Martin upset after run in with Teague
Hal Martin is taken out by Brad Teague soon after getting back on the lead lap.
Chase Trivia with Brad Keselowski
NASCAR.com's Jonathan Merryman quizzes former NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Champion Brad Keselowski on his Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup knowledge.
Keselowski preps for Junior-less 'Dega with motivation, fast car
CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- Brad Keselowski 's winning Coke Zero 400 Ford was lightning fast. The Team Penske driver led 115 of the 161 laps around Daytona International Speedway to win the July event at the famed superspeedway. But he won't be unloading that hot rod this weekend at Talladega. "The car that we won Daytona with I saw it the other day," Keselowski said Oct. 7 during a Team Penske luncheon at Charlotte Motor Speedway . "It's sitting in the back and completely torn down. The body and everything is still just like it finished at Daytona. I asked the guys, 'Are we really gonna let that car sit? Are we not gonna run that at Talladega?' "And they said, 'No, we've got a car better than that for Talladega.'" Given Keselowski's current circumstances heading down to Alabama for the elimination race this Sunday (Hellmann's 500, 2 p.m. ET, NBCSN, MRN, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio), a fast car is a must. His 38th-place finish last week at Kansas Speedway put the No. 2 driver in a precarious position on the Chase Grid, as he sits 11th of 12 drivers and seven points behind the cut-off spot. RELATED: Keselowski, Elliott lowest on Chase Grid But if anyone can climb out of the hole holding the checkered flag, it's Keselowski. The 32-year-old veteran has a field-high four wins at Talladega, including the spring race earlier this season. For Keselowski, his past success paves the way for future conquest. "There's a self-fulfilling prophecy to plate racing to when you have confidence it transcends, not just through yourself, but to the cars you're running around, other drivers that work with you more, but also to your team, to where your team puts extra emphasis on those race and the drivers year-round cut you a little more slack because they just think you're going to pass them anyway," Keselowski mused. "And that creates a snowballing effect of momentum at plate tracks. So when you can have consecutive quality runs at a plate race, it almost gets easier. "It's kind of hard to explain and funny to explain, but I would say the success we've had this year on the plate tracks has put my team in a spot to where they almost put more effort on those races and developing the car and developing strategy and so forth because they have confidence that we can perform well at those tracks. And that they're not so much of a roll of a roulette wheel." Keselowski isn't the only current driver with a flair for plate racing. Six-time Talladega winner Dale Earnhardt Jr . is always considered a favorite heading down to the Deep South. But Earnhardt, who is out for the remainder of the season due to concussion-like symptoms, will be watching the Talladega chaos unfold from the sidelines -- something that hasn't happened there since Junior began racing in the Sprint Cup Series full-time in 2000. The absence of a veteran plate racer like Earnhardt Jr. is a big deal, Keselowski says. "There's no doubt about it that Dale Jr. at Talladega is one of the best," Keselowski said. "Without kind of putting in how the field feels about Dale himself in the moment, just losing one of the best drivers at the track is going to change the race. When you add in those other components and elements, I think it reduces the likelihood that you'll kinda see the field line up single-file against the wall. "And that itself means that the race is more taxing and an opportunity for incidents goes up dramatically." Multi-car incidents, tagged the "Big One" at restrictor plate tracks, are definitely no-go zones for Keselowski, who likely needs a win to advance to the next round of the Chase. There's no room for mistakes, no room for wrecks -- and likely no room for even just "safe" finishes. "Even being good at Talladega, it still doesn't feel good going there with no win," Keselowski said. "But you know you have an opportunity, especially when you have a great team and all those things. It can be tough -- I think it’s tougher on the guys that go there and don't enjoy that style of racing already. "But for me, I look forward to it."
No. 78 team finally accepts free beer from Brad Keselowski
RELATED: No 'blood beer' for No. 78 team " Truex wins Dover MORE: A history of drivers giving each other gifts As unappetizing as "blood beer" sounds, it's no surprise that the No. 78 team refused to drink the offering from Brad Keselowski following a mixup between he and Martin Truex Jr . at Watkins Glen International in August. MORE: Kes takes blame for Truex contact at WGI Of course, the free booze in question was just a regular case of Miller Lite -- Keselowski's sponsor -- and it was only deemed "blood beer" because it came as an apology gesture after Kes took the blame for ruining the 78's day. Keselowski once again left a case of beer for Truex and Co. on Sunday at Dover International Speedway , but not as a new spin on a Hallmark "I'm Sorry, Let's Still Be Friends" card, but rather as a celebratory gift after Truex won the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup cutoff race. As Sherry Pollex, Truex's girlfriend, noted -- it's something Brad does for every race winner. Most ppl don't know @keselowski does this after every race win. Very cool and our @FR78Racing guys love the @MillerLite beer #thanksbrad pic.twitter.com/kPftnkQJev — Sherry Pollex (@SherryPollex) October 2, 2016 @SherryPollex @FR78Racing @MillerLite thank you for the kind words Congrats! — Brad Keselowski (@keselowski) October 3, 2016 @keselowski @FR78Racing @MillerLite thank you!! Your a class act my friend. — Sherry Pollex (@SherryPollex) October 3, 2016
Twitter-less no more? Edwards vows to join if he wins title
TALLADEGA, Ala. – Carl Edwards joked earlier this week about the possibility of finally, at long last, joining the popular social media site, Twitter. And the two-time NASCAR Sprint Cup Series championship runner-up was asked again about it Friday at Talladega Superspeedway , where Edwards again promised he would join the social media site if he wins the 2016 season championship. "Yeah, it's going to happen,’" Edwards said, shaking his head and smiling. Among NASCAR's most famous "Twitter-less" drivers, Edwards told reporters he didn't know how popular the social media site would be by the time he finally acquiesced. “By the time I join Twitter, Twitter will be like out of fashion probably," he said. "But that's my plan ... to tweet from Victory Lane at Homestead. That would be good." There's one small hitch: Edwards was admittedly unsure of the details. "I don't know what my Twitter handle would be," he said. Earlier in the week, reporters attending a NASCAR test at Homestead-Miami Speedway had reminded Edwards of his pledge to join Twitter if he clinched the 2016 Cup title. And he surprised the media group by telling them he had considered posting something from that test session on Twitter via his public relations representative's account. Other high-profile drivers such as Jimmie Johnson , Danica Patrick and Brad Keselowski have been active on the site. Dale Earnhardt Jr . famously started using his Twitter account after winning his second Daytona 500 in 2014, and now has 1.76 million followers. Only one thing is stopping Edwards from joining right now. "I committed if we won the championship I will join," Edwards said.
Heads up: Talladega weekend
Here are the hot topics, trending news and key story lines to get you ready for this weekend's races at Talladega Superspeedway . WEATHER Can you say "Chamber of Commerce weather?" That's what you'll get at Talladega. It'll be sunny all weekend, with a high of 70 on Friday and a high of 68 on Saturday, with the temperature nosing up to 77 degrees on Sunday, according to the National Weather Service. Beautiful outlook for a pair of elimination races. KEY TIMES Sprint Cup Series: The biggest change this weekend is Coors Light Qualifying. Rather than qualifying on Friday, the Sprint Cup Series will do so on Saturday afternoon after the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series race. The single-car spectacle is set for 4 p.m. ET on NBCSN. The race is Sunday at 2 p.m. ET, also on NBCSN. Camping World Truck Series: The Camping World Truck Series has a pair of Friday practices (beginning at 1 p.m. ET and 3 p.m. ET, both on FS1). The race is Saturday at 1 p.m. ET on FOX with Keystone Light Pole Qualifying just before at 10:30 a.m. ET (FS1). CATCH DRIVERS LIVE We'll stream every driver press conference in the Talladega media center at NASCAR.com/presspass . Among the notables Friday: Chase Elliott (12:30 p.m. ET), Joey Logano (12:45 p.m. ET) and Martin Truex Jr . (3:30 p.m. ET). Click here for a full schedule. LAST TIME Joey Logano swept the Round of 12 last year, beating Alabama's favorite son Dale Earnhardt Jr . -- and eliminating him from the Chase -- in the process. The Team Penske driver led 20 laps to Earnhardt Jr.'s 61, and he held off Junior on an abbreviated green-white-checkered finish. Logano was first and Earnhardt Jr. second as the field's only attempt at a GWC conclusion went green. A wreck just past the start/finish line brought out the caution, ending the race just as Logano and Earnhardt Jr. were racing for the lead. Logano was in the lead at the time and declared the winner. Eventually, NASCAR tweaked its green-white-checkered rule in the offseason, leading to the addition of the overtime line. YOU SHOULD KNOW • With Dale Jr. sidelined for the rest of the season, Brad Keselowski may hold the mantle as the best restrictor-plate racer in NASCAR. The driver of the No. 2 Ford has three top-five finishes in the past four Talladega races, including two wins -- to bring his total 'Dega wins to four. He also won at Daytona in July. And following a wreck at Kansas last week, Keselowski likely has to win to advance in the postseason. • It's not just Keselowski who is in win-or-else mode. Chase Elliott essentially is facing a "must-win" scenario to advance into the next round. The rookie is 25 points behind the cutoff line. • Keep an eye on Joey Logano and Austin Dillon . They are tied for the final transfer spot, with Logano currently owning the tiebreaker thanks to his third-place finish at Kansas. Their stories are quite different. Logano won all three Round of 12 races last year, but his performances and speed slipped this year; Dillon is in his first postseason and one race away from making the Round of 8 after being seeded 15th out of 16 drivers at the start of the Chase. • This is the first elimination race in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series Chase, with two drivers getting knocked out of the postseason. Daniel Hemric and John Hunter Nemechek are both 15 points below the cutoff line and will need to make up some serious ground.
Chase cutoff in Talladega means drivers swinging for the fences
TALLADEGA, Ala. -- Put into a position with nothing to lose and everything to gain, NASCAR Camping World Truck Series drivers Daniel Hemric and John Hunter Nemechek have a simple plan for this weekend. Swing for the fences, they both said. Saturday's fred's 250 Powered by Coca-Cola at Talladega Superspeedway is the final race of the opening round of the inaugural Camping World Truck Series Chase. Only one Chase participant, William Byron, scored a win in the previous two races, thus earning an automatic berth in the Round of 6 that begins next weekend at Martinsville Speedway . Hemric, driver of the No. 19 Ford for Brad Keselowski Racing, is seventh in points, 15 points outside Johnny Sauter in sixth. Nemechek, driver of the No. 8 Nemco Motorsports Chevrolet, is eighth, tied with Hemric for points and also 15 points outside the cutoff. "Everything here is kind of out of your hands," Nemechek, twice a winner this season, said Friday. "Being at Talladega in the spot that we're in … being 15 points out, I think it's way better for me to be able to come here … where anything can happen. "If we finish top five and someone else got caught up in somebody else's wreck and we didn't, we'd have a shot to make it compared to a mile-and-a-half track or short track where they can ride around all day and kind of salvage a finish where they make sure they make it. "I haven't quite called in any favors or anything like that. If we were able to qualify up front and run up front all day, as long as we put ourselves in a position to be top four in, where you can make a move coming to the start/finish line, I think you'll be all right. But who knows?" Christopher Bell , two-time series champion Matt Crafton , Ben Kennedy and Timothy Peters are second through fifth in points. All have won at least once this year, except for Peters. But he's won here at Talladega the last two times the series visited the 2.66-mile track. "In order to win now, we've just got to keep doing what we're doing and not change anything at this point," Hemric said. "All we can do here is control what we can control, go into it approaching every situation that way, whether it's practice, qualifying or the race. If we execute on all ends, I see no reason why we shouldn't have a shot at it. "At the end of the day … I think I would rather be on the end we're on. Obviously if you've won, that's even better. But the situation where we can go down swinging and not playing defense all day, I think, is going to be a good thing for (Nemechek) and I, both."
Johnson leads final Talladega practice; Biffle tops in earlier session
RELATED: Practice 1 " Practice 2 " Top 10-lap consecutive averages MORE: See the Chase Grid Jimmie Johnson topped the leaderboard in the final NASCAR Sprint Cup Series practice session Friday at Talladega Superspeedway , going 196.386 mph in the No. 48 Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet. Right behind him was Matt Kenseth in the No. 20 Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota at 196.338 mph. Rounding out the top five were Chase Elliott in the No. 24 Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet at 196.334 mph, Carl Edwards in the No. 19 Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota at 196.330 mph and Alex Bowman in the No. 88 Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet at 196.330 mph. Chase drivers Kevin Harvick (already guaranteed to advance to the Round of 8) and Brad Keselowski opted not to participate in the second practice session Friday. All told, 25 cars took the track for the final session before Saturday's qualifying at 4 p.m. ET (NBCSN/NBC SportsApp). Edwards felt a vibration in his car, and his No. 19 team changed the transmission in an effort to fix it. In the first practice session earlier in the day, Roush Fenway Racing dominated with Greg Biffle logging the fastest time in his No. 16 Ford at 198.949 mph. Right behind him was AJ Allmendinger in the No. 47 JTG Daugherty Racing Chevrolet at 198.327 mph. Chris Buescher was third in the No. 34 Front Row Motorsports Ford at 198.261 mph, while two more Roush Fenway Racing drivers rounded out the top five with Ricky Stenhouse Jr . in the No. 17 Ford at 198.261 mph and Trevor Bayne in the No. 6 Ford 198.105 mph. Sprint Cup Series leader Johnson was 15th-fastest in the No. 48 Chevrolet at 195.632 mph. &amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;lt;/p&amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;gt;
Top consecutive 10-lap averages for Talladega
Final practice: Results Pos Car Driver From Lap To Lap Avg Speed 1 18 Kyle Busch (C) 11 20 195.398 2 20 Matt Kenseth (C) 11 20 195.348 3 78 Martin Truex Jr . (C) 3 12 195.314 4 11 Denny Hamlin (C) 3 12 195.314 5 5 Kasey Kahne 2 11 193.453 6 99 * Ryan Reed (i) 2 11 193.394 7 88 Alex Bowman (i) 2 11 193.376 8 48 Jimmie Johnson (C) 2 11 193.348 9 24 Chase Elliott # (C) 2 11 193.133 Practice 1: Results Pos Car Driver From Lap To Lap Avg Speed 1 16 Greg Biffle 2 11 195.657 2 44 Brian Scott 4 13 194.855 3 95 Michael McDowell 2 11 194.531 4 4 Kevin Harvick # (C) 4 13 194.201 5 43 Aric Almirola 3 12 194.173 6 88 Alex Bowman (i) 8 17 193.979 7 22 Joey Logano (C) 5 14 193.941 8 24 Chase Elliott # (C) 7 16 193.927 9 10 Danica Patrick 3 12 193.909 10 48 Jimmie Johnson (C) 3 12 193.895 11 21 * Ryan Blaney # 3 12 193.886 12 47 AJ Allmendinger 6 15 193.883 13 5 Kasey Kahne 7 16 193.849 14 42 Kyle Larson 7 16 191.233 15 17 Ricky Stenhouse Jr . 2 11 191.115 16 6 Trevor Bayne 2 11 191.073 17 3 Austin Dillon (C) 6 15 189.066 18 2 Brad Keselowski (C) 1 10 188.422 19 1 Jamie McMurray 24 33 187.786 20 34 Chris Buescher 1 10 185.131 -- Car must run 10 consecutive laps on the track to be included in the above charts. (C) indicates driver is in the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup . (#) indicates Sunoco Rookie of the Year Candidate. (*) indicates driver required to qualify on time. (i) indicates ineligible for Sprint Cup championship points.
Talladega Sprint Cup qualifying order
RELATED: How qualifying works at Talladega # Car Driver Team 1 32 Bobby Labonte VisoneRV.com Ford 2 93 * Matt DiBenedetto Dustless Blasting Toyota 3 7 Regan Smith Golden Corral Chevrolet 4 46 Michael Annett Pilot Flying J Chevrolet 5 55 * Reed Sorenson Toyota 6 35 * David Gilliland Dockside Logistics Ford 7 1 Jamie McMurray Cessna Chevrolet 8 83 Jeffrey Earnhardt # Starter Toyota 9 23 David Ragan sweetFrog Toyota 10 15 Clint Bowyer 5-hour Energy Chevrolet 11 41 Kurt Busch (C) Haas Automation/Monster Energy Chevrolet 12 31 Ryan Newman Caterpillar Chevrolet 13 3 Austin Dillon (C) American Ethanol Chevrolet 14 22 Joey Logano (C) Shell Pennzoil Ford 15 21 * Ryan Blaney # Motorcraft/Quick Lane Tire & Auto Center Ford 16 43 Aric Almirola Smithfield Ford 17 2 Brad Keselowski (C) Miller Lite Ford 18 14 Tony Stewart Rush Truck Centers/Mobil 1 Chevrolet 19 10 Danica Patrick Nature's Bakery Chevrolet 20 13 Casey Mears GEICO Chevrolet 21 11 Denny Hamlin (C) FedEx Ground Toyota 22 42 Kyle Larson Energizer Chevrolet 23 78 Martin Truex Jr (C) Bass Pro Shops/TRACKER Boats Toyota 24 18 Kyle Busch (C) Snickers Halloween Toyota 25 99 * Ryan Reed (i) Lilly Diabetes/American Diabetes Association Ford 26 27 Paul Menard SYLVANIA/Menards Chevrolet 27 88 Alex Bowman (i) Mountain Dew Chevrolet 28 5 Kasey Kahne UniFirst Chevrolet 29 19 Carl Edwards (C) Subway Toyota 30 24 Chase Elliott # (C) NAPA Auto Parts Chevrolet 31 20 Matt Kenseth (C) DeWalt Flexvolt Toyota 32 48 Jimmie Johnson (C) Lowe's Pro Services Chevrolet 33 4 Kevin Harvick (C) Jimmy John's Chevrolet 34 38 Landon Cassill FR8 Auctions Ford 35 44 Brian Scott # Goody's Ford 36 95 Michael McDowell KLOVE Radio Chevrolet 37 6 Trevor Bayne AdvoCare Ford 38 17 Ricky Stenhouse Jr Zest Ford 39 34 Chris Buescher # Love's Travel Stops Ford 40 47 AJ Allmendinger Kroger/Scott Products Chevrolet 41 16 Greg Biffle Cheez-it Ford *Driver is required to qualify on time, (i) ineligible for driver points in this series