- Pit Stall Selections: The selections of pit stalls for the Aaron’s 499 Sprint Cup Series race at Talladega Superspeedway have been made.
Pole sitter #24-Gordon chose pit stall 1 [as do most pole sitters].
Outside pole sitter #22-Allmendinger took pit stall 17, the next pitstall with an opening in front of it.
#9-Ambrose, who starts 3rd took the 29th pit stall, the next stall with an opening in front of it.
The 43rd and final pit stall was taken by #55-Waltrip, who starts 9th.
To see where the drivers/teams pit stall is, see the pit selection chart on the Pit Stall Selection chart.(5-5-2012)
- Gordon pole extends streak: #24-Jeff Gordon won the pole for the Aaron’s 499 at Talladega Superspeedway, his 71st career pole, 3rd all time. It is the 20th straight season [every season he has been full time in Cup] that Gordon has won a pole, tying the record of 20, held by David Pearson [1962-1981]. Gordon has also won 19 races from the pole, 6th all time, one behind Bobby Allison. Richard Petty holds that record at 61 followed by Pearson at 37.(5-5-2012)
- Waltrip to run sticker in tribute to Junior Seau: Michael Waltrip will carry a tribute to the late NFL star Junior Seau in Sunday’s Aaron’s 499 at Talladega The MWR #55 Toyota driver was a fan of the All-Pro player and touched by his death reportedly by suicide earlier this week. Waltrip happened to be in San Diego when news of Seau’s death was reported. Waltrip is piloting the car that has been primarily driven by Mark Martin this year. Sunday’s start is one of a handful the team owner and television analyst plans to make this season for his organization.(CBS Sports)(5-5-2012)
- Gordon wins pole at Talladega: #24-Jeff Gordon won the pole for the Aaron’s 499 Sprint Cup Series race at Talladega Superspeedway with a speed of 191.623mph for his 1st pole of 2012, 3rd at Talladega and 71st of his career. #22-Allmendinger was 2nd fastest followed by #9-Ambrose, #43-Almirola, #5-Kahne, #16-Biffle, #99-Edwards, #14-Stewart, #55-Waltrip, and #17-Kenseth
The go-or-go homers who made the race (8): #21-Bayne, #26-Wise, #30-Stremme, #98-McDowell, #97-Elliott, #87-Nemechek, #23-Richardson, #33-Raines.
The go-or-go homer who failed to qualify for the race (1): #49-Yeley.
See qualifying results, order, pole progression, go-or-go homers & starting lineup on the Talladega Lineup / Qualifying Page.(4-27-2012)(5-5-2012)
- Qualifying Fast Facts – Talladega Superspeedway:
Jeff Gordon won the Coors Light Pole Award for the 43rd Annual Aaron’s 499 with a lap of 49.973 seconds, 191.623 mph.
This is his 71st pole in 663 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series races. Gordon ranks third on the all-time series poles list.
Gordon has now won at least one pole in 20 consecutive seasons, tying David Pearson for the longest streak all-time. His first pole came in 1993 at Charlotte Motor Speedway.
This is his first pole and fourth top-10 start in 2012.
This is his third pole in 39 races at Talladega Superspeedway.
AJ Allmendinger (second) posted his fourth top-10 start of 2012 and his second in eight races at Talladega Superspeedway.
Marcos Ambrose (third) posted his first top-10 start at Talladega Superspeedway. It is his third in ten races this season. (NASCAR Statistics)(5-5-2012)
- Good Sam/Camping World to sponsor Wood Brothers #21 Ford: The Wood Brothers’ #21 Ford Fusion and their driver Trevor Bayne will carry the colors of Good Sam and Camping World for four races this season, beginning with the NASCAR Sprint All-Star Race at Charlotte. The #21 Ford Fusion will also represent Good Sam/Camping World in Sprint Cup races at Atlanta in September, Chicago in September and Charlotte in October. The pairing isn’t the first for the two companies. Bayne drove the Good Sam/Camping World #21 Ford Fusion in last year’s Aaron’s 499 at Talladega. The latest deal with Good Sam/Camping World extends the Wood Brothers’ 2012 schedule from 12 to 16 races. "I’m excited to be back with Good Sam and Camping World," Bayne said. "Getting to run more races is good for me as a driver and good for our race team." Bayne also feels like he has some unfinished business with Good Sam and Camping World. He was supposed to race for them in last year’s All-Star race but was unable to because of an illness. Now; in addition to getting to run the All-Star race, he will have the opportunity to add three intermediate tracks to his schedule. "Atlanta’s one of my favorite tracks," he said. "I love running at Charlotte in the fall, and Chicagoland will be good too." For team co-owner Eddie Wood, it’s especially nice to add races at Charlotte Motor Speedway, which is just a couple of miles from the team’s shop in Harrisburg, and at Atlanta, where the Woods lead all others in race victories with 12. "We’d like to thank Marcus Lemonis of Good Sam/Camping World for supporting us in these 4 races. "We’re really excited to get the opportunity to run the two races right here at Charlotte, and it’s great for our team to be returning to Atlanta and Chicago," Wood said. "Donnie Wingo and the crew have built some really fast race cars lately, so the timing is perfect to add races to our schedule."(Wood Brothers Racing)(5-5-2012)
- Phoenix Racing, Busch to announce sponsor: UPDATES: Tuesday, #51-Kurt Busch posted the following message to Twitter, "Big sponsor announcement Friday for @PhoenixRacing51 – be on the look out".(5-2-2012)
UPDATE: per Kurt Busch’s Facebook, he will run a Ricky Bobby "ME" scheme from Talladega Nights at Talladega Superspeedway this weekend. The car will also carry the logo of the Armed Forces Foundation along with a message on the decklid "Text AFF to 50555 to donate $5". See images of the car on his Facebook page, twitter or my #51 Team Schemes page.(5-4-2012)
UPDATE 2: Getting permission to bring the movie car to life was no easy task. Busch’s girlfriend, Patricia Driscoll, is the head of the Armed Forces Foundation and approached team owner James Finch with an idea to run a Talladega Nights car while raising awareness for her organization, which does charitable work with armed services members suffering from post traumatic stress disorder. Driscoll worked behind the scenes for two months to get approval for the car, which was far more complicated than you might imagine. After lower-level execs at Sony Pictures rejected the idea, Driscoll pulled some strings and finally got the studio’s president on the phone. "He was like, ‘Yes! This is an awesome idea. Let’s do this!’" she said. But even after Sony approved, there were still others who had to sign on. For example:
– The picture of the cougar on the car is actually "Karen," the cougar who co-starred in the movie. Because Busch’s car needed to use the photo, Driscoll had to get permission from Karen’s handler – and the photographer who took the picture for the hood.
– Every company whose logo appeared on the movie car had to agree not to be on the real-life version.
– Will Ferrell’s people had to agree to Busch’s use of the car.
And finally, Finch had to agree as well. It took until Monday to get the team owner to sign off on the idea after some initial hesitation. Busch and his crew plan to drop lines from the movie over the team radio all weekend, which will include referring to crew chief Nick Harrison as "Lucius Washington." Driscoll joked about Busch’s often-vitriolic radio communications by saying it was the one time where he would actually WANT fans to listen.(SB Nation)(5-5-2012)
- Furniture Row has talked to Kurt Busch about second team: UPDATE: #78-Furniture Row Racing general manager Joe Garone confirmed today that talks have taken place between the team and driver Kurt Busch, but said those conversations are not a result of dissatisfaction with the team’s current driver, Regan Smith. "I have talked to Kurt Busch," said Garone, "but it was about a team we don’t even have yet. We are working diligently on getting a second (Sprint Cup) car for next year, and I’m trying to get my hands around some of the guys that will be available going onto 2013. I wanted to make an introduction to Kurt, and just let him know what our plans are for the future." Garone said he believes Smith and Busch would make good teammates, saying, "Kurt and Regan have worked well together on the superspeedways in the past. They have drafted well together and talked well back and forth. Adding a second team would be a major boost for Furniture Row Racing, and we’re all working hard to try and make that happen."(Godfather Motorsports)(5-3-2012)
UPDATE: Furniture Row Racing has met with Kurt Busch, but not in an effort to replace driver Regan Smith. "I met with Kurt about starting a second team for next year," said Joe Garone, FRR’s general manager. Since FRR made its debut in 2005, it became clear to team owner Barney Visser that the Denver-based organization would eventually have to expand to two teams to compete with the NASCAR powerhouses. "It’s nice that people want to talk and that they’re showing interest in me driving for them. And there have been other teams interested. It’s very early. (Phoenix Racing team owner James) Finch knows and the rest of the team knows that I’m a free agent. But I’m committed to racing the entire year here at Phoenix Racing and (will) talk with whoever wants to talk about racing in the future." said Busch. Although an investor expressed interest in partnering with FRR, that deal fell through. However, Furniture Row has been mentioned as one of the top candidates for the Dodge Motorsports program. The sticking point in finalizing the deal appears to be which company will build the Dodge engines. Roger Penske currently builds Dodge engines for his teams. However, with Penske Racing moving to Fords for 2013, it’s unclear what the future of Dodge’s engine program will be. What is missing from the Dodge equation, however, is a marquee driver. Certainly, Busch would fill that void.(Fox Sports)(5-5-2012)
- Warmer temperatures could force pack racing at Dega: Heat on Sunday & could be an issue not just for the drivers, but for the race cars as well. Engines overheating are a concern because NASCAR has mandated changes to the cooling systems to prevent tandem-style drafting, just as they did for the Daytona 500 in February. "I don’t think you can stay together at all," #18-Kyle Busch said after practice. "We’re running 230, 240 [degrees water temperature] just pack drafting and then once you get pushed from behind or you have somebody close to you, it kind of moves you forward a little bit to the car that’s in front of you. You’re already 245, 250. That’s already border line for our engines. With temperatures being as hot as they are, the ambient track temp being way up from what it was in Daytona, it’s just a lot harder to keep your car cool enough and not let it get heat soaked that you have an amount of time that you can push. You’re just kind of limited on what you can do based off water temp." Without tandem racing, that means pack racing will be back at Talladega just as it was at Daytona. That suits many in the garage. "To be honest, I really enjoy the pack racing a lot better," #56-Martin Truex Jr. said. "I feel like your destiny is in your own hands a little bit more. There’s still a lot of risks out there with things happening, which always is at plate tracks. I just never was a fan of having to have somebody push you, having to rely on somebody all the time to stick with you and make the right moves.(NASCAR.com)(5-5-2012)
- Junior Johnson continues to recover: Only when he lies flat on his back does Junior Johnson feel no pain. He can walk for a little more than 10 minutes before he begins to feel winded. Food does not taste good and he has trouble swallowing. Nevertheless, Johnson, the 81-year-old former NASCAR driver and team owner, does not complain. He’ll tell you it is better than the alternative. "Reckon the Lord thought it wasn’t my time yet," said Johnson, a member of the NASCAR Hall of Fame’s inaugural class of inductees, "for which I am grateful." Johnson came to the brink of death after contracting a raging staph infection at a North Carolina hospital. Johnson takes a daily regimen of medication to keep the infection at bay. Johnson said his plans for the immediate future remain unaltered. He and his family will move to Charlotte in June, where they have already bought a house and will become neighbors to such NASCAR notables as team owners Rick Hendrick and Felix Sabates. Johnson said he feels better each day, but, obviously, he will require more medical attention – none of which he can receive until it’s certain he no longer has the infection. Johnson admits he needs, and wants, a pacemaker.(Motorsports Unplugged)(5-5-2012)
- McReynolds son wins ARCA race at Talladega: Twenty years after Larry McReynolds stood in Victory Lane at Talladega Superspeedway with driver Davey Allison, he returned on Friday to celebrate the victory of his son, Brandon McReynolds, in the International Motorsports Hall of Fame 250. Brandon McReynolds picked up his first victory in the ARCA Racing Series presented by Menards by passing Matt Lofton coming through the tri-oval on the final lap. McReynolds had helped push Lofton past leader Chad Hackenbracht five laps earlier, then McReynolds used a similar push from Hackenbracht to pass Lofton on the high side of the track just before the finish line. "That kid amazes me," said Larry McReynolds, who was the crew chief when Allison won the May Sprint Cup Series race at Talladega Superspeedway in 1992. "I don’t know where he gets this driving talent. I can promise you it doesn’t come from me. Evidently he gets that from his godfather, Davey Allison. That’s the only thing I can figure out."(full story at the TSS site)(5-5-2012)
- Kris Allen to sing national anthem at Dover: RCA recording artist Kris Allen, the season 8 winner of "American Idol," will perform the National Anthem prior to the start of the June 3 "FedEx 400 benefiting Autism Speaks" NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race at Dover International Speedway. Since skyrocketing to stardom when winning "American Idol" in 2009, Kris Allen has enjoyed five singles on the Billboard charts. His self-titled debut album featured his hit single, "Live Like We’re Dying," which has a combined digital sales of more than 1.7 million. His second brand new album, "Thank You Camellia," is slated for release on May 22, 2012 on 19 Recordings/RCA Records, and features the hit lead single "The Vision of Love."(Dover Speedway)(5-5-2012)
- McClure injured at Talladega: UPDATES: #14-Eric McClure was injured Saturday during a mutlicar crash near the end of Nationwide Series race at Talladega Superspeedway. McClure’s car was one of several swept into a chain-reaction crash and slammed nose-first into the SAFER barrier on the inside retaining wall. He had to be cut from his car. NASCAR officials said Saturday that McClure was alert and talking to medical personnel. He was taken to University of Alabama at Birmingham Hospital. The extent of McClure’s injuries were not immediately known, but NASCAR officials said that McClure was communicating with safety workers.(Sporting News)(5-5-2012)
UPDATE: According to Emily Brandt, McClure’s sister and PR representative, "@ericmcclure is alert and taking to family members. He is being kept overnight 4 further observation".(5-5-2012
UPDATE 2: According to Eric’s Facebook page, "Eric is awake and alert. He has pain in the right arm and leg. He’s going to be bruised and sore for a while but should be okay. They are keeping him in the hospital overnight for observation."(5-5-2012)
- Patrick wrecks Hornish after race: After finishing 13th, likely unsatisfying and not indicative of how well she competed most of the race, #7-Danica Patrick wrecked old friend/former house guest and fellow IndyCar alum #12-Sam Hornish Jr. on the cool-down lap. NASCAR took no immediate action. Patrick restarted 18th on a second attempt at a green/white/checker finish and worked her way to 10th beginning the final lap before #2-Elliott Sadler – with whom she had been involved in an earlier incident – and Kenny Wallace opted to work together and leave her without a draft partner and plummeting back through the running order. Patrick regained a spot in line and rallied but was audibly agitated, responding to a question over team radio if she was "all right" with, "Absolutely fine. … I don’t know. It seems like people don’t frickin’ like me, man." Early in the cool-down lap, where cars slow before returning to pit road, Patrick had run alongside Sadler and Hornish, who were nose-to-tail, when it appeared Hornish veered wide right, nearly blocking her into the wall. Patrick subsequently chased Hornish down and used her bumper to turn him into the wall. Hornish said after the race he veered because of a tire problem. Patrick said Hornish apologized.(ESPN)(5-5-2012)
- Jeffrey Earnhardt planning full Nationwide effort next season: Jeffrey Earnhardt wheels the #15 Fastwax.com Ford for Rick Ware Racing, a team that he was supposed to run for Rookie of the Year honors with last year, until funding fizzled out. Now a driver in the NASCAR Grand-Am Rolex Sports Car Series, Earnhardt explains his short term and long term plans in NASCAR. "We’re in the process of trying to put some sponsorship together to do the limited amount of races this year, so that way I can still keep my rookie status for next year," he told News/Talk WSB Saturday, just before the Nationwide Series driver’s meeting. "We’ve got a lot of good stuff going for us sponsorship-wise, trying to seal up those deals and be able to run a full season next year in the NASCAR Nationwide Series, that’s our ultimate goal. We’re going to do as much as we can this year to make that happen."(WSB Radio)(5-5-2012)
- Gase working to return to Nationwide Series: Joey Gase didn’t expect attending opening night at Hawkeye Downs Speedway. The 19-year-old race car driver anticipated being in Talladega, Ala., after signing a deal to run a full NASCAR Nationwide Series schedule with Go Green Racing in January. After racing the first five Nationwide Series races, sponsorship issues have kept Gase from running the last two contests and Saturday’s Aaron 312. In the cut throat business of racing, if you can find the cash then you can get a ride. A deal with a sponsor didn’t work out and Gase was without an opportunity after posting a season-best 23rd-place finish March 24 in the Royal Purple 300 at Auto Club Speedway where he completed 148 of 150 laps. "We still have a really good relationship with them," Gase said of Go Green Racing. "We need sponsor help right now. A bunch of people do. It’s kind of sad how many guys were doing the whole season on Nationwide and then their sponsor fell through." He admits it can be a little frustrating taking a step back after being in one of the nation’s top series. "You just have to deal with it," said Gase, noting Nationwide driver Blake Koch is experiencing the same thing and Timmy Hill dropped from NASCAR Sprint Cup to Nationwide Series competition due to sponsorship. "You see how many guys it happens to and I know I still have a lot of time."(The Gazette)(5-5-2012)
- Tradebank sponsoring JD Motorsports at Talladega: Tradebank International Inc. announced its foray into NASCAR racing. Tradebank will sponsor two cars, owned by JD Motorsports, in the NASCAR Nationwide Series race on Saturday, May 5 at Talladega Superspeedway. Tradebank is the primary sponsor of the #4 Tradebank Chevy car which will be driven by Danny Effland. Concurrently, Tradebank is also an associate sponsor of the #01 Restaurant.com Chevy driven by veteran driver, Mike Wallace.(JD Motorsports)(5-5-2012)