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Talladega 101: TV times, tires, rules package in play this weekend

The anticipation and excitement is through the roof as the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series gears up for Talladega Superspeedway, site of Sunday’s GEICO 500.

Here’s everything you need to know for Sunday’s showdown in Sweet Home Alabama.

RELATED: Full Talladega schedule | Who’s the favorite?

TRACK DETAILS

Talladega Superspeedway is a 2.66-mile tri-oval with 33 degrees of banking in Turns 1 and 2, 33 degrees of banking in Turns 3 and 4, 16 degrees of banking in the tri-oval and 3 degrees of banking at the start-finish line.

RULES PACKAGE

Teams will use the 2019 rules package with new tweaks specifically tailored for superspeedway racing at Talladega. The package includes a 0.922-inch tapered spacer (replacing the restrictor plate), 9-inch rear spoiler, 1-inch bolt-on track bar mount (raising the rear of the car by an inch), a tapered radiator pan, two-inch splitter overhang and aero ducts.

The spoiler and rear-end aerodynamic guidelines were altered after a two-day, three-car test session at Daytona International Speedway following this year’s Daytona 500. Findings from that three-car session prompted NASCAR officials to increase the height of the rear spoiler from 8 to 9 inches, along with the track-bar mount addition to create more drag in an effort to slow the cars down.

Cup Series teams also will participate with a new left-side tire compound for the Goodyear Eagle superspeedway radial, a construction update that makes its debut this weekend. The update was recommended after the two-day test at Daytona in February. Teams will be provided with two sets of tires for practice, one set for qualifying and seven sets for Sunday’s race — six race sets plus one set transferred from qualifying or practice.

“While we actually see some tire wear at Talladega, it still leaves room for some team and pit strategy,” said Greg Stucker, Goodyear’s director of racing. “When to pit, with whom and how many tires to take all come into the equation for teams to consider this weekend. And adding in a rules package that Cup teams will be running for the first time, should make for some interesting racing.”

STATS

Team Penske has seven Talladega wins, with all seven coming in the last 14 races. Brad Keselowski and Joey Logano have collectively won six of the last nine races at Talladega, claiming three apiece.

A Team Penske driver led the most laps in four of the last six races at Talladega, while the organization has also led 412 of the 1,140 laps raced at Talladega in the last six races.

Ford Performance also owns the last seven victories at Talladega dating back to Joey Logano’s win in October 2015 — their longest streak of consecutive wins at the Alabama track.

Stats courtesy of Racing Insights

LIVE COVERAGE

The GEICO 500 will air on FOX, MRN and SiriusXM NASCAR Radio at 2 p.m. ET on Sunday, April 28. Fans can also follow along on the live leaderboard on NASCAR.com, get in-car audio on RaceView and watch in-car cameras on NASCAR Drive. Be sure to set your Fantasy Live lineup and sub in your garage pick (if needed) before the end of Stage 2 when rosters lock for good.

2018 RACE WINNER

After starting ninth, 2018 Monster Energy Series champion Joey Logano led 70 laps, including the final 48 circuits, to earn his third career Talladega victory in last year’s GEICO 500. Logano held off Kurt Busch and Chase Elliott in the closing laps for the triumph.

ACTIVE TALLADEGA WINNERS

DRIVER WINS
Brad Keselowski 5
Joey Logano 3
Clint Bowyer 2
Jimmie Johnson 2
Kyle Busch 1
Denny Hamlin 1
Kevin Harvick 1
David Ragan 1
Ricky Stenhouse Jr. 1
Aric Almirola 1