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Snapshot: Talladega preview

May 04, 2014, Kenny Bruce,

Catch up quickly before Sunday's running of the Aaron's 499

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What: 45th Annual Aaron’s 499
Where: Talladega Superspeedway
When: Sunday, May 4, 2014
TV/Radio: FOX, MRN (on air, 12:30 p.m. ET)
Distance: 188 laps (500.08 miles)
Time: 1 p.m. ET


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Pit road speed: 55 mph
Caution car speed
: 70 mph 

On the front row
1. Brian Scott, Circle Sport Racing No. 33 Chevrolet (198.290 mph)
2. Paul Menard, Richard Childress Racing No. 27 Chevrolet (197.888 mph)

Failed to qualify
Dave Blaney
(Randy Humphrey Racing No. 77 Ford); Joe Nemechek (Nemco Motorsports No. 87 Toyota); Eric McClure (Front Row Motorsports No. 35 Ford); JJ Yeley (Xxxtreme Motorsports No. 44 Chevrolet)

Start first, finish first
Jeff Gordon
is the last driver to win from the pole at Talladega (April 29, 2007)

Situational luck?
Brian Scott is a NASCAR Nationwide Series regular. He'll be making his fifth career Cup start on Sunday. And he’ll start on the pole. His previous best Cup qualifying effort was 14th at Daytona earlier this year. "Normally as a rookie you don't come into this … series and expect to get the pole. But it just happened. … It's really just situational luck when it comes to this group qualifying at the superspeedways," he said.

Fastest in practice
First Practice: Martin Truex Jr., Furniture Row Racing No. 78 Chevrolet (200.721 mph)
Second Practice: Trevor Bayne, Wood Brothers Racing No. 21 Ford (199.015 mph)

The big and not-so-big

The 1973 Winston 500 featured the largest field (60 cars) to ever start a Cup race at Talladega. David Pearson (Wood Brothers Racing) won the event. The smallest Cup field at Talladega (36) was on track in the inaugural event held Sept. 14, 1969. Richard Brickhouse was the winner. 

Driver rating
Best driver rating average at Talladega based on past 18 races:
Ricky Stenhouse Jr.
, 94.7 (two starts)
Matt Kenseth
, 91.6 (18 starts)

Playing it safe
Six-time Cup champion Jimmie Johnson will start 20th, and is winless through the season's first nine races. The Hendrick Motorsports driver said his No. 48 team's gameplan for the new knockout qualifying at Talladega was simple. "We just didn't want to be 43rd," Johnson said. "We didn't have any intentions of trying to go out and sit on the pole today. We want to save this race car. We didn't want to be caught up in any chaos."

Defending Aaron'as 499 champion
David Ragan
, Front Row Motorsports No. 34 Ford 

Former Talladega winners in field
Jeff Gordon (6); Dale Earnhardt Jr. (5); Clint Bowyer, Jimmie Johnson, Terry Labonte, Jamie McMurray, Brad Keselowski (2); David Ragan, Tony Stewart, Brian Vickers, Michael Waltrip, Matt Kenseth, Kevin Harvick, Kyle Busch (1).

Fantasy sleeper, presented by RotoWire
Michael Waltrip.
The owner of the No. 66 Toyota will slip behind the wheel for the first time since the season-opening Daytona 500. It will be a shot at redemption after his crash and 41st-place finish in the Great American Race. Waltrip's super speedway racing skills need no introduction. With three career Daytona wins and one career Talladega win, Waltrip has been one of the most successful restrictor-plate competitors of the last decade.


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