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NASCAR National Series News & Notes – Talladega Superspeedway

NASCAR Cup Series
Next Race: YellaWood 500
The Place: Talladega Superspeedway
The Date: Sunday, October 2
The Time: 2 p.m. ET
The Purse: $8,338,881
TV: NBC, 1 p.m. ET
Radio: MRN, SiriusXM NASCAR (Channel 90)
Distance: 500 miles (188 Laps); Stage 1 (Ends on Lap 60),
Stage 2 (Ends on Lap 120), Final Stage (Ends on Lap 188)

NASCAR Xfinity Series
Next Race: Sparks 300
The Place: Talladega Superspeedway
The Date: Saturday, October 1
The Time: 4 p.m. ET
The Purse: $1,653,281
TV: USA, 3:30 p.m. ET
Radio: MRN, SiriusXM NASCAR (Channel 90)
Distance: 300.58 miles (113 Laps); Stage 1 (Ends on Lap 25),
Stage 2 (Ends on Lap 50), Final Stage (Ends on Lap 113)

NASCAR Camping World Truck Series
Next Race: Chevy Silverado 250
The Place: Talladega Superspeedway
The Date: Saturday, October 1
The Time: 12:30 p.m. ET
The Purse: $806,669
TV: FS1, 12 p.m. ET
Radio: MRN, SiriusXM NASCAR (Channel 90)
Distance: 250.04 miles (94 Laps); Stage 1 (Ends on Lap 20),
Stage 2 (Ends on Lap 40), Final Stage (Ends on Lap 94)

NASCAR Cup Series

Talladega Superspeedway to stir-up an already unpredictable Playoffs

Four NASCAR Cup Series Playoff races into the 2022 championship run and none of the Playoff drivers have won any of the postseason races this season, leaving all 12 still looking to clinch their spot in the Round of 8 with two races left in the Round of 12 – Talladega Superspeedway and Charlotte Motor Speedway ROVAL. This weekend the competitors will have to face one of the biggest hurdles in the NASCAR Cup Series Playoffs, as Talladega Superspeedway opens the gates and unleashes its 2.66-miles of asphalt with 33 degrees of banking in the turns for Sunday’s YellaWood 500 at 2 p.m. ET on NBC, MRN and SiriusXM NASCAR Radio (Channel 90). As the pinnacle ‘Wild Card’ event, expect the unexpected at Talladega as it is literally anyone’s to win.

The 2022 season marks the sixth consecutive year Talladega Superspeedway will host the fifth race in the NASCAR Cup Series Playoffs (2017-2022) – Race No. 31 of the season. Talladega is the third different track to host the fifth race in the NASCAR Cup Series Playoffs; joining Charlotte Motor Speedway (2004 – 2014) and Kansas Speedway (2015 – 2016). The 2.66-mile track is the largest paved oval the series competes on with 33 degrees of banking in the turns.

Talladega Superspeedway has participated in the NASCAR Cup Series Playoffs since its inception into the series in 2004 and has occupied five different spots on the postseason schedule. Talladega has hosted the third race of the NASCAR Cup Series Playoffs (2004 – 2005); the fourth race (2006 – 2008 and 2012); the fifth race (2017-2022); the sixth race (2011, 2013 – 2016); and the seventh race (2009 – 2010).

A total of 14 different drivers have won the NASCAR Cup Series Playoff races at Talladega Superspeedway, six of the 14 are active this weekend and three of the six are Playoff contenders this year – Denny Hamlin, Ryan Blaney, Joey Logano.

Brad Keselowski (2017, 2014), Clint Bowyer (2010-2011), Jamie McMurray (2009, 2013) and Joey Logano (2015-2016) lead the NASCAR Cup Series in Playoff wins at Talladega Superspeedway with two postseason victories each.

Talladega Superspeedway Playoff Race Winners
Track Race Winner Date
Talladega Bubba Wallace Monday, October 4, 2021
Talladega Denny Hamlin Sunday, October 4, 2020
Talladega Ryan Blaney Sunday, October 13, 2019
Talladega Aric Almirola Sunday, October 14, 2018
Talladega Brad Keselowski Sunday, October 15, 2017
Talladega Joey Logano Sunday, October 23, 2016
Talladega Joey Logano Sunday, October 25, 2015
Talladega Brad Keselowski Sunday, October 19, 2014
Talladega Jamie McMurray Sunday, October 20, 2013
Talladega Matt Kenseth Sunday, October 7, 2012
Talladega Clint Bowyer Sunday, October 23, 2011
Talladega Clint Bowyer Sunday, October 31, 2010
Talladega Jamie McMurray Sunday, November 1, 2009
Talladega Tony Stewart Sunday, October 5, 2008
Talladega Jeff Gordon Sunday, October 7, 2007
Talladega Brian Vickers Sunday, October 8, 2006
Talladega Dale Jarrett Sunday, October 2, 2005
Talladega Dale Earnhardt Jr Sunday, October 3, 2004

During the NASCAR Cup Series Playoff Era (2004-Present), the winner of the Talladega Superspeedway Playoff race has never gone on to win the title in the same season. But twice the Talladega Playoff race winner has finished runner-up in the championship standings at the end of the season: Jeff Gordon (2007) and Joey Logano (2016).

A total of 14 different drivers have won the NASCAR Cup Series fifth race in the Playoffs; seven of the 14 are active this weekend. Jimmie Johnson leads the NASCAR Cup Series in wins during the fifth race of the NASCAR Cup Series Playoffs with three victories (2004, 2005, 2009 – all at Charlotte Motor Speedway).

NASCAR Cup Playoff Race No. 5 Winners
Track Race Winner Date
Talladega Bubba Wallace Monday, October 4, 2021
Talladega Denny Hamlin Sunday, October 4, 2020
Talladega Ryan Blaney Sunday, October 13, 2019
Talladega Aric Almirola Sunday, October 14, 2018
Talladega Brad Keselowski Sunday, October 15, 2017
Kansas Kevin Harvick Sunday, October 16, 2016
Kansas Joey Logano Sunday, October 18, 2015
Charlotte Kevin Harvick Saturday, October 11, 2014
Charlotte Brad Keselowski Saturday, October 12, 2013
Charlotte Clint Bowyer Saturday, October 13, 2012
Charlotte Matt Kenseth Saturday, October 15, 2011
Charlotte Jamie McMurray Saturday, October 16, 2010
Charlotte Jimmie Johnson Saturday, October 17, 2009
Charlotte Jeff Burton Saturday, October 11, 2008
Charlotte Jeff Gordon Saturday, October 13, 2007
Charlotte Kasey Kahne Saturday, October 14, 2006
Charlotte Jimmie Johnson Saturday, October 15, 2005
Charlotte Jimmie Johnson Saturday, October 16, 2004

Twice the winner of the fifth race in the Playoffs has gone on to win the title later that season; both happening at Charlotte Motor Speedway (2004-2014). In 2009, Jimmie Johnson won the fifth race of the Playoffs from the pole at Charlotte Motor Speedway and then went on to win his fourth consecutive NASCAR Cup Series title – it was his third of four wins in the 2009 postseason. Then in 2014, Kevin Harvick won the fifth race of the Playoffs from the seventh starting position at Charlotte Motor Speedway and went on to win his first career NASCAR Cup Series title – it was his first of three wins during the 2014 postseason.

The worst finish in a NASCAR Cup Series Playoff race at Talladega Superspeedway by a driver that went on to win the title that same season was 37th by Kyle Larson in 2021.

Six times a non-Playoff driver has won the NASCAR Cup Series Playoff race at Talladega Superspeedway:

  • In 2005, Dale Jarrett won the Playoff race at Talladega; he was 14th in points.
  • In 2006, Brian Vickers won the Playoff race at Talladega; he was 16th in points.
  • In 2009, Jamie McMurray won the Playoff race at Talladega; he was 22nd in points.
  • In 2011, Clint Bowyer won the Playoff race at Talladega; he was 13th in points.
  • In 2013, Jamie McMurray won the Playoff race at Talladega; he was 14th in points.
  • In 2021, Bubba Wallace won the Playoff race at Talladega; he was 21st in points.

Three times a non-Playoff driver has won the fifth race in the NASCAR Cup Series Playoffs:

  • In 2010, Jamie McMurray won the fifth race in the Playoffs at Charlotte; he was 14th in points.
  • In 2013, Brad Keselowski won the fifth race in Playoffs at Charlotte; he was 16th in points.
  • In 2021, Bubba Wallace won the Playoff race at Talladega; he was 21st in points.

Sweet Home Alabama: NASCAR Cup Series at Talladega

Since it opened it has been deemed one of the most daunting tracks on the schedule and this weekend’s YellaWood 500 (Oct. 2 at 2 p.m. ET on NBC, MRN and SiriusXM NASCAR Radio) at Talladega Superspeedway looks to be another fantastic opportunity for some close side-by-side competition the fans have come to love.

In total there have been 106 NASCAR Cup Series races at Talladega Superspeedway, one Cup event in 1969, and two races per year since 1970. Among the 106 Cup events, the track has hosted 18 Playoff races in the NASCAR Cup Series.

Overall, 45 different drivers have qualified on the pole at Talladega Superspeedway, 23 of the 45 have done it multiple times and six of the 45 NASCAR Cup Series pole winners at Talladega are active this weekend.

Active Talladega Pole Winners Poles Seasons
Chase Elliott 2 2019, ’16
Kevin Harvick 2 2018, ’05
Christopher Bell 1 2022
Austin Dillon 1 2019
Ricky Stenhouse Jr 1 2017
Martin Truex Jr 1 2016

NASCAR Hall of Famer Bill Elliott leads the NASCAR Cup Series in poles at Talladega Superspeedway with eight poles (1985 sweep, 1986 sweep, 1987 sweep, spring 1990 and fall 1993). Kevin Harvick (2005, 2018) and Chase Elliott (2016, 2019) lead all active NASCAR Cup Series drivers in poles at Talladega with two each.

The 106 Cup races at Talladega have also produced 51 different NASCAR Cup Series race winners at the 2.66-mile track. NASCAR Hall of Famer Dale Earnhardt leads the series in wins at Talladega with 10 victories (1983, 1984, 1990 sweep, 1991, 1993, 1994, 1999 sweep and 2000).

Eleven of the 51 NASCAR Cup Series race winners at Talladega Superspeedway are active this weekend, led by Brad Keselowski with six wins at Talladega Superspeedway (2009, 2012, 2014, 2016, 2017, 2021); followed by Joey Logano with three victories (2015, 2016, 2018).

Active Talladega Race Winners Wins Seasons
Brad Keselowski 6 2021, ’17, ’16, ’14, ’12, ’09
Joey Logano 3 2018, ’16, ’15
Denny Hamlin 2 2020, ’14
Ryan Blaney 2 2020, ’19
Ross Chastain 1 2022
Bubba Wallace 1 2021
Chase Elliott 1 2019
Aric Almirola 1 2018
Ricky Stenhouse Jr 1 2017
Kevin Harvick 1 2010
Kyle Busch 1 2008

This weekend’s YellaWood 500 will be broken up into three stages the first two stages will be 60 laps each and final stage will be 68 laps.

On-track activity for the NASCAR Cup Series begins with Busch Light Pole Qualifying on Saturday, October 1 at 10:30 a.m. ET and will be streamed live on the NBC Sports App.

Clinch Scenarios: Wide open Round of 12 heads to Talladega

Just two races left for the NASCAR Cup Series Playoff challengers in the Round of 12 to secure their spot in the Round of 8, and with a non-Playoff driver taking the win last weekend at Texas (Tyler Reddick), all eight spots are still up for grabs as the series heads to Talladega Superspeedway this weekend for the YellaWood 500 (Sunday at 2 p.m. ET on NBC, MRN and SiriusXM NASCAR Radio) the fifth race of the 2022 postseason.

Already Clinched

No drivers have clinched a spot in the eight-driver field of the next round.

Can Clinch Via Points

If there is a repeat winner or a win by a driver who cannot advance to the next round, the following drivers could clinch by being 56 points above the 8th winless driver in the standings. The same point requirements listed below would hold true if a new win comes from among Joey Logano, Ross Chastain, Kyle Larson, Ryan Blaney, Denny Hamlin, Daniel Suárez or Chase Elliott.

  • Joey Logano: Could only clinch with help
  • Ross Chastain: Could only clinch with help
  • Kyle Larson: Could only clinch with help
  • Ryan Blaney: Could only clinch with help
  • Denny Hamlin: Could only clinch with help
  • Daniel Suarez: Could only clinch with help
  • Chase Elliott: Could only clinch with help

If there is a new winner from Chase Briscoe or another winless driver lower in the standings but still eligible to advance to the next round, the following drivers could clinch by being 56 points above the 7th winless driver in the standings.

  • Joey Logano: Could only clinch with help
  • Ross Chastain: Could only clinch with help
  • Kyle Larson: Could only clinch with help
  • Ryan Blaney: Could only clinch with help
  • Denny Hamlin: Could only clinch with help
  • Daniel Suárez: Could only clinch with help

Can Clinch Via Win

The following drivers would clinch on their win alone: Joey Logano, Ross Chastain, Kyle Larson, Ryan Blaney, Denny Hamlin, Daniel Suárez, Chase Elliott, Chase Briscoe, Austin Cindric, William Byron, Christopher Bell, Alex Bowman

Playoff Bubble: Round of 12 provides plenty of unpredictability

While the unpredictability of the close quarters racing at Talladega Superspeedway, or the twists and turns of the Charlotte Motor Speedway ROVAL are enough to keep the NASCAR Cup Series Playoff teams up at night, they should find some solace in knowing it could be those same track attributes that help get them to Victory Lane over these next two weekends.

Since the inception of the ‘elimination-style’ format in the NASCAR Cup Series Playoffs in 2014, the driver that wins at Talladega Superspeedway in the postseason has clinched a needed spot in the next round in six of the eight races held (2014-2021). Joey Logano in 2015 is the lone winner at Talladega since 2014 that had already clinched his spot in the next round prior to competing at the 2.66-mile track – Logano swept the Round of 12 in 2015 winning all three races that season (Charlotte, Kansas, Talladega). Then last season, for the first-time a non-Playoff driver (Bubba Wallace) won the Talladega Superspeedway NASCAR Cup Series Playoff race since the ‘elimination-style’ format was introduced in 2014.

Talladega Superspeedway Playoff Race Winners Since 2014
Track Race Winner Clinch Status Heading Into ‘Dega Date
Talladega Bubba Wallace 22nd in Points Monday, October 4, 2021
Talladega Denny Hamlin 2nd in Points Sunday, October 4, 2020
Talladega Ryan Blaney 12th in Points Sunday, October 13, 2019
Talladega Aric Almirola 9th in Points Sunday, October 14, 2018
Talladega Brad Keselowski 10th in Points Sunday, October 15, 2017
Talladega Joey Logano 8th in Points Sunday, October 23, 2016
Talladega Joey Logano Clinched On Wins Sunday, October 25, 2015
Talladega Brad Keselowski 10th in Points Sunday, October 19, 2014

This weekend, rookie Austin Cindric (ninth), William Byron (10th), Christopher Bell (11th) and Alex Bowman (12th) find themselves south of the NASCAR Cup Series Round of 8 cutline as they head into the Playoff race at Talladega Superspeedway.

NASCAR Cup Series Driver Playoff Outlook Following Race No. 30 at Texas Motor Speedway
Rank Driver Points Race Wins Stage Wins Playoff Pts +/- Cutoff
1 Joey Logano (P) 3,071 2 5 25 37
2 Ross Chastain (P) 3,059 2 5 20 25
3 Kyle Larson (P) 3,057 2 4 20 23
4 Ryan Blaney (P) 3,056 0 6 14 22
5 Denny Hamlin (P) 3,049 2 3 13 15
6 Daniel Suarez (P) 3,045 1 2 7 11
7 Chase Elliott (P) 3,045 4 5 40 11
8 Chase Briscoe (P) 3,041 1 4 9 7
9 Austin Cindric # (P) 3,034 1 1 6 -7
10 William Byron (P) 3,033 2 4 15 -8
11 Christopher Bell (P) 3,016 1 4 13 -25
12 Alex Bowman (P) 3,015 1 2 7 -26
13 Tyler Reddick 2,107 3 2 17 Eliminated from the Playoffs
14 Austin Dillon 2,083 1 0 5
15 Kyle Busch 2,068 1 3 10
16 Kevin Harvick 2,063 2 0 12

Team Penske’s Austin Cindric (3,034 points) is ninth in the Playoff outlook standings – the first position outside the Round of 8 cutoff – seven points back from Stewart-Haas Racing’s Chase Briscoe in eighth. Cindric’s lone NASCAR Cup Series career win, came in the season-opening Daytona 500, so the rookie has found success on superspeedways. But has a few head winds to work through as this is his first appearance in the NASCAR Cup Series Playoffs and just his second career Cup start at Talladega. He made his series track debut at the 2.66-mile track earlier this season; he started 18th and finished 21st.

Hendrick Motorsport’s driver William Byron (3,033 points) was issued a penalty of 25 driver points for his contact with the No. 11 car driven by Denny Hamlin under caution at Texas last weekend. Now the North Carolina native sits 10th in the NASCAR Cup Series Playoff outlook standings eight points back from the Round of 8 cutoff. Byron is looking to advance out of the Round of 12 for the first-time in his career. In nine starts at Talladega, he has put up two top fives and an average finish of 19.0.

Joe Gibbs Racing’s Christopher Bell (3,016 points) is ranked 11th in the Playoff outlook standings, 29 points back from the Round of 8 cutoff after finishing 34th at Texas Motor Speedway. After a strong start to the Playoffs with three top fives in the first three races, Bell skidded out in Texas and now is trying to advance out of the Round of 12 for the first time in his career. The Oklahoma native has made five starts at Talladega posting one top-five finish.

Hendrick Motorsports’ Alex Bowman (3,015 points) finds himself in the 12th and final position in the Round of 12 Playoff outlook standings following a 29th-place finish at Texas last weekend. Now the Arizona native is 30 points back from the Playoffs’ Round of 8 cutline. Bowman has yet to win at Talladega, but has posted a best finish of runner-up in (April) 2019. And in 14 Cup Series starts he has posted one top five and four top 10s. Bowman is looking to advance out of the Round of 12 for the second-time in his career (2020).

Cup Series’ Playoff Dozen at ‘Dega

This weekend, five of the 12-driver Playoff field are former NASCAR Cup Series Talladega Superspeedway winners (race winners bolded in chart below). With none of the 12 postseason contenders locked into the Round 8, below is a look at the Playoff dozen and their NASCAR Cup Series statistics at Talladega Superspeedway.

Rank Driver Races Poles Wins Top Fives Top 10s DNFs Average Finish Driver Rating
1 Joey Logano 27 0 3 9 11 9 17.5 90.4
2 Ross Chastain 7 0 1 1 1 0 19.6 58.0
3 Kyle Larson 15 0 0 1 3 5 23.1 76.0
4 Ryan Blaney 16 0 2 3 5 4 16.9 91.1
5 Denny Hamlin 33 0 2 9 14 5 16.9 83.5
6 Daniel Suárez 11 0 0 0 1 4 22.1 66.2
7 Chase Elliott 13 2 1 4 6 3 15.2 89.3
8 Chase Briscoe 3 0 0 0 0 1 20.7 57.3
9 Austin Cindric 1 0 0 0 0 0 21.0 57.9
10 William Byron 9 0 0 2 2 3 19.0 85.4
11 Christopher Bell 5 1 0 1 1 1 22.4 73.7
12 Alex Bowman 14 0 0 1 4 6 24.4 74.2

NASCAR Cup Series, Etc.

Alabama Native Bubba Wallace and NASCAR to Host “Bubba’s Block Party” at Railroad Park in Downtown Birmingham Friday, Sept. 30 – NASCAR announced this week plans for a community block party hosted by 23XI Racing driver and Alabama native Bubba Wallace at Railroad Park in downtown Birmingham this Friday, September 30. The event will precede two days of NASCAR Playoffs racing action at Talladega Superspeedway, culminating Sunday, Oct. 2, with the NASCAR Cup Series YellaWood 500, which Wallace is the defending champion.

Bubba’s Block Party is a community-focused NASCAR initiative that aims to drive awareness, access and engagement to the sport among the Black community while generating excitement around the race weekend. The family-friendly event will take place from 5 p.m. to 10 p.m.

“We’re excited to bring Bubba’s Block Party, a community event, to the heart of Birmingham” said Brandon Thompson, NASCAR Vice President of Diversity and Inclusion. “Events like this allow us to bridge the rich history and culture of Birmingham to a NASCAR staple like Talladega.”

The free event will host guests for hours of live music, games and activities, as well as an assortment of food offerings. Wallace, from Mobile, who made history in last year’s YellaWood 500 when he became the first Black driver to win a NASCAR Cup Series race since 1963, will engage the audience as part of a fireside chat which will focus on his career journey and NASCAR’s efforts to promote diversity and inclusion across the sport.

“Our sport has made real gains in expanding and diversifying our fan base,” said Bubba Wallace. “It’s my hope that Bubba’s Block Party will resonate with the Birmingham community and allow people to see all that NASCAR has to offer. I want everyone to feel welcomed, to experience the thrill of the sport and have a good time.”

NASCAR Cup Series Featured Matchups: YellaWood 500 – Below is a close look at the featured matchups fans can bet on heading into this weekend’s event.

Tyler Reddick vs. Austin Dillon (Fan Vote) – Who can forget Austin Dillon’s win at Daytona to secure his spot in the Playoffs this season? Tyler Reddick helped push Austin Dillon to victory, ensuring that both Richard Childress Racing cars got into the postseason. Unfortunately, both Reddick and Dillon are no longer in the Playoffs, even though Reddick got his third win of the season last week at Texas in the opening race of the Round of 12. Austin Dillon and Tyler Reddick have had RCR’s best year in quite some time, combining for four wins for the first-time since 2013. Even though they are not in the Playoffs, Reddick and Dillon both want to finish the season strong amongst uncertainties about what next season will look like.

Denny Hamlin vs. William Byron – Denny Hamlin may have added another name to his list of enemies last weekend at Texas. Him and William Byron got tangled up coming out of a turn causing Hamlin to get into Byron from the inside. Byron went up and made contact with the wall before conceding the position, but tempers flared when Byron appeared to spin Hamlin under caution, resulting in Hamlin dropping from third to 22nd. Hamlin and crew chief Chris Gabehart voiced their displeasure with the move, and Hamlin said that he would get Byron back down the road. For two Playoff drivers fighting for a championship, it will be interesting to see how they race each other at Talladega, where working together is crucial.

Alex Bowman vs. Christopher Bell – It wasn’t the race they were looking for to start off the Round of 12. Both Alex Bowman and Christopher Bell had trouble and failed to finish on the lead lap last weekend at Texas. They certainly have their work cut out for them if they want to reach the Round of 8. Bell sits 25 points below the cutline while Bowman sits 26 points behind. That means that Talladega will likely be a points race for both of these drivers. Bell and Bowman will most likely try to get to the front and stay in the front most of the race. Racking up stage points and trying to finish well will be paramount for Bowman and Bell as they look to make up for a poor week at Texas.

Bubba Wallace vs. Chris Buescher – This was a Featured Matchup for the regular season finale at Daytona where both drivers had a chance to win their way into the Playoffs. Although it didn’t work out for Bubba Wallace and Chris Buescher making it into the Playoffs, they’ve made the most of their season. Both Wallace and Buescher have won a race in the Playoffs, although they aren’t in the Playoff field. Wallace won three weeks ago at Kansas, while Buescher won two weeks ago at Bristol. They’ve also had good runs at superspeedways; Buescher won one of the Daytona Duel’s before the Daytona 500, while Wallace won at Talladega last year and finished runner-up in this year’s Daytona 500. Both drivers have the talent to win their second race of the year this Sunday, so it will all be about having a little luck and making the perfect move at the right time if they want to continue the streak of non-Playoff drivers winning Playoff races.

Auburn Head Basketball Coach Bruce Pearl to Serve as Honorary Starter for YellaWood 500 – Auburn head basketball coach Bruce Pearl, who has guided the Tigers to over 150 wins in eight seasons, as well as the team’s first-ever appearance in the Final Four, will serve as the Honorary Starter for Sunday’s (Oct. 2) YellaWood 500 NASCAR Cup Series Playoffs race at Talladega Superspeedway.

“I am super excited to wave the green flag to start the YellaWood 500 at Talladega Superspeedway,” said Pearl, a Boston, Mass. native. “I can’t wait to see the speed of the cars plus see how the race teams will strategize to get to get a ‘W.’ I am thankful to the YellaWood team for giving me this opportunity.”

NASCAR Xfinity Series

Setting the stage for Talladega Superspeedway

The NASCAR Xfinity Series will be heading to Alabama next for what is sure to produce some of the craziest racing this season. The second race of the NASCAR Xfinity Series Playoffs Round of 12 will take place on Saturday, Oct. 1 with the Sparks 300 at 4 p.m. ET on the USA Network, the NBC Sports App, MRN and SiriusXM NASCAR radio.

The Sparks 300 this weekend will be the 34th NASCAR Xfinity Series race at Talladega Superspeedway. The previous 33 races have produced 27 different race winners and 22 different pole winners. Only three races have been won from the pole (or first starting position). The last time it happened was in 2020 when Justin Haley won from the pole. Haley is also the youngest winner in series history at Talladega at 21 years, one month and 23 days old.

Joe Nemechek is a known name at the track, currently sitting with the most races (22), poles (five), top 10s (nine), lead lap finishes (14), laps completed (2,153) and laps led (202). He is also tied with Joey Logano with most top fives (seven). The only record he does not hold is for most wins, which lies in the hands of Martin Truex Jr (three).

The most recent race at Talladega was earlier this season. Noah Gragson took the victory over Jeffrey Earnhardt after starting from the 19th position by a margin of victory of .131 seconds. Playoff drivers AJ Allmendinger and Ryan Sieg finished in the third and fourth place positions while Landon Cassill rounded out the top five.

If Gragson once again makes the trip to Victory Lane this Saturday for the Sparks 300, he will become the third driver in the track’s Xfinity Series history to post back-to-back wins, joining Martin Truex Jr. (2004, 2005, 2006) and Justin Haley (2020 sweep). Plus, he will be going for a NASCAR Xfinity Series unprecedented five consecutive victories, as he tied Sam Ard’s 1983 record of four straight wins with his victory last weekend at Texas. But Gragson is not the only former Talladega winner entered this weekend, the Las Vegas native is also joined by Jeb Burton and Brandon Brown.

The series will kick off their second Playoff race of the season with qualifying on Friday, Oct. 1 at 5:30 p.m. ET on the USA Network and streamed on the NBC Sports App.

Clinch Scenarios: Xfinity Series Playoff run continues

The NASCAR Xfinity Series will be taking on Talladega Superspeedway this weekend after eight of the 12 Playoff drivers finished in the top 10 at Texas Motor Speedway last weekend but it was only Noah Gragson, who grabbed the win and secured his spot in the Round of 8, leaving seven spots still up for grabs this weekend. As they continue in their battle for the championship, let’s take a look at clinch scenarios heading into this weekend:

Already Clinched

The following driver has clinched a spot in the eight-driver field of the next round: Noah Gragson.

Can clinch via points

If there is a repeat winner or a win by a driver who cannot advance to the next round, the following drivers could clinch by being 56 points above the 7th winless driver in the standings. The same point requirements listed below would hold true if a new win comes from among AJ Allmendinger, Ty Gibbs, Austin Hill, Josh Berry, Justin Allgaier or Sam Mayer.

  • AJ Allmendinger: Could only clinch with help
  • Ty Gibbs: Could only clinch with help
  • Austin Hill: Could only clinch with help
  • Josh Berry: Could only clinch with help
  • Justin Allgaier: Could only clinch with help
  • Sam Mayer: Could only clinch with help

If there is a new winner from Ryan Sieg or another winless driver lower in the standings but still eligible to advance to the next round, the following drivers could clinch by being 56 points above the 6th winless driver in the standings.

  • AJ Allmendinger: Could only clinch with help
  • Ty Gibbs: Could only clinch with help
  • Austin Hill: Could only clinch with help
  • Josh Berry: Could only clinch with help
  • Justin Allgaier: Could only clinch with help

Can clinch via win

The following drivers would clinch on their win alone: AJ Allmendinger, Ty Gibbs, Austin Hill, Josh Berry, Justin Allgaier, Sam Mayer, Ryan Sieg, Riley Herbst, Daniel Hemric, Brandon Jones, Jeremy Clements

Scouting the Playoff field at ‘Dega

In true superspeedway fashion, Talladega has produced some of the wildest, most unexpected racing and this weekend’s Xfinity Playoff race should be no different.

The NASCAR Xfinity Series Playoff drivers range in experience at Talladega Superspeedway, from vets to rookies, so let’s take a look at how they’ve handled the 2.66-mile track:

Noah Gragson: Already clinched into the Round of 8, he heads to Talladega with seven starts, one win (2022), three top fives and five top 10s.

AJ Allmendinger: Currently sitting in second in the Playoff standings, he has five starts, two top fives and three top 10s at the Alabama superspeedway. His most recent finish at the track is third.

Ty Gibbs: He heads to Talladega third in the Playoff rankings. He has one start at Talladega where he started in the third position but was caught in an incident on Lap 76 and finished in 35th.

Austin Hill: Heading into Talladega fourth in the Playoff rankings, Hill will be looking to redeem himself on the 2.66-mile track as both of his starts have resulted in crashes. Hill did win the season-opener at Daytona, though.

Josh Berry: Sitting in fifth in the Playoff standings, he goes into Talladega with three starts and one top 10 finish.

Justin Allgaier: Currently sixth in the Playoff rankings, he heads into Talladega with 14 starts, four top fives and seven top 10s under his belt.

Sam Mayer: Heads to Talladega sitting in seventh in the Playoff standings with two starts at the track (2021, 2022). Both races resulted in incidents that left him in 38th and 28th, respectively.

Ryan Sieg: Sits in eighth in Playoff points heading into this weekend, he has 11 starts at Talladega with three top fives and four top 10s. His most recent finish at the track is fourth.

Riley Herbst: Coming in at ninth in the Playoff rankings, he has five starts at the Alabama superspeedway with one top five and two top 10s.

Daniel Hemric: Last year’s Xfinity Series champ currently holds the 10th Playoff position and has six starts, two top fives and two top 10s at Talladega.

Brandon Jones: Currently in the 11th position, Jones heads to Talladega with nine starts, three top fives and three top 10s.

Jeremy Clements: In the final Playoff position (12th), Clements goes into this race weekend with 14 starts, one top five and two top 10s.

Fabulous Five: Gragson goes for unprecedented fifth straight Xfinity win

JR Motorsports’ superstar Noah Gragson not only claimed his seventh victory of the season last weekend at Texas Motor Speedway, but also his fourth victory in a row tying Sam Ard’s 1983 NASCAR Xfinity Series record. Now, the Las Vegas native has the opportunity to go for an unprecedented fifth straight win in the NASCAR Xfinity Series this weekend at Talladega Superspeedway.

Prior to the race at Texas Motor Speedway, Sam Ard was the only Xfinity Series driver to win four consecutive races, a feat he accomplished in 1983. The following season in 1984, he went on to once again manage wins in three back-to-back races. Other drivers to score three consecutive wins in the Xfinity Series are Christopher Bell, Kyle Busch, Austin Cindric, Dale Earnhardt Jr, Harry Grant, Mark Martin, Ryan Newman and Larry Pearson.

NASCAR Xfinity Series Consecutive Wins – Three or More (1982-2022)
Rank Drivers Consecutive Wins From To
1 Sam Ard 4 Saturday, September 17, 1983 Saturday, October 8, 1983
Noah Gragson 4 Saturday, September 3, 2022 Saturday, September 24, 2022
3 Sam Ard 3 Saturday, May 5, 1984 Saturday, May 19, 1984
Larry Pearson 3 Saturday, August 15, 1987 Sunday, August 30, 1987
Harry Gant 3 Friday, September 6, 1991 Saturday, October 5, 1991
Mark Martin 3 Saturday, February 22, 1997 Saturday, March 8, 1997
Dale Earnhardt Jr 3 Saturday, June 5, 1999 Sunday, June 27, 1999
Ryan Newman 3 Saturday, August 13, 2005 Friday, August 26, 2005
Kyle Busch 3 Saturday, April 5, 2008 Sunday, April 20, 2008
Kyle Busch 3 Saturday, March 16, 2013 Friday, April 12, 2013
Kyle Busch 3 Saturday, February 27, 2016 Saturday, March 12, 2016
Kyle Busch 3 Friday, July 8, 2016 Saturday, July 23, 2016
Christopher Bell 3 Friday, July 13, 2018 Saturday, July 28, 2018
Austin Cindric 3 Thursday, July 9, 2020 Saturday, July 18, 2020

Now that Gragson has tied the record for most consecutive wins at four, he will head to Talladega Superspeedway in hopes of surpassing Ard and holding the record himself. A win at Talladega is in Gragson’s reach considering he took the checkered flag when the Xfinity Series ran at the Alabama track earlier this season. In his seven starts, he has posted one win, three top fives and five top 10s.

NASCAR Xfinity Series, Etc.

Talladega: A place of firsts – A driver’s first win is always exciting but to win at an iconic track like Talladega is even more special. Only five drivers can claim that their first trip to Victory Lane was at Talladega Superspeedway – Greg Sacks (1996), David Ragan (2009), Justin Haley (2020), Jeb Burton (2021) and Brandon Brown (2021).

Some cannot claim a first win at the track, but they can flaunt a first pole – Bill Elliott (1993), Johnny Sauter (2002), Clint Bowyer (2004), Brad Coleman (2007), Travis Pastrana (2013), Matt Tifft (2016), Blake Koch (2017), Michael Annett (2019), and Jeffrey Earnhardt (2022).

NASCAR Camping World Truck Series

Camping World Truck Series Playoffs prepare for a wild Talladega race

After a week to regroup and go over strategy, the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series is kicking off a triple header weekend at none other than Talladega Superspeedway with the Chevy Silverado 250 on Saturday, Oct. 1 at 12:30 p.m. on FS1, MRN and SiriusXM NASCAR radio.

Talladega Superspeedway has participated in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series Playoffs since its inception into the series in 2016. The 2022 season marks the second time Talladega has hosted the fifth race in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series Playoffs (2021, 2022) and becomes the third different track to occupy the spot, joining Texas Motor Speedway (2016, 2017, 2018, 2020) and Martinsville Speedway (2019). This is the third different spot on the ANSCAR Camping World Truck Series Playoff Schedule Talladega Superspeedway has resided; from 2016 – 2018 and in 2020, the track played host to the third Playoff race (the elimination of the first round) then in 2019, Talladega hosted the fourth race on the postseason schedule. This season, it’s hosting the fifth.

The 2.66-mile superspeedway has hosted 16 Camping World Truck Series races, producing 11 different race winners and 14 different pole winners.

The NASCAR Camping World Truck Series last raced at Talladega in the 2021 postseason where fans saw Tate Fogleman make the trip to Victory Lane. On par with the craziness that comes with racing on superspeedways, all six previous Playoff races at Talladega Superspeedway have been won by non-playoff drivers – Tate Fogleman (2021), Raphael Lessard (2020), Spencer Boyd (2019), Timothy Peters (2018), Parker Kligerman (2017) and Grant Enfinger (2016).

The drivers will kick off their fifth Playoff weekend with qualifying at 3:30 p.m. ET on Friday, Sept. 30. Qualifying for the Truck Series will not be broadcast this weekend.

ThorSport Racing’s Ty Majeski is sitting pretty in ‘Dega

Not only did ThorSport Racing’s Ty Majeski score his first NASCAR national series victory two weeks ago at Bristol Motor Speedway, but he also claimed the first berth in the Championship 4 Round set to take place at Phoenix Raceway with the championship season finale on November 4. Now, the Wisconsin native heads to Talladega Superspeedway this weekend will get to breathe easy as he is the only postseason competitor locked into the next round.

The Talladega Superspeedway race on October 1 will be the first-time Majeski takes on the 2.66-mile track in the Camping World Truck Series. Although this will be a new track for him, he has proven he knows his way around a superspeedway. In the February season opener, he won the pole at Daytona and ultimately finished in the seventh position.

Clinch Scenarios: Three spots up for grabs at the ‘Wild Card’ Talladega Superspeedway

Ty Majeski made the trip to Victory Lane in the first race in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series Round of 8, so now drivers have just two opportunities – Talladega and Homestead-Miami – to claim their spot in the Championship 4 Round and join him. Plus, don’t forget at least one driver will make the Championship 4 Round on points making each finish in the final two races the much more imperative.

Already Clinched

The following driver has clinched a spot in the four-driver field of the next round: Ty Majeski.

Can Clinch Via Points

If there is a repeat winner or a win by a driver who cannot advance to the next round, the following drivers could clinch by being 56 points above the third winless driver in the standings. The same point requirements listed below would hold true if a new win comes from among Chandler Smith or Zane Smith.

  • Chandler Smith: Could only clinch with help
  • Zane Smith: Could only clinch with help

If there is a new winner from Stewart Friesen or another winless driver lower in the standings but still eligible to advance to the next round, the following drivers could clinch by being 56 points above the second winless driver in the standings.

  • Chandler Smith: Could only clinch with help

Can clinch via win

The following drivers would clinch on their win alone: Chandler Smith, Zane Smith, Stewart Friesen, John Hunter Nemechek, Christian Eckes, Grant Enfinger, Ben Rhodes.

Playoff Bubble: Nemechek, Eckes, Enfinger, Rhodes outside Champ 4 cutline

Looking at the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series Playoff standings following the Round of 8 opener at Bristol Motor Speedway, the postseason competitors are tasked with trying to make the Championship 4 Round with just two races to go. ThorSport Racing’s Ty Majeski won at Bristol two weeks ago and has clinched his spot in the next round leaving three spots still up for grabs.

Halmar Friesen Racing’s Stewart Friesen is currently ranked in the fourth and final transfer spot on points to the Championship 4 Round, up nine points on Kyle Busch Motorsport’s driver John H. Nemechek in fifth – the first spot outside the cutoff. Behind Nemechek is ThorSport Racing’s Christian Eckes in sixth (-13 points), then GMS Racing’s Grant Enfinger in seventh (-15 points) and ThorSport Racing’s driver and 2021 series champion Ben Rhodes in eighth (-18 points).

Examining the Camping World Truck Playoffs field for Talladega

When the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series returns to action at Talladega Superspeedway this weekend, expect some hard racing as a lot will be on the line. Below is a look at how the Round of 8 drivers have performed at Talladega Superspeedway:

Ty Majeski: He currently ranks first and has racked up 3,053 points heading into the Truck Series’ next race at Talladega Superspeedway. This will be his first start at the Alabama track.

Chandler Smith: He sits second in the standings with 3,076 points. He has two starts at Talladega with one top five and one top 10 finish.

Zane Smith: He is currently in third with 3,073 points. He has given the 2.066-mile superspeedway a go twice and finished 33rd in both races.

Stewart Friesen: He comes in the next race in fourth with 3,061 points. He has five starts at the track with one top five and two top 10 finishes.

John Hunter Nemechek: He sits fifth in the standings and has accumulated 3,052 points. In his six starts at Talladega, he has posted one top five and two top 10s.

Christian Eckes: He is sixth in the rankings and is going into the next Playoff race with 3,048 points. He has had one stint at Talladega Superspeedway, and he finished in the 18th position.

Grant Enfinger: He currently ranks seventh and has 3,046 points. He has eight starts at the Alabama track with one win (2016), two top fives and three top 10s.

Ben Rhodes: He takes up the final Playoff spot with 3,043 points. He has six starts at Talladega with one top five and one top 10 finish.

NASCAR Camping World Truck Series, Etc.

Who is next? Six different winners in as many races at Talladega – Heading into this weekend at Talladega Superspeedway the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series is riding a streak of different winners at the 2.66-mile track that dates back to 2016 with six different winners in the last six races. So, who is next?

Five former Talladega Truck Series winners are entered this weekend – Parker Kligerman (two wins), Johnny Sauter, Grant Enfinger, Tate Fogleman and Spencer Boyd (each have one win).

Natalie Decker to run at Talladega – Natalie Decker, the highest finishing female in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series with a fifth-place finish at Daytona in 2020, is set to get behind the wheel of the No. 43 for Reaume Brothers Racing at Talladega Superspeedway on Oct 1.

“We have been working with Natalie for a while now, and we are all really excited to have her drive our #43 truck at Talladega. She brings a lot of great energy to the track and shop, which is very contagious, and we are looking forward to giving her a great opportunity when she returns to the Truck Series come October,” said team owner Josh Reaume. “I am very confident in Natalie that she will do an awesome job at Talladega.”

Decker has made 32 career Truck Series starts posting one top-five and one top-10 finish. She made her series track debut at Talladega in 2019; she started 19th and finished 16th.

Parker Retzlaff will make Camping World Truck Series career debut at Talladega – Young’s Motorsports has tapped driver Parker Retzlaff to pilot their No. 20 Chevrolet this weekend at Talladega Superspeedway. With crew chief Andrew Abbott on the box, Retzlaff will attempt to make his first career NASCAR Camping World Truck Series career start.

Retzlaff will look to become the 16th different driver to make his series career debut at Talladega and the first in the series at the 2.66-mile track since Vinnie Miller in 2017.

— NASCAR —