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Dominating ‘Dega: Hendrick Motorsports vs. Team Penske

Despite the late drama and heart-stopping moments associated with much of the history at Talladega Superspeedway, Hendrick Motorsports and Team Penske have achieved dominant and largely unrivaled success.

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Since the team’s inception in 1984, Hendrick Motorsports drivers have controlled races at Talladega, notching the most wins (13) and the most laps led (2,809) all-time in the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series. Nearly half of those wins belong to NASCAR Hall of Famer Jeff Gordon, who won six times throughout his legendary career.

While current Hendrick drivers William Byron and Alex Bowman have yet to win at Talladega, the team still holds the record for the most different drivers to win at the track with seven. Seven-time Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series champion Jimmie Johnson is tied for third among active drivers and second in the team’s history with a pair of Talladega wins under his belt.

Known for elite speed and front-running consistency, Hendrick Motorsports also holds the all-time record at Talladega for the most poles (12), wins (13), runner-up finishes (14), top fives (58), top 10s (87) and highest average finish (18.31). In the last 17 speedway races, a Hendrick driver has won the pole 11 times, with the team sweeping starting positions one through four at the 2019 Daytona 500.

Though winless, both Byron and Bowman have finished inside the top three once each in the last two superspeedway races, with Bowman finishing runner-up at Talladega to teammate Chase Elliott in the spring. Byron finished second to Justin Haley at Daytona this summer.

Outside of Elliott’s recent trip to Victory Lane, Team Penske has enjoyed the most wins as of late, led by a dominating string of performances from Joey Logano and Brad Keselowski. The Penske pair have combined to win six of the last 10 at Talladega, including four of the last five elimination format playoff races dating back to 2014.

Logano has been especially impressive, posting one of the best runs of his career at any track. In his last eight races at Talladega, he has three wins, six top fives and has led a total of 247 laps. His most recent win there came in the spring of 2018.

In spite of his teammate’s recent success, Keselowski has perhaps been the most effective and consistent at Talladega throughout his career. Keselowski leads all active drivers with five wins at Talladega, three of which he won on a last-lap pass. Those five wins slot him into fourth place all-time behind Dale Earnhardt, Jeff Gordon and Dale Earnhardt Jr.

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As the Round of 12 continues Monday in the 500 (2 p.m. ET on NBCSN/NBC Sports App, MRN, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio), three playoff drivers between both organizations are currently on the outside looking in: Joey Logano, Chase Elliott and Ryan Blaney. After struggling last Sunday at Dover, the trio need a big weekend to fight their way in and secure a place in the Round of Eight. Logano and Elliott both have recent victories at the track, while Blaney remains winless there in his career.

Consistent track position ahead of the pack and staying damage-free will be important, as four of the last five Talladega Playoff races ended in an overtime finish with the winner leading less than 10 laps each of the last two times.

Source: Racing Insights