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NCWTS GarageCam has a 'sweet home' welcome in Talladega
GarageCam host Matthew Dillner takes you through the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series garage as teams prepare for the Fred's 250 at Talladega Superspeedway.
GarageCam asks who's hungry for a 'Dega win
GarageCam host, Matthew Dillner, takes you on an exclusive and interactive tour of the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series garage before teams hit the track at Talladega Superspeedway.
Truex tames Talladega for Coors Light Pole Award
RELATED: Qualifying results " See every car in the field TALLADEGA, Ala. – Just 13 points to the good entering Sunday's Round of 12 cutoff race in the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup , Martin Truex Jr . gave himself as much of a cushion as possible, winning the pole for the Hellman's 500 at Talladega Superspeedway during Saturday’s knockout qualifying session. Seventh in the Chase standings, and 13 points ahead of Joey Logano and Austin Dillon , Truex covered the 2.66-mile distance in 49.508 seconds (193.423 mph) to claim the Coors Light Pole Award for Sunday's race (2 p.m. ET on NBCSN, MRN, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio) that will trim the Chase field from 12 drivers to eight. "It's definitely cool," said Truex, who has never won a restrictor-plate race in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series. "You come here, and you don't really have a whole lot to say as a driver when it comes to qualifying, so obviously proud of the team and proud of everybody in Denver (Colorado) and proud of everybody at the race track for their efforts. "Built a brand new car to come here, and it's awesome to be the fastest guy in town. Excited about that, and obviously everybody at TRD (Toyota Racing Development) who builds the engines has done a great job too – it takes a lot to get a restrictor plate pole, so excited for all those guys and really neat to lead Toyota to their 1,000th start (in NASCAR’s top three series combined). Hopefully, we'll be able to get the victory when the day is over." Truex didn't allow a pre-qualifying inspection issue to derail his effort. Before his No. 78 Furniture Row Racing Toyota rolled out onto the grid, NASCAR confiscated a non-conforming jack screw from the car and required the team to replace it with a legal part. RELATED: NASCAR confiscates part from 78 team The pole was Truex's first at Talladega, his fourth of the season and the 11th of his career. Truex was .015 seconds faster than four-time Talladega winner Brad Keselowski (193.365 mph), who will start on the outside of the front row. Keselowski is 11th in the standings, seven points behind Logano and Dillon. "It's good to qualify up front," Keselowski said. "I think it's a good confidence boost. I feel like when we have cars that qualify well here, we race well. The Miller Lite Ford was really fast here in qualifying, and hopefully it will stay the same for Sunday. "It's been a good track for us, but past success is no guarantee. You have to go out and put the work in, and I think we're ready to do just that." Chase drivers Matt Kenseth (193.189 mph) and Chase Elliott (193.166 mph) will start third and fourth, respectively. Elliott is 12th in the Chase standings, likely needing a victory in Sunday's race to advance to the Round of 8. "As we all know, qualifying here is all about the guys back in the shop preparing these cars," Elliott said. "The Hendrick Engine shop gave me great speed, and the guys gave me an excellent car for tomorrow. "Qualifying here at Talladega isn't a make-or-break-you deal. I think it's good. I think our car has decent speed, and hopefully that will show up on Sunday." Roush Fenway racing drivers Greg Biffle and Ricky Stenhouse Jr ., both non-Chasers, will start from the third row after qualifying fifth and sixth, respectively. Other Chase drivers qualified as follows: Kurt Busch (seventh), Denny Hamlin (eighth), Dillon (ninth), Carl Edwards (13th), Kyle Busch (14th), Joey Logano (16th), Jimmie Johnson (17th) and Kevin Harvick (22nd). Johnson and Harvick already have earned spots in the Round of 8 by virtue of their respective victories at Charlotte and Kansas, leaving six berths available to the remaining 10 drivers. Reed Sorenson , who was required to make the field on the basis of qualifying time, posted an eyebrow-raising lap of 194.145 mph to lead the first round, a sizable .326 seconds faster than the next-fastest driver, Truex. Sorenson's Premium Motorsports No. 55 Toyota faded considerably in the final round and will start 12th. David Gilliland failed to qualify for the 40-car field. NASCAR will meet and discuss the non-conforming jack screw on Truex's car during its weekly competition meeting, but Scott Miller, NASCAR's senior vice president of competition, characterized the imposition of a points penalty that would affect the Chase standings as "unlikely." "I would say it would be unlikely, but it has to go through our process," Miller said. "We don't typically do that on a weekend, and because this is the playoffs, everybody has a heightened sense of everything. "But this is really no different than things that we've done all year. We'll treat this one like just like we've done all year long." Three Joe Gibbs Racing cars -- those of Kyle Busch , Denny Hamlin and Kenseth -- were pulled from the qualifying line just before their speed attempts. NASCAR officials said that they were investigating a potential issue with the rear deck lid and quarter panel area. With those issues remedied behind the wall, all three were allowed to qualify. RELATED: JGR cars brought back through pre-qualifying inspection Contributing: Staff reports &amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;lt;/p&amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;gt;
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
The Rundown: Dover driver grades
RELATED: Full race results " Series standings " Chase Grid Breaking down the full field for the Citizen Soldier 400 at Dover International Speedway : 1. Martin Truex Jr ., No. 78 Toyota, Furniture Row Racing . Truex dominated the first round of the Chase with two wins and a total of 360 laps led. The 78 team is a serious threat for the championship if its performance (and lack of bad luck/mistakes) continues. Grade: A+ 2. Kyle Busch , No. 18 Toyota, Joe Gibbs Racing . Busch earned his third top-10 finish in the Chase with a runner-up effort Sunday. Add in 102 laps led in Dover and the defending Sprint Cup Series champion is doing what's necessary to get back to Homestead. Grade: A 3. Chase Elliott , No. 24 Chevrolet, Hendrick Motorsports . Elliott continues to knock on the door by putting in quiet but solid runs. In a format that has proven consistency can carry a driver through each round, Elliott certainly looks like he can be this year's beneficiary. Grade: A 4. Brad Keselowski , No. 2 Ford, Team Penske . Keselowski started on the pole and led seven laps, but was hardly a factor. Still, he was near the top of the leaderboard at the end, and the 2012 champion is still in Chase contention. Grade: A 5. Matt Kenseth , No. 20 Toyota, Joe Gibbs Racing . Unlike last weekend when he finished second, Kenseth put in an unassuming day to grab his third consecutive top-nine finish. He'll move on in the Chase with a chance at that elusive second title. Grade: A- 6. Joey Logano , No. 22 Ford, Team Penske . Logano rounded out the Penske pair with a sixth-place finish after starting fifth. He'll move on to the Round of 12, which he dominated in the Chase last year with three straight victories. Grade: A – 7. Jimmie Johnson , No. 48 Chevrolet, Hendrick Motorsports . Johnson found himself in contention for a victory for the second time in three Chase races before a mistake on pit road cost him -- again. This time it was by his crew. If Johnson is going to advance into the Round of 8 for the first time, the No. 48 team needs to get buttoned up . Grade: A- 8. Austin Dillon , No. 3 Chevrolet, Richard Childress Racing . Problems for Kyle Larson aided his cause, but Dillon rose to the occasion to advance in the Chase. The No. 3 solidly improved throughout the day and scored its first top 10 in the Chase. Grade: A 9. Denny Hamlin , No. 11 Toyota, Joe Gibbs Racing . Hamlin has been only hot or cold at Dover -- with little in between -- and Sunday was just his eighth top-10 finish in 22 starts. Grade: A- 10. Jeff Gordon , No. 88 Chevrolet, Hendrick Motorsports . It took Gordon seven starts to earn a top 10 filling for Dale Earnhardt Jr this season. He also led seven laps during a cycle of green flag pit stops. Grade: A- 11. Ricky Stenhouse Jr ., No. 17 Ford, Roush Fenway Racing . The good news? Stenhouse steadily climbed the leaderboard on Sunday. The bad news? He hasn't had a top-10 finish since Bristol in August. Grade: B+ 12. Kasey Kahne , No. 5 Chevrolet, Hendrick Motorsports . Kahne was the worst of the Hendrick cars while finishing outside the top 10 for the first time in five races. Grade: B+ 13. Tony Stewart , No. 14 Chevrolet, Stewart-Haas Racing . Stewart's late-season slide continued with his seventh consecutive finish outside the top 10 -- as well as his elimination from the Chase in his final season of full-time Sprint Cup driving. Grade: B 14. Carl Edwards , No. 19 Toyota, Joe Gibbs Racing . Edwards admittedly struggled in this first round of the Chase (with finishes of 15th, sixth and 14th) and has plenty of work to do if he's going to keep up with his Toyota teammates from here on out. Grade: B 15. Kurt Busch , No. 41 Chevrolet, Stewart-Haas Racing . An unimpressive first round for Busch, who was the first car two laps down in Dover. Now it's time to improve upon just two top-10 finishes in the last five races. Grade: B 16. Aric Almirola , No. 43 Ford, Richard Petty Motorsports . Through 29 races (30 straight if you go back to last season), Almirola has still not scored a top-10 finish. Grade: B- 17. Ryan Newman , No. 31 Chevrolet, Richard Childress Racing . After fighting for a spot in the Chase, Newman has been a non-story the last three weeks. He was up and down the leaderboard throughout the race, but wound up finishing around where he started (19th). Grade: B- 18. Greg Biffle , No. 16 Ford, Roush Fenway Racing . Green flag pit stops helped Biffle lead seven laps. He ended the day the first car four laps down. Grade: B- 19. AJ Allmendinger , No. 47 Chevrolet, JTG Daugherty Racing . Sunday was Allmendinger's first top-20 finish at Dover since the spring 2012 race. Grade: B- 20. Trevor Bayne , No. 6 Ford, Roush Fenway Racing . Bayne stayed out of trouble and now has two top-20 finishes in four career Dover starts. Grade: B- 21. Brian Scott , No. 44 Ford, Richard Petty Motorsports . Scott earned a career-best Dover finish on Sunday in addition to picking up his first top-25 finish in six races. Grade: B- 22. Paul Menard , No. 27 Chevrolet, Richard Childress Racing . Pairing with crew chief Danny Stockman still has not brought the consistency or improvement Menard and company are looking for. Grade: C 23 . Chris Buescher , No. 34 Ford, Front Row Motorsports . Buescher's best Chase finish wasn't enough to carry the him through to the next round as the Cinderella story came to an end in Dover. Grade: B- 24. Clint Bowyer , No. 15 Chevrolet, HScott Motorsports . Bowyer was oh-so close, but his streak of consecutive 22nd-place finishes ended at four Sunday. Grade: C 25. Kyle Larson , No. 42, Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates. Lightning did not strike twice for Larson at Dover (where he finished second in May), as his Chase came to an end following repeated miscues. A power problem led to a pit road penalty and Larson later hit the wall to end up six laps down. Grade: C 26. Casey Mears , No. 13 Chevrolet, Germain Racing . Mears has little to add to his Dover notebook after duplicating his finish from May. Grade: C 27. Matt DiBenedetto , No. 83 Toyota, BK Racing . DiBenedetto earned his best Dover finish in four starts there. Grade: C 28. Danica Patrick , No. 10 Chevrolet, Stewart-Haas Racing . Patrick now has finished 25th or worse in four of her nine Dover starts. Grade: C- 29. Landon Cassill , No. 38 Ford, Front Row Motorsports . Cassill is now on a three-race streak of finishing 29th, nice. Grade: C- 30. David Ragan , No. 23 Toyota, BK Racing . Ragan was eight laps back and remains 31st in points. Grade: C- 31. Regan Smith , No. 7 Chevrolet, Tommy Baldwin Racing . Smith was the first car nine laps down. Grade: C- 32. Ty Dillon , No. 95 Chevrolet, Circle Sport – Leavine Family Racing . Sunday was Dillon's worst finish in his 10 Sprint Cup starts this season. Grade: C- 33. Michael Annett , No. 46 Chevrolet, HScott Motorsports . Annett has not finished in the top 30 in the last four races. Grade: D 34. Timmy Hill , No. 98 Chevrolet, Premium Motorsports. Hill finished 14 laps off the pace. Grade: D 35. Reed Sorenson , No. 55 Toyota, Premium Motorsports. Sorenson finished where he ran (35.33) throughout the event on Sunday. Grade: D 36. Jeffrey Earnhardt , No. 32 Ford, Go Fas Racing . Earnhardt finished 16 laps off the pace in his second Dover start. Grade: D 37. Kevin Harvick , No. 4 Chevrolet, Stewart-Haas Racing . Locked into the Round of 12 in the Chase after winning in New Hampshire, Harvick was unaffected by a broken track bar mount that led to him finishing 46 laps down. Grade: F 38. Ryan Blaney , No. 21 Ford, Wood Brothers Racing . Blaney hit the wall hard off Turn 2 when he blew a tire on Lap 106. Grade: F 39. Josh Wise , No. 30 Chevrolet, The Motorsports Group. Wise earned his sixth DNF of the season following a blown engine. Grade: F 40. Jamie McMurray , No. 1 Chevrolet, Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates. McMurray went from looking like he had a spot in the Round of 12 to missing the cut after his engine expired on Lap 194. Grade: F
The Rundown: Charlotte driver grades
RELATED: Full race results " Series standings " Chase Grid Breaking down the full field for the Bank of America 500 at Charlotte Motor Speedway : 1. Jimmie Johnson , No. 48 Chevrolet, Hendrick Motorsports . Huge win for Johnson ... even when it's the 78th of your Sprint Cup career and you have six championships. Johnson led a race-high 155 laps and moved into the Round of 8 of the Chase for the first time under the current format. Grade: A+ 2. Matt Kenseth , No. 20 Toyota, Joe Gibbs Racing . Kenseth started in the rear of the field because of prerace adjustments to his car ... was penalized for too many men over the wall ... and still finished in the top five. On a day when five Chasers were body slammed by big issues, Kenseth's second place was almost as big as Johnson's win. Grade: A 3. Kasey Kahne , No. 5 Chevrolet, Hendrick Motorsports . Kahne posted his best finish since his last win -- in August 2014 at Atlanta. Grade: A 4. Ryan Newman , No. 31 Chevrolet, Richard Childress Racing . Great run for Newman, who snagged his second top-five finish of the season. Grade: A 5. Kyle Larson , No. 42 Chevrolet, Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates. Larson's eighth top-five finish ties his career best, set in his rookie season two years ago. Grade: A 6. Kyle Busch , No. 18 Toyota, Joe Gibbs Racing . Despite an early tire issue that put him a lap down and damage sustained in the big wreck on Lap 259, Busch came away with a big top 10. Grade: A 7. Brad Keselowski , No. 2 Ford, Team Penske . The No. 2 was one of many teams penalized for having its crew over the wall too soon, but Keselowski prevailed in the end, grabbing his 105th top 10 since the start of the 2012 season, tying Kevin Harvick for the most top 10s over the past five years. Grade: A 8. Kurt Busch , No. 41 Chevrolet, Stewart-Haas Racing . When Busch was told which Chase cars were caught up in the big wreck on Lap 259, he said, "Charlotte has turned into Talladega." Nice line. Even better was his finish on a day he didn't have one of his stronger cars. Grade: A 9. Tony Stewart , No. 14 Chevrolet, Stewart-Haas Racing . As you'll see, attrition was the friend to many drivers Sunday, including Stewart, who was tagged for speeding during a green -flag pit stop on Lap 114. His 17.6 averaging running position was easily the highest among the top-10 finishers. Grade: A 10. Jamie McMurray , No. 1 Chevrolet, Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates. Solid day for McMurray, who sustained left front damage in the big wreck on Lap 259. His 325 laps in the top 15 were behind only Jimmie Johnson (332) and Carl Edwards (327). Grade: A 11. Danica Patrick , No. 10 Chevrolet, Stewart-Haas Racing . Patrick's finish is her best since her last top 10, a ninth-place finish at Bristol in April 2015. Grade: B+ 12. Carl Edwards , No. 19 Toyota, Joe Gibbs Racing . Although Edwards never challenged for the lead, his 8.4 average running position was third-best, trailing only Jimmie Johnson (3.4) and JGR teammate Denny Hamlin (6.4). Grade: B+ 13. Martin Truex Jr ., No. 78 Toyota, Furniture Row Racing . Truex touched off the big wreck on the restart on Lap 259 when he got into the back of Austin Dillon -- who restarted second -- and sent him spinning and crashing hard into the inside wall. Truex said he was "trying to give him a shove and I just turned him completely around like a damn idiot." Truex was contrite after the race, as well, but the damage was done. On the flip side ... during a yellow-flag pit stop on Lap 311, karma made an appearance in the No. 78 pits when Truex's clutch failed and he had trouble leaving his stall. He had been running third; he restarted 16th. Grade: D 14. Michael McDowell , No. 95 Chevrolet, Circle Sport- Leavine Family Racing . Hats off to McDowell, who posted the fifth-best finish of his Sprint Cup career (207 starts). Grade: A 15. Aric Almirola , No. 43 Ford, Richard Petty Motorsports . Almirola just missed getting tagged by Austin Dillon as Dillon's car spun back onto the track after smashing nose-first into the inside wall on Lap 259. Almirola, who is still looking for his first top 10 of the season, posted his sixth top-15 finish of 2016. Grade: B 16. Chris Buescher , No. 34 Ford, Front Row Motorsports . In his 36th career start, Buescher registered his fourth-best finish. Grade: B+ 17. Clint Bowyer , No. 15 Chevrolet, HScott Motorsports . Bowyer took home his best finish since his most-recent top 10, three months ago at Daytona. Grade: B 18. Trevor Bayne , No. 6 Ford, Roush Fenway Racing . Despite his top-20 finish, Bayne wasn’t exactly competitive Sunday: Of the drivers who finished in the top 20, he ran the fewest laps in the top 15 -- one. Grade B- 19. Landon Cassill , No. 38 Ford, Front Row Motorsports . Six of Cassill's 24 career top-20 finishes have come this season, one fewer than his career-best seven in 2012. Grade: A 20. Ricky Stenhouse Jr ., No. 17 Ford, Roush Fenway Racing . Stenhouse has made more starts at Charlotte, 10, than at any other Sprint Cup track but is still looking for his first top-10 finish. He about nailed his average finish of 20.8, though. Grade: C 21. Regan Smith , No. 7 Chevrolet, Tommy Baldwin Racing . Speaking of average finishes at Charlotte, Smith ran to form, as 20.7 is Smith’s number. Grade: B 22. Brian Scott , No. 44 Ford, Richard Petty Motorsports . Scott posted his best finish at Charlotte in four starts. Grade: B 23. David Ragan , No. 23 Toyota, BK Racing . Ragan registered his best finish at Charlotte since he finished 11th five years ago in his final Charlotte start for Jack Roush. Grade: B 24. Michael Annett , No. 46 Chevrolet, HScott Motorsports . Making his 100th career Sprint Cup start, Annett posted his second-best finish of the season. Grade: B 25. Matt DiBenedetto , No. 83 Toyota, BK Racing . DiBenedetto's finish was his fourth best of the season. Grade: B 26. Jeffrey Earnhardt , No. 32 Ford, Go Fas Racing . Earnhardt posted the best finish of his career (19 starts). Grade: A- 27. Cole Whitt , No. 98 Chevrolet, Premium Motorsports. Whitt posted one of his best finishes of the season to help Premium Motorsports put both of its cars in the top 30 for the first time since Kentucky in July. Grade: B- 28. Reed Sorenson , No. 55 Chevrolet, Premium Motorsports. Ditto. See Whitt. Grade: B- 29. Josh Wise , No. 30 Chevrolet, The Motorsports Group. Our attrition theme that began with Tony Stewart ends here with Wise, who has posted only three better finishes all season. Grade: C 30. Denny Hamlin , No. 11 Toyota, Joe Gibbs Racing . Hamlin was running second with fewer than 30 laps to go when his engine blew up with "no warning" (Hamlin's words). It also was a massive break for the four Chase drivers -- Austin Dillon , Chase Elliott , Joey Logano and Kevin Harvick -- who finished below Hamlin. If Hamlin had finished in the top five -- or simply ahead of Martin Truex Jr . -- the four would have been 19 to 24 points behind Truex (assuming Truex still finished 13th) for the final spot to advance to the next round. Instead, the four range from three to eight points behind Hamlin for the eighth spot. That's a huge difference. Grade: D 31. Ryan Blaney , No. 21 Ford, Wood Brothers Racing . Blaney had been competitive most of the afternoon before he was collected in the Lap 259 mess when he ran into Chase Elliott who had spun and was facing the wrong direction against the outside wall. Grade: C 32. Austin Dillon , No. 3 Chevrolet, Richard Childress Racing . The No. 3 team's decision to take two tires – when the rest of the top cars took four -- might have factored into the multi-car wreck that ensued after Dillon picked up nine spots to restart second on Lap 259. But it's not as if he spun his tires, had a poor restart and stacked up the field. This mess belonged to Martin Truex Jr . The team's troubles on his first two pit stops that played into his inferior track position, however, did not. Grade: C- 33. Chase Elliott , No. 24 Chevrolet, Hendrick Motorsports . Say all you want about Elliott's decision to slow as he reached the end of pit road, which ultimately lined him up on the inside of the third row behind Austin Dillon and Martin Truex Jr . and resulted in him being collected in the ensuing Lap 259 melee. But it doesn't change two facts: Elliott had led a race-high 103 laps to that point, and Truex, not Elliott, ignited the wreck. Elliott was among the drivers who deserved better. Grade: B 34. Paul Menard , No. 27 Chevrolet, Richard Childress Racing . Menard was one of two drivers who ran into Chase Elliott 's turned-around car in the Lap 259 carnage. Unfortunately for Menard, his car didn't survive the impact. Grade: C- 35. Greg Biffle , No. 16 Ford, Roush Fenway Racing . Tire issues, a pit-road speeding penalty and contact with the wall all preceded the No. 16's demise in the big wreck. Grade: F 36. Joey Logano , No. 22 Ford, Team Penske . Tire troubles sent the No. 22 into the wall on two separate occasions (bringing out the third and fourth cautions). He was running 16th when it happened the second time, and the damage forced a trip to the garage. Logano was 78 laps back when he returned to the track, and he was able to improve his finish by one spot. We'll know if that one point is a difference-maker after Talladega. Grade: F 37. AJ Allmendinger , No. 47 Chevrolet, JTG Daugherty Racing . The No. 47 was racy with the new Richard Childress Racing chassis, but he hit the wall hard on Lap 254, and that ended his day. Grade: D 38. Kevin Harvick , No. 4 Chevrolet, Stewart-Haas Racing . Harvick was running fourth on Lap 154 when the No. 4 abruptly lost power. An oil pump bearing was the culprit. Harvick never returned. He has finished 37th and 38th the past two races, the first time he has posted back-to-back finishes in the 30s in more than two years. Grade: F 39. Alex Bowman , No. 88 Chevrolet, Hendrick Motorsports . Bowman was running third on Lap 62 when the No. 88 cut a tire, ran up the race track, hit the wall and collected Casey Mears . The DNF marked Bowman's worst finish in his fifth race in relief of Dale Earnhardt Jr . Grade: F 40. Casey Mears , No. 13 Chevrolet, Germain Racing . Mears was simply in the wrong place at the wrong time when Alex Bowman ran up the track after cutting a tire. Grade: U (for Unfortunate)
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.
NASCAR explains late-race caution, green finish
NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Managing Director Richard Buck spoke with media after the Auto Club 400 to address a late debris caution, as well as the decision to let the race finish under green .
'Loop Dawg' gives his top picks to tame Talladega
The 'Loop Dawg,' Mike Forde makes his picks for NASCAR Fantasy Live for the upcoming race at Talladega Superspeedway while on SiriusXM NASCAR Radio.
Enfinger: 'It's pretty unbelievable'
Grant Enfinger celebrates in victory lane after getting his first career win Talladega Superspeedway.