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Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Talladega Speedway — by the numbers

— Construction began on what was then known as the Alabama International Motor Speedway on May 23, 1968.
— The first NASCAR Sprint Cup race was held on Sept. 14, 1969.
— The name changed to Talladega Superspeedway in 1989.
— Fourth repaving completed on Sept. 19, 2006.

— There have been 85 NASCAR Sprint Cup races at Talladega Superspeedway since the track opened in 1969; two a year every year except the inaugural season, which had just one.
— Richard Brickhouse won the first NASCAR Sprint Cup race.
— Bobby Isaac won the first NASCAR Sprint Cup pole in September 1969. Isaac won the first three poles there.
— 35 different drivers have won poles. Bill Elliott leads all drivers with eight poles.
— 41 different drivers have posted victories, led by Dale Earnhardt Sr. (10). Twenty drivers have won more than once.
— Jeff Gordon leads all other active drivers in victories, with six. Dale Earnhardt Jr. is second among active drivers in victories with five.
— Richard Childress Racing has won more than any other organization at Talladega with 12 wins.
— 33 of 85 races have been won from a top-two starting positions, including 13 from the pole; 23 have been won from a starting position outside the top 10. The most recent driver to win from the pole was Jeff Gordon in 2007 (spring).
— The furthest back in the field a race winner started was 36th, by Jeff Gordon in 2000.
— Mark Martin’s pace in the 1997 spring race set an all-time NASCAR Sprint Cup record for the fastest race ever. He won the caution-free race with an average speed of 188.354 mph and covered the 500-mile distance in two hours, 39 minutes and 18 seconds.
— The 2010 spring race set the all-time and track records for lead changes (88) and lap leaders (29). Last season’s spring race tied the 2010 record for most lead changes with 88 (amongst 26 lap leaders). The previous highs were 75 lead changes (set on May 6, 1984) and 28 lap leaders (set on Oct. 5, 2008). Both previous records also were set at Talladega.
— Dale Earnhardt Jr. had four consecutive victories (October 2001 through April 2003), the most ever by a driver there. Buddy Baker (three – May 1975 through May 1976) is the only other driver to win more than two consecutive races there.
— Since the inception of electronic scoring in 1993, every race that has ended under green has had a margin of victory under half a second.
— The 2011 spring race tied the 03/16/2003 Darlington race won by Ricky Craven for the all-time record of the closest series finish (0.002 seconds) since the inception of electronic scoring.
— Youngest NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Talladega Superspeedway winner: Bobby Hillin Jr. (07/27/1986 – 22 years, 1 month, 22 days).
— Oldest NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Talladega Superspeedway winner: Harry Gant (05/06/1991 – 51 years, 3 months, 26 days)

Talladega Superspeedway Data
Race #: 10 of 36 (05-06-12)
Track Size: 2.66 miles
Race Length: 500 miles
— Banking/corners: 33 degrees
— Banking/Frontstretch: 16.5 degrees
— Banking/Backstretch: 2 degrees
— Frontstretch: 4,300 feet
— Backstretch: 4,000 feet

Top 12 Driver Rating at Talladega
Jeff Burton — 91.3
Dale Earnhardt Jr — 90.2
Denny Hamlin — 88.7
Joey Logano — 88.6
Brian Vickers — 87.3
David Ragan — 87.1
Kurt Busch — 86.2
Tony Stewart — 84.3
Matt Kenseth — 83.7
Jeff Gordo — 82.6
Jimmie Johnson — 81.9
Juan Pablo Montoya — 81.8
Note: Driver Rating compiled from 2005-2011 races (14 total) at Talladega.

Qualifying/Race Data
2011 pole winner: Jeff Gordon, 178.248 mph, 53.723 seconds
2011 race winner: Jimmie Johnson, (156.261 mph, 04-17-11)
Track qualifying record: Bill Elliott (212.809 mph, 44.998 seconds, 04-30-87)
Track race record: Mark Martin (188.354 mph, 05-10-97)

NASCAR in Alabama
— There have been 104 NASCAR Sprint Cup races in Alabama.
— 66 drivers in NASCAR’s three national series (all-time) have their home state recorded as Alabama.
— There have been seven race winners from Alabama in NASCAR’s three national series:
Bobby Allison
Davey Allison
Neil Bonnett
Donnie Allison
Red Byron
Steve Grissom
Rick Crawford

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