GEICO 500

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"Talladega 500" redirects here. For the race held in April 2001, see Aaron's 499.
GEICO 500
Venue Talladega Superspeedway
First race 1969
Distance 500.08 miles (804.8 km)
Laps 188
Previous names Talladega 500 (1969-1987)
Talladega DieHard 500 (1988-1989)
DieHard 500 (1990-1997)
Winston 500 (1998-2000)
EA Sports 500 (2001-2004)
UAW-Ford 500 (2005-2007)
AMP Energy 500 (2008-2009)
AMP Energy Juice 500 (2010)
Good Sam Club 500 (2011)
Good Sam Roadside Assistance 500 (2012)
Camping World RV Sales 500 (2013)
GEICO 500 (2014-present)

The GEICO 500[1] is a NASCAR Sprint Cup Series stock car race held at Talladega Superspeedway in Talladega, Alabama. The race is one of four Sprint Cup races currently run with restrictor plates, the others being the Aaron's 499, the Coke Zero 400, and the Daytona 500. Through 1996, this race was normally held in early August or late July. In 1997, it was moved to early October due to the uncomfortably hot summer temperatures, and sometimes unpredictable summertime thunderstorms in the Alabama area. In 2009, the race moved again, this time to November 1 as part of a realignment agreement with Atlanta and Fontana (where Fontana earned a race in the Chase and Atlanta gained the Labor Day weekend race).

In 1998, the name of the race was swapped with that of the Talladega spring race. The fall race became known as the Winston 500 for three years in order to promote the Winston No Bull 5 program.

This race has been on average the most consistently competitive in NASCAR history. The race has broken 40 official lead changes in 1971, 1973, 1975-8, 1983-4, 1989, 2000, and every year since 2003; in 14 of these, the race exceeded 50 lead changes, most recently in 2013 with 52, and in 2010 the race reached 87 lead changes, one short of the motorsports record set in April. The 2012 race, run on October 7, featured 54 lead changes and a 25-car crash on the final lap; Dale Earnhardt, Jr. suffered a concussion after the race.

Past winners[edit]

Year Date Driver Team Manufacturer Race Distance Race Time Average Speed
(mph)
Report
Laps Miles (km)
1969 September 14 Richard Brickhouse Ray Nichels Dodge 188 500.08 (804.8) 3:15:07 153.778 Report
1970 August 23 Pete Hamilton Petty Enterprises Plymouth 188 500.08 (804.8) 3:09:17 158.517 Report
1971 August 22 Bobby Allison Holman-Moody Mercury 188 500.08 (804.8) 3:25:38 145.945 Report
1972 August 6 James Hylton James Hylton Mercury 188 500.08 (804.8) 3:22:09 148.728 Report
1973 August 12 Dick Brooks Crawford Brothers Plymouth 188 500.08 (804.8) 3:26:17 145.454 Report
1974 August 11 Richard Petty Petty Enterprises Dodge 188 500.08 (804.8) 3:21:52 148.637 Report
1975 August 17 Buddy Baker Bud Moore Engineering Ford 188 500.08 (804.8) 3:49:14 130.892 Report
1976 August 8 Dave Marcis Nord Krauskopf Dodge 188 500.08 (804.8) 3:10:27 157.547 Report
1977 August 7 Donnie Allison Ellington Racing Chevrolet 188 500.08 (804.8) 3:04:37 162.524 Report
1978 August 6 Lennie Pond Ranier-Lundy Oldsmobile 188 500.08 (804.8) 2:51:43 174.7 Report
1979 August 5 Darrell Waltrip DiGard Motorsports Oldsmobile 188 500.08 (804.8) 3:06:06 161.229 Report
1980 August 3 Neil Bonnett Wood Brothers Racing Mercury 188 500.08 (804.8) 2:59:47 166.894 Report
1981 August 2 Ron Bouchard Race Hill Farm Team Buick 188 500.08 (804.8) 3:11:24 156.737 Report
1982 August 1 Darrell Waltrip Junior Johnson & Associates Buick 188 500.08 (804.8) 2:58:26 168.157 Report
1983 July 31 Dale Earnhardt Bud Moore Engineering Ford 188 500.08 (804.8) 2:55:52 170.611 Report
1984 July 29 Dale Earnhardt Richard Childress Racing Chevrolet 188 500.08 (804.8) 3:12:04 155.485 Report
1985 July 28 Cale Yarborough Ranier-Lundy Ford 188 500.08 (804.8) 3:21:41 148.772 Report
1986 July 27 Bobby Hillin, Jr. Stavola Brothers Racing Buick 188 500.08 (804.8) 3:17:59 151.522 Report
1987 July 26 Bill Elliott Melling Racing Ford 188 500.08 (804.8) 2:55:10 171.293 Report
1988 July 31 Ken Schrader Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet 188 500.08 (804.8) 3:14:12 154.505 Report
1989 July 30 Terry Labonte Junior Johnson & Associates Ford 188 500.08 (804.8) 3:10:41 157.354 Report
1990 July 29 Dale Earnhardt Richard Childress Racing Chevrolet 188 500.08 (804.8) 2:52:01 174.43 Report
1991 July 28 Dale Earnhardt Richard Childress Racing Chevrolet 188 500.08 (804.8) 3:23:35 147.383 Report
1992 July 26 Ernie Irvan Morgan-McClure Motorsports Chevrolet 188 500.08 (804.8) 3:05:11 176.309 Report
1993 July 25 Dale Earnhardt Richard Childress Racing Chevrolet 188 500.08 (804.8) 3:15:01 153.858 Report
1994 July 24 Jimmy Spencer Junior Johnson & Associates Ford 188 500.08 (804.8) 3:03:50 163.217 Report
1995 July 23 Sterling Marlin Morgan-McClure Motorsports Chevrolet 188 500.08 (804.8) 2:53:15 173.188 Report
1996 July 28 Jeff Gordon Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet 129* 343.14 (552.23) 2:34:21 133.387 Report
1997 October 12 Terry Labonte Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet 188 500.08 (804.8) 3:11:36 156.601 Report
1998 October 11 Dale Jarrett Robert Yates Racing Ford 188 500.08 (804.8) 3:08:20 159.318 Report
1999 October 17 Dale Earnhardt Richard Childress Racing Chevrolet 188 500.08 (804.8) 3:00:04 166.632 Report
2000 October 15 Dale Earnhardt* Richard Childress Racing Chevrolet 188 500.08 (804.8) 3:01:06 165.681 Report
2001 October 21 Dale Earnhardt, Jr. Dale Earnhardt, Inc. Chevrolet 188 500.08 (804.8) 3:02:45 164.185 Report
2002 October 6 Dale Earnhardt, Jr. Dale Earnhardt, Inc. Chevrolet 188 500.08 (804.8) 2:43:22 183.665 Report
2003 September 28 Michael Waltrip Dale Earnhardt, Inc. Chevrolet 188 500.08 (804.8) 3:12:17 156.045 Report
2004 October 3 Dale Earnhardt, Jr. Dale Earnhardt, Inc. Chevrolet 188 500.08 (804.8) 3:11:12 156.929 Report
2005 October 2 Dale Jarrett Robert Yates Racing Ford 190* 505.4 (813.362) 3:30:51 143.818 Report
2006 October 8 Brian Vickers Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet 188 500.08 (804.8) 3:10:23 157.602 Report
2007 October 7 Jeff Gordon Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet 188 500.08 (804.8) 3:29:11 143.438 Report
2008 October 5 Tony Stewart Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota 190* 505.4 (813.362) 3:36:10 140.281 Report
2009 November 1 Jamie McMurray Roush Fenway Racing Ford 191* 508.06 (817.643) 3:13:54 157.213 Report
2010 October 31 Clint Bowyer Richard Childress Racing Chevrolet 188 500.08 (804.8) 3:03:23 163.618 Report
2011 October 23 Clint Bowyer Richard Childress Racing Chevrolet 188 500.08 (804.8) 3:29:14 143.404 Report
2012 October 7 Matt Kenseth Roush Fenway Racing Ford 189* 502.74 (809.081) 2:56:12 171.194 Report
2013 October 20 Jamie McMurray Earnhardt Ganassi Racing Chevrolet 188 500.08 (804.8) 2:47:49 178.795 Report

Multiple winners (drivers)[edit]

# Wins Driver Years Won
7 Dale Earnhardt 1983, 1984, 1990, 1991, 1993, 1999, 2000
3 Dale Earnhardt, Jr. 2001, 2002, 2004
2 Darrell Waltrip 1979, 1982
Terry Labonte 1989, 1997
Dale Jarrett 1998, 2005
Jeff Gordon 1996, 2007
Clint Bowyer 2010, 2011
Jamie McMurray 2009, 2013

Multiple winners (teams)[edit]

# Wins Team Years Won
8 Richard Childress Racing 1984, 1990, 1991, 1993, 1999, 2000, 2010, 2011
5 Hendrick Motorsports 1988, 1996, 1997, 2006, 2007
4 Dale Earnhardt, Inc. 2001, 2002, 2003, 2004
3 Junior Johnson & Associates 1982, 1989, 1994
2 Petty Enterprises 1970, 1974
Bud Moore Engineering 1975, 1983
Ranier-Lundy 1978, 1985
Morgan-McClure Motorsports 1992, 1995
Robert Yates Racing 1998, 2005
Roush Fenway Racing 2009, 2012

Manufacturer wins[edit]

# Wins Manufacturer Years Won
21 Chevrolet 1977, 1984, 1988, 1990, 1991, 1992, 1993, 1995, 1996, 1997, 1999, 2000, 2001, 2002, 2003, 2004, 2006, 2007, 2010, 2011, 2013
10 Ford 1975, 1983, 1985, 1987, 1989, 1994, 1998, 2005, 2009, 2012
3 Dodge 1969, 1974, 1976
Mercury 1971, 1972, 1980
Buick 1981, 1982, 1986
2 Plymouth 1970, 1973
Oldsmobile 1978, 1979
1 Toyota 2008

Notable races[edit]

  • 1969: The race was marred by a driver's strike by the Professional Drivers Association over track safety issues, even though officials proved the track was safe for racing.
  • 1972: James Hylton raced from mid-pack to the win; he was using a year-old tire compound from Goodyear while fast qualifies got a new compound, including Joe Frasson; Frasson was involved in an early crash and angrily ripped the new compound ("These new tires Goodyear brought here weren't worth a damn"). 32 of 50 starters failed to finish as Hylton led 106 laps and edged Ramo Stott at the stripe. "I was going with the old tire anyway," Hylton said afterward. "I figured it would be better."
  • 1973: In 1973 Dick Brooks survived heat and humidity to himself as well as an overheating engine and shot down heavy favorites Buddy Baker and David Pearson to his only career win. Driving a Plymouth Roadrunner, Brooks started 24th and whipped his way into contention right away; he'd expected to drive a Tom Pistone Ford in the race but the car never showed up, so Jimmy and Peter Crawford hired him to drive their Plymouth. The lead changed 64 times, a motorsports record that stood until 1978. Tragedy marred the race when sophomore driver Larry Smith crashed and was killed in his car early in the race.
  • 1974: Before the race, crewmen found slashed tires, tampered alignments, and dirt clogging fuel lines in the garage area. NASCAR threw several competition yellows to allow teams to further check their cars for undetected sabotage; two early crashes happened when cars slipped in oil from other sabotaged cars. Richard Petty won on the last lap by sideswiping David Pearson in the tri-oval and winning by a nose.
  • 1975: The race was blackened when former Daytona 500 winner Tiny Lund was crushed to death in a vicious melee on the backstretch by the spinning car of Terry Link. Dick Brooks survived a wild tumble down the backstretch later in that race. Buddy Baker edged Richard Petty after 60 lead changes among 17 drivers.
  • 1976: The lead changed 57 times as Richard Petty fell out in the final 20 laps and Buddy Baker had to pit late for fuel, allowing Dave Marcis to whip to the win, his only Talladega win.
1978: The lead changed a then-record 67 times as Lennie Pond stole the win over Allison and Yarborough; it was Pond's only career win and the first win for Ranier Racing.
  • 1980: In 1980 Neil Bonnett fought off a hard challenge from Dale Earnhardt to win in a frantic four-car finish. Driving for the Wood Brothers, Bonnett pulled off what would be the final win for the Mercury automobile brand; it was also the brand's seventh career Talladega win.
  • 1981: The race was famous for the finish between Terry Labonte, Darrell Waltrip, and Ron Bouchard. Running third on the final lap, Bouchard darted under both Labonte and Waltrip to pick up his first and only career win. CBS Sports, which televised the event, experienced technical errors in the last laps of the race, and showed replays with audio of the finish a week later.
  • 1983: The rivalry between Waltrip and Bobby Allison came through in a dramatic finish. Allison, two laps down, pushed Dale Earnhardt past Waltrip on the final lap for the win. Waltrip and the Junior Johnson team were upset that Allison was seemingly "blocking" for Earnhardt; Allison claimed he was racing Joe Ruttman, also in the lead pack but laps down, for position.
  • 1984: Dale Earnhardt's first win with Richard Childress came in the 1984 running, for many years considered NASCAR's greatest race. The lead changed 68 times among 16 drivers. Terry Labonte stormed to the lead with seven to go in a ten-car pack; crew chief Dale Inman radioed him to get out of the lead in the final laps so he could counterattack on the last lap, but Labonte stayed ahead. Harry Gant made a charge to a battle for third with two to go, but could not get up to the leaders, and on the final lap Earnhardt and Buddy Baker drafted past on the highside; Labonte fought Baker down the stretch, allowing Earnhardt to blast away by three lengths at the stripe.[2]
  • 1989: The second year with Die Hard batteries sponsorship, it was the final year of the classic "Talladega 500" name. The name would be revived in 2001 as the name of the spring event at Talladega, but for only one year before being changed to the Aaron's 499. The lead changed 49 times as Darrell Waltrip was involved in a hard crash on pit road with rookie Jimmy Spencer; Waltrip rallied from last place and fought for the lead, ultimately finishing second to Terry Labonte, who took his final win with Junior Johnson's team.
  • 1991: The race was a frantic affair as the lead changed 31 times officially and some 22 times elsewhere around the track. Dale Earnhardt was engaged in a non-stop battle with Davey Allison, Mark Martin, Sterling Marlin, and Michael Waltrip with Bill Elliott staying in the fray as well. With four to go Allison squeezed ahead of Earnhardt with Marlin drafting him, but Elliott, Martin, and Ricky Rudd drafted with Earnhardt, enabling Earnhardt to seize the win; an enraged Allison broke his wrist punching the wall of his hauler after the race.
  • 1993: Dale Earnhardt edged Ernie Irvan by 0.005 seconds, the second closest finish in Talladega's history since the introduction of electronic scoring loops. The race was marred by two frightening crashes: On lap 69, Stanley Smith and Jimmy Horton got together in turn one, collecting six other cars. Horton's car took the worst hit, as it went up the track and over the outside wall, tumbled out of the racetrack down the embankment, and came to rest on a dirt access road. Though Horton was not seriously injured, Smith suffered a near-fatal basilar skull fracture; he would eventually recover. The incident led track officials to install catch fencing along the entire perimeter of the superspeedways (Daytona and Talladega), rather than just in spectator areas. On Lap 132, Neil Bonnett flew into the catch fence similar to the Bobby Allison crash in 1987. That resulted in the introduction of roof flaps in 1994.
  • 1995: A violent wreck unfolded on lap 140 when Jeff Gordon clipped Ken Schrader on the back straightaway, collecting eleven more cars. Schrader took the worst hit, flipping eight times before landing in the grass.
  • 1996: One of the most frightening crashes marred the race. On lap 117, battling for the lead in the tri-oval, Sterling Marlin tried to pass Dale Earnhardt on the outside. Ernie Irvan tapped Marlin from behind, sending Marlin into Earnhardt. Both cars slid hard into the outside wall. Earnhardt's car flipped over, and was struck again while sliding down the track on its roof. About 6 cars escaped on the inside, while the rest of the field became tangled up in the incident. Ten cars were destroyed, and several more were involved (including some already damaged from an earlier crash). Video of the crash showed what appeared to be a fatal incident, but once medical workers arrived at Earnhardt's car, he climbed out and waved to the crowd, refusing to be loaded onto a stretcher despite a broken collarbone, sternum, and shoulder blade. A red flag ensued, and because of the late start caused by a rain delay, the race ended with a five-lap shootout on the ensuing restart.
  • 1999: A frantic race saw sixteen leaders and 21 cars battling at the finish. Dale Earnhardt charged from 27th place to 5th place in the first 3 laps. With 10 laps to go, Earnhardt charged to the front and held off Dale Jarrett for the last two laps to win his ninth Talladega race.
  • 2000: This was Dale Earnhardt's 76th and last recorded win before his death. With four laps to go, Dale Earnhardt, Jr. was leading Earnhardt Sr. was scored in 17th place. In the next four laps, Earnhardt Sr. found an opening and took the lead at the white flag. He then held off the field to win the race, while Earnhardt, Jr. went from leading to a 14th place finish when he was shuffled out of the pack in the last two laps.
  • 2001: Dale Earnhardt, Jr. won his third race of 2001, and first of four straight at Talladega. The first half of the race was caution free, with the race's first caution flag not appearing until lap 99, when Kevin Harvick sent Todd Bodine into the outside wall in turn 3, also collecting Elliott Sadler and Casey Atwood. In the last 55 laps, Earnhardt, Jr., Bobby Hamilton and Bobby Labonte changed the lead multiple times. With five laps to go, Labonte took the lead from Earnhardt, Jr. He was still leading at the white flag, but heading into turn 1, Earnhardt Jr. moved to the low lane, bringing Tony Stewart and Jeff Burton. Entering turn 2, Labonte drifted up, out of the draft, and tried to block Hamilton. Exiting turn 2, Hamilton tagged Labonte from behind, sending Labonte into Johnny Benson, Jr. and Ricky Craven, running in fourth and fifth place. Labonte's car then flipped over onto its roof, while Benson was shot into the inside wall and collected another 14 cars, including Jason Leffler, Sterling Marlin, Ward Burton, Robby Gordon, Mike Wallace, Terry Labonte, and Buckshot Jones. As the wreck occurred, Earnhardt Jr., Jeff Burton, and Tony Stewart continued racing towards the finish, followed by another group of cars from the reduced pack, composed of Jeff Gordon, Matt Kenseth, Kenny Wallace, and Hamilton. Earnhardt, Jr. rocketed away in the tri-oval to win the race by several car-lengths as Burton and Stewart battled side-by-side for second place, winning the No Bull 5 $1 million bonus. He was docked 25 points after his car failed post race inspection, due to a shortened rear spoiler.
  • 2002: Dale Earnhardt, Jr.'s third consecutive Talladega win came in the third and last Talladega race to be caution-free. He won on fuel strategy. This race is also remmbered for an unusual accident during the warm-up laps, when Mark Martin's steering box failed and he ended up striking polesitter Jimmie Johnson.[3] As a result of the incident, Martin was black-flagged, while Johnson's crew chief Chad Knaus requested NASCAR to inspect the car and repair the damaged right front fender. Johnson later came into the garage on lap one.[4] Jeff Gordon led the first three laps, but on lap 125, he was forced to move the car to the garage after his crew found smoke under the hood, ending his race. Gordon wasn't the only Hendrick Motorsports engine to fail, as Johnson, Terry Labonte and Joe Nemechek, also failed to finish due to engine problems.
  • 2003: Michael Waltrip's fourth and last win came in this race in 2003. It is also his only non-Daytona race win. He and teammate Dale Earnhardt, Jr. finished 1-2. With seven laps to go, Elliott Sadler, the third place finisher from the spring race, went airborne and tumbled down the backstretch into the turn three apron after being tagged by Kurt Busch. As this was the first restrictor plate race to follow the elimination of racing back to the caution, the yellow flag and subsequent red flag for cleanup caused by Sadler's accident nullified Ward Burton's pass on Waltrip into first.
    • This was DEI's fifth straight Talladega win, and first with Waltrip, after four straight with Dale Earnhardt, Jr.
  • 2004: Dale Earnhardt, Jr.'s win in 2004, his fifth overall at the track, was a dramatic one, as on the last lap of the race, Jeff Gordon brushed the wall exiting turn two, collecting then-rookie Kasey Kahne and Greg Biffle. No caution was thrown for the wreck, and the leaders continued to race to the finish line. At the finish, Elliott Sadler repeated the tumble of the previous year. This time, he flipped at the start-finish line after making contact with Ward Burton, in almost the same location that Rusty Wallace had taken a very violent airborne crash off Dale Earnhardt's bumper in 1993.
    • The race had several wrecks, the biggest one being a hard crash that took out championship contender Jeremy Mayfield. Brendan Gaughan triggered a scary crash that sent Bobby Labonte and Sterling Marlin head-on into the outside wall.
    • The race was also famous for Earnhardt Jr. using an obscenity during the post-race television interview, and being docked 25 championship points as a result (in the aftermath of the Super Bowl XXXVIII halftime show controversy, NASCAR imposed stiffer penalties for drivers who used obscenities in interviews; a similar one would be imposed when Tony Stewart won the Brickyard 400 in 2007).
  • 2005: Much like the EA Sports 500 the year before, the 2005 UAW-Ford 500 was a wild race. Two cars flipped over in separate accidents. Michael Waltrip was hit by Mark Martin and flipped after being involved in a wreck that began when Jimmie Johnson spun Elliott Sadler. Not long after, Ryan Newman spun Casey Mears, which started a chain reaction resulting in Scott Riggs flipping several times before being hit by Jeff Burton. The race was incident-filled, and Dale Jarrett took his last win in the race. Scenes from this race were used in the movie Talladega Nights: The Ballad of Ricky Bobby and actors from the movie were introduced in driver introductions.
  • 2006: The October 2006 running was the first at Talladega since the track was repaved following the May 1 Aaron's 499. The new asphalt proved exceptionally racey and the lead changed hands 63 times among 23 drivers. In the final laps Dale Earnhardt, Jr. led with Jimmie Johnson and Johnson's teammate Brian Vickers in a charge towards the finish. On the final lap in the half-way mark of the final lap Vickers, trying for his first Cup win, went below Johnson who tried to block but was far too late to defend and just in turn 3 Johnson and Earnhardt, Jr. spun around to crash as Vickers charged to the win in a close finish with Kasey Kahne under caution. Although Kahne was briefly in front of Vickers during the charge to the checkered flag during the caution, video showed that at the moment of caution Vickers was the leader and thus freezing the field in the finish. The fans were furious with Vickers and threw bottles and garbage at him as he came by the track to perform burnouts. Vickers was emotional about his win since he was fired by Hendrick Motorsports after 2006 for his lack of success in the past and he wanted a win to dedicate to the Hendrick family members that died in the 2004 plane crash at Martinsville. On the other hand Johnson was upset with his teammate: despite that Vickers apologized for the contact in victory lane Johnson retorted after the race about Vickers running out of talent but both made up with each other after a press-conference with NASCAR.
  • 2007: The 2007 UAW-Ford 500 was won by Jeff Gordon in dramatic style. Gordon pulled off a comeback much like Dale Earnhardt had in 2000, working his way from the back in the closing laps, and passed teammate Jimmie Johnson with a push from Tony Stewart on the final lap. It was the first Talladega race for NASCAR's soon-to-be-controversial Car of Tomorrow.
  • 2008: The newly named AMP Energy 500 in 2008 saw 64 lead changes among a motorsports record 28 leaders (broken in the 2010 spring race). Two accidents (one a ten-car crash that came when Brian Vickers' right-front tire disintegrated, the other a ten-car melee involving Greg Biffle, Matt Kenseth, Carl Edwards, Dale Earnhardt Jr. and others) took a number of contenders out in spectacular fashion. Regan Smith passed Tony Stewart on the apron of the tri-oval at the finish. The pass was ruled illegal by NASCAR in prohibiting passing under the yellow line; controversy ensued, however, as NASCAR spokesman Ramsey Poston the year before had commented to the effect that the yellow-line rule did not apply on the final lap, and NASCAR was ridiculed in the media over the decision. The victory was awarded to Stewart, what proved to be his final win for Joe Gibbs Racing.
  • 2009: The race was set up in a green-white-checkered finish after Ryan Newman spun and blew over, landing on top of Kevin Harvick with five laps to go, in the same place and in an eerily similar matter to Sadler's 2003 blowover. Before the cars got underway some ran out of fuel. Jamie McMurray led the restart alongside Brian Vickers; Vickers beat McMurray to the line, but was not penalized but McMurray squeezed ahead. When the field came off turn 4, Brad Keselowski spun Kurt Busch causing a chain reaction; Mark Martin tumbled on his roof and came back on his wheels as McMurray took the win. It was his 3rd career win and last for Roush as he went on to Earnhardt Ganassi Racing in 2010. The race was criticized because during the prerace drivers meeting Mike Helton told the drivers "we will have a problem" with tandem drafting in the corners. The drivers spent three periods of 15-20 laps riding single file, but the lead changed 58 times among 25 drivers, both season highs.
  • 2010: On Halloween 2010 NASCAR declared Clint Bowyer the winner after the yellow flew on the start of the final lap for AJ Allmendinger's blowover just past the start/finish line. Bowyer was ruled ahead of teammate Kevin Harvick at a Turn One scoring loop. Due to a brief delay by NASCAR in announcing who was ahead, Bowyer and Harvick were confused as to which one of them had won. Believing he was the leader, Bowyer did his victory burnout prematurely and almost had to be stopped as he drove back down pit road towards victory lane. The race lead changed 87 times among 26 drivers, the second straight Talladega race to break 80 official lead changes.
  • 2011: This was the first Sprint Cup race to follow the death of IndyCar driver Dan Wheldon at Las Vegas Motor Speedway, and several drivers painted tributes on their cars for this race; NASCAR also provided "Lionheart Knight" decals that Wheldon wore on his helmet[5] to be added to the cars' b-pillars.[6] Clint Bowyer defended his previous win by slingshotting past his Richard Childress teammate Jeff Burton on the final lap and winning by a hood. It was the 100th career win for Richard Childress Racing and it came following announcement that Bowyer would move to Michael Waltrip Racing for 2012 (by coincidence, Bowyer was driving a special 100th Anniversary of Chevrolet paint scheme). The track before the race posted a $100,000 bonus if the race reached 100 official lead changes, the bonus going to the driver who made the 100th pass. The bonus went unclaimed as the race lead changed 72 times.
  • 2012: Matt Kenseth won his first Talladega race in a very competitive run that saw 18 different leaders and 55 lead changes. On the final lap, with the entire field four abreast and Tony Stewart fighting Kenseth for the win, Stewart tried to block the advancing drafting pair of Michael Waltrip and Casey Mears coming in to turn 4. The ensuing move and subsequent contact caused Waltrip to spin up the banking in front of the entire field, and Stewart went airborne as Waltrip went into the outside wall and 23 cars were collected, the most cars to be involved in any single Big One since 2010. 10 of the 12 Chase drivers were involved (the only two not involved were Kenseth and Jeff Gordon, the top two finishers). Kyle Busch (who had finished in second place in the spring), David Ragan and Regan Smith escaped the melee to cross the start/finish line 3rd-5th. Dale Earnhardt, Jr., also involved was highly critical of the crash, and was sidelined for the next two races at Charlotte and Kansas after being diagnosed with a concussion, replaced by Smith for those races. Busch and Kenseth had been the runner-up finishers in the spring Talladega race.
  • 2013: The race was surprisingly clean, only seeing two caution flags during the first 187 laps. The lead changed 52 times among 20 drivers. The race was dominated by Matt Kenseth, Jimmie Johnson and Dale Earnhardt, Jr.. On the last lap, Austin Dillon was running third behind Jamie McMurray and Earnhardt, Jr. and was about to push Earnhardt, Jr. past McMurray when he was turned by Ricky Stenhouse, Jr. coming off Turn 2. Dillon spun against the outside wall, then was struck head-on by Casey Mears and caught air. McMurray's win was the second straight Chase race of 2013 won by a non-Chaser. It also snapped a 108-race winless streak for McMurray that stretched back to October 2010.

Television broadcasters[edit]

Year Network Lap-by-lap Color commentator(s)
2013 ESPN Allen Bestwick Dale Jarrett
Andy Petree
2012
2011
2010 Marty Reid
2009 ABC Jerry Punch
2008
2007 Rusty Wallace
Andy Petree
2006 NBC Bill Weber Benny Parsons
Wally Dallenbach, Jr.
2005
2004
2003 Allen Bestwick
2002
2001
2000 ESPN Jerry Punch Benny Parsons
Ned Jarrett
1999
1998 Bob Jenkins
1997 CBS Mike Joy Ned Jarrett
Buddy Baker
1996 Ken Squier
1995 Ned Jarrett
Richard Petty
1994
1993 Ned Jarrett
Neil Bonnett*
1992 Ned Jarrett
Chris Economaki
1991
1990 Ned Jarrett
David Hobbs
1989 Ned Jarrett
Chris Economaki
1988
1987 Ned Jarrett
1986 Ned Jarrett
Neil Bonnett
1985 Ned Jarrett
David Hobbs
1984 Ned Jarrett
Benny Parsons
1983 Ned Jarrett
1982 David Hobbs
1981 Donnie Allison
1980 David Hobbs
1979 Lee Petty
1978
1977
1976
1975 ABC Keith Jackson Jackie Stewart
1974 Bill Flemming
1973
1970 Keith Jackson
  • Neil Bonnett also drove in 1993 race, making his first start since his sidling crash at Darlington in March 1990. After he crashed in spectacular fashion, Bonnett joined CBS commentators Ken Squier and Ned Jarrett for the finish of the race.
  • The 1996 race was broadcast on a packaged, one week tape delay. CBS went off the air because of an afternoon-long rain delay.
  • 2004 - Bill Weber replaced Allen Bestwick on lap-by-lap for NBC's coverage due to Bestwick's hockey related injury.
  • Although he won the race, Dale Earnhardt, Jr., was later penalized 25 points for uttering "...It don't mean shit, Senior done won here 10 times..." during his post-race interview on NBC.[7]

References[edit]

External links[edit]


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