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April 20, 2023

Talladega 101: Trends to watch, rule changes, tire notes


Multiple cars race down the frontstretch at Talladega Superspeedway.
Chris Graythen
Getty Images

The playing field is leveled this weekend as the NASCAR Cup Series visits Talladega Superspeedway for Sunday’s GEICO 500 (3 p.m. ET, FOX, MRN, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio).

Before the action gets underway this weekend in Alabama, check out the trends to watch for the race, notable moments from NASCAR’s biggest race track and the on-track times and TV info for the Cup Series.

RELATED: Odds for Sunday | See the paint schemes for Talladega

SEIZE THE OPPORTUNITY

A superspeedway race opens the door for any one of the full-time Cup Series drivers to score a victory and secure a provisional playoff spot early in the 2023 season.

Among those seeking their first win of the season and snapping a lengthy winless streak is Ryan Blaney. The eight-year Cup veteran has gone 55 races since his last checkered flag at Daytona International Speedway in the regular-season finale of 2021. Blaney has seen a mixed bag of results so far in 2023 with three of his last four results placing him outside the top 20. After ending that slump with a top 1o at Martinsville, the driver of the No. 12 Team Penske Ford has momentum heading to a track where he’s one of the best at. A winner of two of the last seven Talladega races, Blaney is projected by Racing Insights to end his winless streak Sunday.

📉 TRENDS TO WATCH 📈

— The last five Talladega races were won by five different organizations.

— The driver who led the most laps has failed to win the last five Talladega races.

— Thirty-one Talladega races were won with a last-lap pass, including five of the last six races and both in 2022.

— Twelve drivers got their first Cup win at Talladega. For six of those drivers, it was their only win.

(Via Racing Insights)

NOTABLE MOMENTS 🎥

2009: Carl Edwards goes for wild ride as Keselowski wins first career Cup race | WATCH

2010: Harvick slings past McMurray in tri-oval to steal win | WATCH

2011: Johnson wins four-wide photo finish | WATCH

2015: Dale Jr. wins ‘Dega for first time in 11 years | WATCH

ON-TRACK SCHEDULE 🗓️

Saturday, April 22

— 10:30 a.m. ET: Qualifying (FS1)

Sunday, April 23

— 3 p.m. ET: GEICO 500 (FOX, MRN, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio)

MORE: Full weekend schedule at Talladega

RULE CHANGES/GOODYEAR TIRE NOTES 🛞

No practice will take place this weekend which was adopted for all superspeedway races this season at Talladega, Daytona and Atlanta.

The GEICO Restart Zone returned to its 2022 dimensions after it was extended for the first five races of this season.

The Cup Series will run the same tire setup that was used for both Talladega races last season. Teams will have one set for qualifying on Saturday and seven sets of tires total for Sunday’s race.

In the event of a lost wheel that is contained to pit road, the offending team will be subject to a pass-through penalty under green-flag conditions. If the infraction occurs during a caution period, the offending team will restart at the tail end of the field.

If the wheel breaks free outside of pit road, the new rules guidelines mandate a two-lap penalty, plus a two-race suspension for two crew members. Each penalty is series-specific: Violations in one series will not impact those crew members’ eligibility to participate in other series.

On Wednesday, NASCAR suspended Chris Jackson (rear tire changer) and David Smith (jack) of the No. 78 Cup Series team because of the loss of a tire/wheel last weekend at Martinsville Speedway.

RELATED: See rules changes for 2023

FAN REWARDS 🫵

For the Talladega Cup race, three codes will be given out during each stage of the broadcast that fans can enter to earn additional points. If fans enter all three codes they’ll be entered into a sweepstakes to win a trip to the 2024 Daytona 500.

NASCAR Fan Rewards is a free program that rewards fans for participating in the action when they watch races and play NASCAR Fantasy. There’s no cost to join. Fans must be 18 years or older to participate in the program.

Earn points by checking into a race from home or at the track, setting your Fantasy Live lineup, making purchases on the NASCAR.com shop and more. Points can be redeemed for race tickets, merchandise and VIP experiences at the track, including pace car rides and waving the green flag at qualifying.

JOIN TODAY

FANTASY LIVE 🏆

Want to manage a team and race your way to the top of the leaderboards? Check out NASCAR Fantasy Live, which is open now. The free-to-play game lets you choose your drivers each week and show off your crew-chief instincts by garaging a driver by the end of Stage 2, and there is a $25,000 prize for the winner.

How to play: Fantasy Live | Set up a team today!

ALSO ON NASCAR.COM 💻

Get additional camera views by logging on to NASCAR Drive, where each week, in-car cameras will be available — as well as a battle cam and an overhead look.

NASCAR has partnered with LiveLike to add fan engagement to the NASCAR Mobile App. Log in to the mobile app during the race for polls, quizzes, the cheer meter and more — and see instant results from NASCAR fans like you.

MUST WATCH