|Earnhardt won spring Dega race|
TALLADEGA, AL – With the field officially set for the 2015 Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup, the 16 drivers can begin looking ahead to the races and tracks they think will prove most pivotal in deciding this year's champion. Talladega Superspeedway and its Alabama 500 Weekend coming up Oct. 23-25 will once again rank high on all their lists.
The track's fall event, the Alabama 500 starting at 1:30 p.m. CDT on Sunday, Oct. 25, will serve as the final race of the Contender Round in which the Chase field will be narrowed from 12 competitors to eight at the checkered flag. All of the drivers in the Chase have extensive experience at Talladega Superspeedway, some with more success than others.
What follows in order of the Chase Standings, are brief looks at Talladega Superspeedway stats for each Chase driver:
- Jimmie Johnson, No. 48 Chevrolet driver for Hendrick Motorsports, has claimed two wins at Talladega Superspeedway (2006 & 2011) – one of which (2011) made the Talladega and NASCAR record books by finishing just .002 second ahead of Clint Bowyer for the closest finish in history. In 27 career starts at TSS Johnson has claimed four poles, 11 top-ten finishes and seven top-five finishes (including this past spring at the GEICO 500 when he was runner-up to Dale Earnhardt, Jr.). He is making his 12th Chase appearance.
- Kyle Busch, No. 18 Toyota driver for Joe Gibbs Racing, won his only NSCS race at TSS in April 2008 and has recorded four top-five finishes in 20 starts. He also is the only active driver to win in all three of NASCAR’s top three Series at TSS. He has also triumphed in two fred’s 250 Powered By Coca-Cola NASCAR Camping World Truck Series (NCWTS) races, and has gone to Gatorade Victory Lane once in the NASCAR XFINITY Series. He is making his eighth Chase appearance.
- Matt Kenseth, No. 20 Toyota driver for Joe Gibbs Racing, avoided "The Big One" to record his only Talladega NSCS win in October 2012 and has claimed six top-five finishes, with the last being a runner-up spot at last fall’s Alabama 500, as well as 11 top-ten finishes in 31 career starts. He is making his 11th Chase appearance.
- Joey Logano, No. 22 Ford driver for Team Penske, made his first Talladega appearance in an ARCA race in 2008 and since then he has recorded two NSCS top-five finishes in 13 career starts. His greatest success has come in the XFINITY Series where he has two wins and six top-five finishes in six career races, including winning the Winn-Dixie 300 in May. He is making his third Chase appearance.
- Kevin Harvick, No. 4 Chevrolet driver for Stewart-Haas Racing, has one NSCS win (in April 2010), six top-five finishes and 13 top-ten finishes in 29 career starts at Talladega. The reigning 2014 NASCAR Sprint Cup champion is making his ninth Chase appearance.
- Dale Earnhardt Jr., No. 88 Chevrolet driver for Hendrick Motorsports, posted his sixth career NSCS win in the 2015 GEICO 500 in May tying teammate Jeff Gordon as winningest active driver at TSS. Earnhardt, Jr. holds the track record with four consecutive victories from 2001-2003. He has recorded 11 top-five finishes and 15 top-ten finishes in 31 career starts. He is making his eighth Chase appearance.
- Kurt Busch, No. 41 Haas Automation Chevrolet driver for Stewart-Haas Racing, does not have a NSCS win in 29 career starts at Talladega, but he has an IROC victory, six top-five finishes and 14 top-ten finishes. He is making his ninth Chase appearance.
- Carl Edwards, No. 19 ARRIS Toyota driver for Joe Gibbs Racing, is currently still searching for his first win at Talladega, but he has claimed two top-five finishes and five top-10 finishes in 22 career starts. He is making his ninth Chase appearance.
- Brad Keselowski, No. 2 Miller Lite Ford driver for Team Penske, recorded his first NASCAR career victory at Talladega in 2009 and found Victory Lane again in 2012 and 2014. He has four top-five finishes and seven top-ten finishes in 13 career starts. He also has one NASCAR XFINITY Series win to his credit. More importantly, he came into the Alabama 500 a year ago having to win to advance to the Eliminator Round of the Chase. He accomplished the feat in dramatic style. He is making his fourth Chase appearance.
- Martin Truex Jr., No. 78 Chevrolet driver for Furniture Row Racing, is still searching for that ride into Gatorade Victory Lane here at Talladega in NSCS competition; he has just two top-five’s and six top-ten finishes in 21 starts at the track. Truex Jr. has been more successful in the XFINITY Series here at TSS with three victories, all of which were consecutive from 2004-2006. He is making his third Chase appearance.
- Denny Hamlin, No. 11 Toyota Camry driver for Joe Gibbs Racing, recorded his only NSCS victory at Talladega in May 2014. He has four top-five finishes and seven top-ten finishes in 19 career starts. He is making his ninth Chase appearance.
- Jamie McMurray, No. 1 Chevrolet driver for Chip Ganassi Racing, who is making his first Chase appearance, has NSCS wins at Talladega in 2009 and 2013, both in the fall event. He has also claimed six top-five finishes and seven top-ten finishes in 26 career starts to his credit as well.
- Jeff Gordon, No. 24 Chevrolet driver for Hendrick Motorsports, has recorded six NSCS victories (tied with Dale Earnhardt Jr. with most active driver wins at TSS) and four poles in 45 career starts at Talladega. He has 15 top-five finishes and 19 top-ten finishes. He is making his 11th Chase appearance.
- Ryan Newman, No. 31 Chevrolet driver for Richard Childress Racing, is still on the hunt for a win at TSS but has recorded five top-five’s and 11 top-ten finishes in 27 career starts. He is making his seventh Chase appearance. His car owner, Richard Childress, is tied with Rick Hendrick as the all-time Talladega Superspeedway winning team owner with 12 victories.
- Paul Menard, No. 27 Chevrolet driver for Richard Childress Racing is another driver making his first Chase appearance. Although he has not had a NSCS victory at Talladega yet, he has claimed three top-five’s and three top-ten finishes in 18 career NSCS starts. He does, however, have a victory under his belt in the ARCA Racing Series during his Talladega Superspeedway debut in Sept. 2003.
- Clint Bowyer, No. 15 Toyota Camry driver for Michael Waltrip Racing, recorded NSCS wins at Talladega Superspeedway in 2010 and 2011, and has six top-five finishes and 10 top-ten finishes in 19 career starts at Talladega. He is making his sixth Chase appearance.
Who will advance in the Chase at the conclusion of the Alabama 500? Find out by being a part of an incredible weekend that will also feature the fred’s 250 Powered by Coca-Cola NASCAR Camping World Truck Series race on Saturday, Oct. 24. Practice sessions for both races kick off the weekend on Friday, Oct. 23, then qualifying for both series on Saturday. For ticket information, call the track ticket office at 1-877-Go2-DEGA or visit www.talladegasuperspeedway.com