998 Pepsi 400 and 1999 Daytona 500
    * Dale Earnhardt Jr. 2001 Pepsi 400 and 2001 EA Sports 500
    Mr. Restrictor-Plate
    Dale Earnhardt Jr., has assumed the restrictor-plate crown, winning six restrictor-plate races since his father's death. Earnhardt Jr., led 229 of the 736 restrictor-plate laps raced in 2001 and was the only driver to score four restrictor-plate top-10s that season. He out-scored his nearest competitor, Jeff Burton, by 135 points in NASCAR Winston Cup points earned in restrictor-plate races (692-557). He continued his winning restrictor-plate program into 2002, posting three top 10 finishes, including two more Talladega victories, in the four restrictor-plate races that season. Earnhardt Jr., won the first Talladega race in 2003, his record-setting fourth consecutive victory at the Alabama superspeedway - and went on to post three top-10 finishes in the four restrictor-plate races in 2003. Earnhardt Jr., led 102 of 645 laps, second only to teammate Michael Waltrip who led 103. The 2004 season-opening Daytona 500 saw Earnhardt Jr., post his sixth restrictor-plate victory.
    Team Dominance
    Dale Earnhardt Incorporated (DEI) has dominated restrictor-plate racing since 2001, posting 10 victories and four 1-2 finishes in the last 13 restrictor-plate races.
    First Second
    2001 Daytona 500 Michael Waltrip Dale Earnhardt Jr.
    2001 Pepsi 400 Dale Earnhardt Jr. Michael Waltrip
    2001 EA Sports 500 Dale Earnhardt Jr.
    2002 Aaron’s 499 Dale Earnhardt Jr. Michael Waltrip
    2002 Pepsi 400 Michael Waltrip
    2002 EA Sports 500 Dale Earnhardt Jr.
    2003 Daytona 500 Michael Waltrip
    2003 Aaron’s 499 Dale Earnhardt Jr.
    2003 EA Sports Michael Waltrip Dale Earnhardt Jr.
    2004 Daytona 500 Dale Earnhardt Jr.
    Restrictor-Plate Victories
    No driver has ever won all four restrictor-plates in a season. Dale Earnhardt won three of the four restrictor-plate races in 1990. Including Earnhardt's three, a driver has won two restrictor-plate races in the same season 12 times: Davey Allison (1989 and '92), Ernie Irvan (1992), Dale Earnhardt (1993 and '99), Jimmy Spencer (1994), Sterling Marlin (1995 and '96), Dale Earnhardt Jr. (2001 and '02) and Michael Waltrip (2003). There were four different restrictor-plate winners five times: 1988, 1991, 1997, 1998 and 2000.
    First-Time Victories
    Ten drivers have had their caree-rfirst NASCAR NEXTEL Cup victory occur in a restrictor-plate race. Six of those drivers have yet to post another victory (indicated by the asterisk).
    Daytona Talladega
    Derrike Cope 2/18/90 Davey Allison 5/3/87
    Sterling Marlin 2/2/94 Ron Bouchard * 8/2/81
    Michael Waltrip 2/18/01 Richard Brickhouse * 9/14/69
    Greg Biffle * 7/5/03 Dick Brooks * 8/12/73
    Bobby Hillin Jr * 7/27/86
    Phil Parsons * 5/1/88
    * Ryan Newman has a 6.50 average start - better than any other driver in 2004.
    * No driver has posted top-10 starts in every race in 2004.
    * Greg Biffle, Dale Earnahrdt Jr., Jeff Gordon and Ryan Newman, lead all other drivers, each with six top-10 starts this season.
    * Ryan Newman (6.5), Greg Biffle (8.38), Kasey Kahne (8.38) and Dale Earnhardt Jr. (9.25) all have an average start of 10th or better.
    Qualifying Would You Believe?
    Greg Biffle and Kasey Kahne both have identical starting averages of 8.38 after eight races this season. Biffle has one Bud Pole but six top-10 starts with his worst start being 24th. Kahne has two Bud Poles but has only five top-10 starts and his worst start was 27th in the Daytona 500.
    Points - Would You Believe?
    Eight of the top-10 drivers in the current NASCAR NEXTEL Cup championship point standings were also in the top-10 following the eighth race in 2003, including the top-four drivers who were all ranked among the top-four at this juncture last season. However, only Tony Stewart (sixth - 2004 and 10th - 2000) and Rusty Wallace (eighth - 2004 and sixth 2000) were among the top-10 after eight races five years ago.
    Manufacturer Highlight
    Ford has led 698 laps in 2004 - 648 by Jack Roush Racing. Matt Kenseth (384), Kurt Busch (200), Greg Biffle (63) and Jeff Burton (one) have led for Roush. Elliott Sadler (48) and Todd Bodine (two) are the other Ford drivers to lead this season.
    Lap Leaders * Dale Earnhardt Jr., has led a lap in six of the first eight races this season, more than any other driver.
    * Kyle Petty led laps in both the 2003 Pepsi 400 and this season's Daytona 500 - only the second time that he has led laps in back-to-back Daytona races and the first since he led in both races there in 1993.
    * Morgan Shepherd led two laps at Darlington - the first laps he has led since Pocono in July 2002.
    * Rusty Wallace, historically prominent in laps led, did not lead a lap in 2004 until Bristol - the sixth race of the season. He has led in every race since.
    * Dale Jarrett, Mark Martin and Ricky Rudd are a few of the drivers that have yet to lead a lap in 2004.
    (NASCAR Statistical Services)(4-22-2004)


  • Sad News: Ken Patterson, who served as director of public relations for Talladega Superspeedway, died early Friday morning. Patterson, 38, suffered from myelo dysplasia syndrome, a disease in which the body's bone marrow stops making healthy blood cells. Patterson has served as Director of Public Relations at Talladega Superspeedway since June 19, 2000. "We are very saddened by the passing of Ken Patterson," Grant Lynch, president of Talladega Superspeedway. "Ken was one of the most well respected individuals in our sport, and his dedication, enthusiasm and creativity helped set him apart from others."
    "Ken was a major part of the Talladega Superspeedway family and one of the most compassionate people in the sport today," said Rick Humphrey, Vice-President/General Manager of Talladega Superspeedway. "He will forever be part of Talladega Superspeedway an d he will be missed tremendously."
    Patterson is survived by his wife, Jenny, and two sons, Zachary, 4, and Brady, who is 2˝ months old..()
    The Kenneth Patterson Educational Trust Fund has been set up for Zachary and Brady Patterson and contributions may be sent to:
    Kenneth Patterson Educational Trust Fund
    Attn: Effie Russell
    PO Box 370
    Anniston, AL 36202.
    Contributions may also be made at any Colonial Bank.(4-2-2004)

  • Talladega Superspeedway Celebrates 35TH Anniversary with Online Voting For Five Best Races: Talladega Superspeedway has launched a website vote to determine the five most memorable races in the track’s history. The voting will last four weeks and conclude on Friday, April 16. The five winning races will be announced during the Aaron’s 499 Dream Weekend, April 22 – 25. A photo depicting each of the five races chosen will appear on a Collectible Pole Day Ticket for Discount Food Mart Qualifying Day on October 1, 2004. This collectible ticket is available for $10. Fans may choose from the following ten races at Talladega Superspeedway and cast a vote for their favorite:

    • Richard Brickhouse takes the lead at lap 180 and goes on to win Talladega’s inaugural NASCAR event, held in September 1969 ·
    • Rookie Ron Bouchard stuns the crowd, and his competitors, by beating veterans Darrell Waltrip and Terry Labonte to become the 13th different winner of Talladega’s summer event in August 1981
    • Darrell Waltrip breaks the string of 13 different winners of Talladega’s second event of the season, now known as the EA SPORTS 500, with a victory in 1982
    • A record-setting 75 lead changes occur in the 1984 Winston 500. In the race won by Cale Yarborough, there was an average of one lead change every 2.51 laps
    • Bill Elliott comes from nearly 2 laps down under green to win the 1985 Winston 500 at Talladega Superspeedway
    • Bill Elliott sets qualifying speed record with a lap of 212.809 mph during time trials for the 1987 Winston 500
    • Rookie Davey Allison scores his first NASCAR win with a victory in the 1987 Winston 500
    • Mark Martin wins fastest 500-mile race in NASCAR history, averaging 188.354 (2 hr. 39 minutes, 18 seconds) en route to winning the 1997 Winston 500
    • Dale Earnhardt charges from 18th position to first in the final 5 laps to win the 2000 Winston 500
    • Dale Earnhardt, Jr. captures a record-setting fourth straight Talladega victory in NASCAR’s top division, winning the 2003 Aaron’s 499
    To vote for your favorite race at Talladega Superspeedway, please visit our website and follow the instructions online.(Talladega Superspeedway PR)(3-23-2004)

  • SAFER Installation underway at Talladega: Installation of SAFER Barriers is currently underway at Talladega Superspeedway, speedway officials announced today. Steel and Foam Energy Reduction barriers are scheduled to be in place around the 2.66-mile tri-oval in time for the April 22 – 25 Aaron’s Dream Weekend. The SAFER barrier at Talladega Superspeedway will be installed in Turns 1 & 2, Turns 3 & 4 as well as the tri-oval and inside retaining wall on the backstretch. The SAFER wall at Talladega Superspeedway will be 40 inches high, and extend through the turns and tri-oval about 30 inches from the wall. In 2002, SAFER barriers were erected in the inside retaining wall at the exit of Turn 4 and the entrance of Turn 1 at Talladega Superspeedway.
    The Aaron's Dream Weekend, April 22-25, marks the return of the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series and NASCAR Busch Series to Talladega Superspeedway for 2004. You may purchase tickets by calling the Talladega Superspeedway Ticket Office at 1-877-Go2-DEGA Monday – Friday, 7:00 a.m. – 8:00 p.m. (CT), Saturday and Sunday, 8:00 a.m. – 8:00 p.m. (CT) or by visiting us online at For our hearing impaired guests, call TDD # 1-866-ISC-TRAK (866-472-8725). You may also purchase tickets at the Talladega Superspeedway Ticket Office, Monday – Friday, 8:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m. (CT).(Talladega Superspeedway PR)(3-23-2004)

  • Talladega Tix: Ticket sales for the Aaron’s Dream Weekend, April 22-25, are outpacing last year’s sales so track Vice-President/General Manager Rick Humphrey is encouraging race fans to buy seats before it’s too late. “Talladega Superspeedway continually offers some of the best, most competitive racing in all of motorsports,” Humphrey said. “And I’m proud to say that the track also offers some of the most competitive and affordable ticket bargains in racing.” Ticket packages in place for the Aaron’s Dream Weekend at “NASCAR’s Most Competitive Track” include: Two-day Talladega Tower tickets for $135; Two-day Allison Grandstand tickets for $60; Two-day event tickets include admission for the NASCAR Busch Series Aaron’s 312 on Saturday, April 24, and the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series Aaron’s 499 on Sunday, April 25. A Sunday-only race ticket is also in place to the Aaron’s 499. Sunday tickets for Anniston, Moss-Thornton, Lincoln, Talladega and Gadsden grandstands for $70 and Sunday tickets for the Lincoln Tower and Gadsden Tower for $115 An easy-to-use three-dimensional map of Talladega Superspeedway is available online at Superspeedway PR)(3-16-2004)

  • Talladega adds new park: Already home to NASCAR's Most Competitive races, Talladega Superspeedway is clearly home to the largest gathering of fans staying on a track's property during an event weekend. And with each passing event, the opportunities continue to grow for fans staying at Talladega Superspeedway. Talladega's newest addition is the East Reserved Park, located on the trackside of Speedway Boulevard. The East Reserved Park is an RV-only, gated-community. There are gravel roads within the East Reserved Park, which is located outside the track beyond Turn 3. Fans can reserve one of the approximately 400 spots before leaving home for $100 a space. Fans can call toll free to claim their spot at 1-877-Go2-DEGA.
    "Probably one of the biggest feedbacks we get from our fans concerns our parks," said Rick Humphrey, vice president and general manager of Talladega Superspeedway. "Not only do many fans express their appreciation of the nearly 500 acres of free sites we have on our property, but many fans request more spaces that can be reserved so they claim their home site before they arrive. "Talladega's newest addition is going to quickly become one of the prime parks," said Humphrey. "Over the years fans have requested a reserved park located on the north or east side of our facility that was trackside of Speedway Boulevard. That's exactly where the East Reserved Park sits. I think fans will love its location and the fact that it is a gated-community as well."
    The East Reserved Park is now available for the Aaron's Dream Weekend, April 22-25. Fans can enjoy the NASCAR Busch Series 312 and the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series Aaron's 499 during the weekend. For event tickets or to reserve a park site, fans can call 1-877-Go2-DEGA. With all the fans choosing to stay on property at Talladega Superspeedway during race weekends, the track becomes one of Alabama's largest cities overnight. Fans can choose between approximately 500 acres of free spaces to call home during a race weekend or claim one of the spaces in the track's reserved parks. "Two winters ago, we added approximately a thousand reserved spaces and now we have added some 400 more reserved sites," said Humphrey.
    "But with Talladega's nearly 1,000 acres available for people who stay overnight on track property, half of that land is still free to ticket holders during an event weekend." Spaces also remain in the Legends Lane Family Reserved Park, one of the newer parks on Talladega Superspeedway's property. Legends Lane is a gated-community located on the southwest side of the facility beyond Turn 1 near the Reserved Family Parks I & II. There are approximately 275 spaces in the Legends Lane Family Reserved Park, with each space having access to water. Legends Lane is also located close to two Shower Houses within the Family Parks. Fans can reserve a space in Legends Lane for $250 each. The 2004 Aaron's Dream Weekend starts with Busch Series Qualifying Day on Thursday, April 22, to set the field for the Busch Series Aaron's 312. The Birmingham News/Birmingham Post-Herald Qualifying Day is April 23 to line up the field for the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Aaron's 499. Cost of admission to each qualifying day is $10 with children 11-and-under allowed admission for free. Fans can call the track's new ticket hotline number at 1-877-Go2-DEGA (877-462-3342) or visit the track's official web site at to purchase tickets.(Talladega Superspeedway PR)(2-9-2004)

  • SAFER at More Tracks - Daytona and Talladega UPDATE not Lowe's: NASCAR officials said they hope to have the SAFER barrier - Steel and Foam Energy Reduction system - installed on most of their Nextel Cup tracks by January 2005. Five tracks have it on their outside walls, and Talladega Superspeedway will join Daytona as the sixth and seventh. Talladega already has the barrier on an inside wall. Daytona will put up the barriers in all of its turns. ``It's been a long process in working with NASCAR and the University of Nebraska,'' Talley said. ``As soon as we got the thumbs up, we were going to do it.'' A team at Nebraska headed by Dean Sicking developed the SAFER barrier, which absorbs some of the energy in a crash, lessening the impact for a driver. The barrier is made up of steel tubes and pads of hard foam and is affixed to the concrete wall. Even though Indianapolis Motor Speedway has had the barrier for a few years, NASCAR asked track operators to delay installation until enough testing could be done to ensure that the application was safe for the various types of tracks. Richmond, New Hampshire, Phoenix and Homestead put up the barriers last year. ``Our goal is to have the SAFER barrier up at every track where it's recommended by the experts by 2005,'' said Gary Nelson, NASCAR's managing director of research and development. ``The next step is to get the experts together with the track operators.''(Tampa Tribune)(1-23-2004)
    AND Energy-absorbing barriers will be installed in time for races at Talladega Superspeedway in April and at Daytona International Speedway in July, but installation of the "soft walls" is not imminent at Lowe's Motor Speedway at Charlotte. Lowe's Motor Speedway has another type of barrier, of a design using incapsulated polystyrene, along inside walls at key points on its 1.5-mile trioval. But track president H.A. "Humpy" Wheeler said Friday there is still work to be done on adapting the SAFER barriers for application at high-banked intermediate-length ovals. "We are not dragging our feet," Wheeler said. "We are going to do it, and we are looking at it now." Homestead-Miami Speedway is closest to the Charlotte track, as well as to similar 1.5-mile tracks in Atlanta, Texas and Las Vegas that also are owned by Speedway Motorsports Inc. The SAFER barriers were installed last year when the 1.5-mile Homestead was reconfigured with banking that varies from 18 to 20 degrees in its turns. Lowe's Motor Speedway has 24-degree banking in its turns. Wheeler said Las Vegas, a 1.5-mile track with 12-degree banking in its turns, will likely be the first SMI track to get SAFER barriers, but that won't happen in time for the track's Cup date this year on March 7. "The physics are different in a high-banked 1.5-mile track," Wheeler said. "One thing we have to be sure of is where to start with the barriers and where to stop them as they come out of the turn." NASCAR president Mike Helton announced in December that it wants SAFER barriers to be installed at all tracks where their designers recommend them in time for the 2005 season.()(1-24-2004)

  • Talladega Pit Passes: For the first time in history at Talladega Superspeedway, Pre-race Pit Passes will be available for individual sales. The first chance for fans to purchase Pre-race Pit Passes at NASCAR's Most Competitive Track will be for the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Aaron's 499 on April 25, 2004. Only a limited number of Pre-race Pit Passes will be available. Fans who have purchased a ticket to the Aaron's Dream Weekend in the Tri-Oval Tower, O.V. Hill South Tower extension and Birmingham Tower extension by Sunday, Feb. 8, will have the opportunity to purchase a Pre-race Pit Pass on a first-serve basis on Monday, Feb. 9 for $50. Ticket holders in those sections must call 1-877-Go2-DEGA beginning on Monday, Feb. 9, to purchase their Pre-race Pit Pass for the Aaron's 499. Pre-race Pit Passes are good beginning at 8 o'clock on the morning of the Aaron's 499 and will last until 45 minutes prior the start of the race. These times are tentative as track schedule and weather permit. There is no age restriction and no dress code during pre-race festivities. For Tickets or more info on the Pitpasses, call 1-877-Go2-DEGA or purchase online at PR)(1-11-2004)

  • Talladega's New Pricing Structure: Talladega Superspeedway's pricing structure for the 2004 season will make it easier for fans to claim some of the best seats for NASCAR competition. Fans can claim seats in the tri-oval area of NASCAR's Most Competitive Track while also claiming a savings off of 2003 ticket prices. Seats in the nearly one-mile stretch of grandstands at Alabama's 2.66-mile tri-oval for NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series events are $70 each. For fans who have always wanted to sit across from pit road or at the Start/Finish Line, this translates into a savings of $5 to $15 per ticket from 2003 prices. For fans who set their sites on tower seats at Talladega, prime two-day tower sections in the tri-oval portion of the track have been reduced from $5 to $25 per ticket for the 2004 season. Two-day tickets in the O.V. Hill South and Birmingham extensions and the Tri-Oval Towers have been reduced this season. The two-day Talladega Tower sections, located closest to Turn 1 has also been reduced $15 per ticket from 2003 prices.
    First up at Talladega in 2004 is the Aaron's Dream Weekend, April 22-25, 2004 with the NEXTEL Cup Aaron's 499 and the Busch Series Aaron's 312. One ticket price unchanged for the 2004 season is the popular two-day ticket in the Allison Grandstand, considered by many fans to be the best deal in all of motorsports. For one $60 ticket in the Allison Grandstand, fans get all of the action on the track for Saturday and Sunday of the Aaron's Dream Weekend, April 24-25, 2004. The $60 ticket includes the two final NEXTEL Cup practice sessions and the Busch Series Aaron's 312 on Saturday, April 24, and the NEXTEL Cup Aaron's 499 on Sunday, April 25. New to the Aaron's Dream Weekend in 2004 is the opportunity for fans to upgrade their experience by enjoying the surroundings of a private chalet located behind the Allison Grandstand. The Superstretch Club will offer a continental breakfast, buffet lunch and beverages on Sunday. The offer also includes a pre-race pit tour on Sunday morning before the start of the Aaron's 499 and live entertainment throughout the morning. Fans can call 1-877-Go2-DEGA to purchase Superstretch Club passes.
    Fans interested in purchasing single-day Sunday seats can also save money on Saturday admission tickets. Fans can save $5 on each general admission grandstand ticket and reserved tower seat for Saturday if purchased by April 9. Saturday general admission tickets are $35 with reserved tower seats at $45 through April 9. Children 11-and-under are admitted free in the general admission grandstands on Saturday. Fans can call the track's new ticket hotline number at 1-877-Go2-DEGA (877-462-3342) or visit the track's official web site at Superspeedway PR)(12-20-2003)

  • Special Dale Jr Ticket for Talladega Qualifying Day:When Dale Earnhardt Jr. and his #8 Budweiser Chevrolet team rolled into Talladega Superspeedway in the spring of 2003 for the Aaron's Dream Weekend, most of the talk was centered on the driver's chance to win an unprecedented fourth straight race in NASCAR's top division at Alabama's famous 2.66-mile tri-oval. Dale Jr. had other plans. Not only did he set a new record with his fourth straight win at NASCAR's Most Competitive Track in the Aaron's 499, he also swept the weekend at Talladega, claiming the trophy in the NASCAR Busch Series Aaron's 312. To celebrate Dale Jr.'s Aaron's Dream Weekend Sweep, officials at Talladega Superspeedway have created an oversized Limited Edition Commemorative Ticket for The Birmingham News/Birmingham Post-Herald Qualifying Day on April 23, 2004. The special ticket measures 3.5 inches X 8.5 inches and features pictures of Dale Jr. in the Gatorade Victory Lane after the Aaron's 312 and the Aaron's 499 as well as pictures of the cars he drove in the wins. Each Limited Edition ticket is numbered with the printing held to 5,500 tickets. The price of the ticket is $10, the same price as a roll ticket sold at the gate the day of The Birmingham News/Birmingham Post-Herald Qualifying Day. It was only the second Cup-Busch sweep at Talladega. Mark Martin completed the feat in 1997, albeit a week later due to rain and the postponement of the Cup race. With his sweep of the 2003 Aaron's Dream Weekend, Dale Jr. is now tied for third for the most wins at Talladega Superspeedway. His five wins at Talladega puts him in the same league as Bobby Allison, Darrell Waltrip and Grant Adcox. Fans can call the track's new ticket hotline number at 1-877-Go2-DEGA (877-462-3342) or visit the track's official web site at Superspeedway PR)(12-20-2003)

  • Past track news: posted in the past at Jayski's Past Track News/Rumors - Talladega Superspeedway


  • Two Morgan McClure cars at Talladega/To Meet with former sponsor: Morgan-McClure Motorsports will run two Chevrolets next weekend in the Aaron's 499 at Talladega Superspeedway. In addition to its standard #4, they will also run a #04 Chevy for Eric McClure. Team owner Larry McClure said Robert Larkins would be the listed crew chief for the car, but that he would be part of a "committee" that would oversee it. McClure said Sunday he has a meeting set Monday with former sponsor, with a possibility that the organization could still sponsor his car for more races this season.(
    AND On Friday, Eric McClure will attempt to qualify for his first-ever NASCAR Nextel Cup event at the 2.5-mile Talladega International Speedway. McClure, the nephew of Abingdon-based Cup team owner Larry McClure, will drive the #04 Chevrolet sponsored by the "I Can Learn" computer learning software company [] that also is sponsoring six races for him this season in NASCAR's Busch Series. His entry will be a team car to the Morgan-McClure #4 piloted by Jimmy Spencer. McClure ran his first superspeedway race at Daytona this past February in a Morgan-McClure-prepared ARCA car. He qualified sixth and raced with the leaders all day before being bumped out of the lead draft at the end and finishing 13th.(Kingsport Times News)(4-19-2004)

  • See the 2004 Team Chart which has links to past news for each team and info on each team.


    Car#/Driver Sponsor/Scheme/Promo Race/Date Image Link
    #24-Jeff Gordon Pepsi Talladega - Apr #24 Paint Scheme Page
    #40-Sterling Marlin Kentucky Derby/Coors Light Talladega - Apr
    #99-Jeff Burton Duke's Children's Hospital Talladega - Apr

  • Marlin's car to get horse: The official Kentucky Derby logo will appear on Sterling Marlin's #40 Coors Light Dodge in the Aaron's 499 at Talladega, six days before the 130th running of the Kentucky Derby.(Courier-Journal)(4-16-2004)

  • Burton to drive #99 Duke's Children Hospital Ford at 'Dega: Roush Racing announced today that Jeff Burton's #99 Roush Racing Ford will sport a special paint scheme at the Aaron's 499 in Talladega. Duke Children's Hospital and Health Center will be carried on the car at the 500 mile race Sunday, April 25. Burton is a long-time supporter of the hospital. Burton's association with the hospital began years ago after an associate sponsor invited him to visit kids admitted to the hospital. Since that time, Burton has continued his support through fundraising events, appearances, monetary donations, time and of course most importantly, visits to the hospital with his wife Kim who has sat on the hospital board for the last four years. Through their efforts the Burtons have raised nearly $900,000 for the hospital to date. Duke Children's provides $48 million in un-reimbursed charity care each year. Funds also support cutting-edge research, world-class advocacy and support programs for families and their sick children, top-notch clinical care and medical education to ensure future generations receive the most advanced medical care available. For more information visit Racing PR)(4-14-2004)

  • More Paint Scheme news can be found on Paint Schemes Gallery


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