Talladega Superspeedway schedule, news, media, tickets, and information for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series track only on the official site of NASCAR.
Talladega Superspeedway schedule, news, media, tickets, and information for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series track only on the official site of NASCAR.
See where each driver finished the Contender Round finale and why RELATED: Track your picks in the Perfect Chase Grid Challenge and Chase Battle Grid Presented by Toyota Editor's note: Drivers in italics are in the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup 1. Brad Keselowski , No. 2 Ford, Team Penske An adventurous day after a conflict-filled post-race the previous weekend at Charlotte seemed to be the recipe for potential heartbreak for Keselowski. But the 2012 champ defied odds and worked the draft to his advantage at Talladega Superspeedway to secure his sixth victory of the year and avoid elimination in the Contender Round finale in the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup playoffs. He did it with a damaged Team Penske No. 2 Ford, crumpled in the right-side door in the race's first wreck, and with aerodynamic savvy in changing lanes wildly on the way to the checkered flag. 2. Matt Kenseth , No. 20 Toyota, Joe Gibbs Racing The JGR driver who went after Keselowski in the post-race scrum at Charlotte found himself following his rival across the finish line in the final shuffle of the second attempt at a green-white-checkered conclusion. The runner-up effort, combined with lackluster results from his foes, was more than enough to push him to the Eliminator Round by a nine-point margin over the cut-off line. Proving that starting position means little, Kenseth and Keselowski had both dropped to the rear of the field during pre-race pace laps because of unapproved adjustments to their cars. Kenseth had the most dramatic closing kick, driving from 30th to second place with 19 laps to go. Get more driver data with RaceView. 3. Clint Bowyer , No. 15 Toyota, Michael Waltrip Racing Bowyer, a two-time winner of Talladega's fall race, was the highest finisher who didn't lead a lap. That he notched a top-five performance was remarkable in that he caught part of a 10-car wreck on Lap 103 that destroyed the hopes of several drivers. The result also gave Bowyer a clean sweep of third-place finishes in both Talladega races this season. 4. Landon Cassill , No. 40 Chevrolet, Hillman Racing Under the heading of doing a lot with a little, chalk up a career-best finish for Cassill and the scrappy No. 40 team. The Iowa native popped up to lead the 109th lap in the 194-lap race, powering around the outside of rookie Ryan Blaney at the start-finish line. By the time the event went into overtime, Cassill was in prime position, just .203 seconds behind Keselowski at the finish. View the pass for the lead here . 5. Ryan Newman , No. 31 Chevrolet, Richard Childress Racing Despite losing the draft early on when he stalled leaving his pit stall during the first exchange of stops, Newman rallied back from that gaffe and a midrace flat tire to challenge Keselowski for the victory in the final two-lap sprint to the finish. Though it was his first top-five in a span of 13 races, it was his fourth consecutive top-eight finish and that consistency over the last three races made him the highest points-earner without a win in the Contender Round. His car, however, failed post-race inspection for being too low in the rear and both sides, which could result in a penalty come Tuesday. 6. Travis Kvapil , No. 33 Chevrolet, Circle Sport Racing The former Camping World Truck Series champion showed some speed earlier in the weekend, clocking the fastest lap in the second knockout segment of Saturday's Coors Light Pole Qualifying. The largely trouble-free trend continued into Sunday's main event, where Kvapil made the most green-flag passes (669) and matched his career-best finish in the Sprint Cup Series, equaling the sixth-place run he had at Talladega in the spring of 2008. Get more driver data with RaceView . 7. Kurt Busch , No. 41 Chevrolet, Stewart-Haas Racing The Outlaw spent quite a bit of time in the midst of the action Sunday at Talladega , missing out on sixth place by the narrowest of electronic margins -- one one-thousandth of a second behind Travis Kvapil . But electronic scoring did reflect a positive as well: the fastest lap of the race (202.006 on Lap 42). Overall, Sunday marked some improvement from Busch and the No. 41 team -- it was their first top-10 since the Chase opener in Chicagoland. 8. Marcos Ambrose , No. 9 Ford, Richard Petty Motorsports The Aussie's final restrictor-plate race as a Sprint Cup regular ended with the second-best Talladega finish of his career. He landed his only top-five at the 2.66-mile Alabama track in his 'Dega debut -- claiming fourth in the spring of 2009 with the JTG-Daugherty Racing team. Sunday's result also was his first top-10 effort since finishing second at Watkins Glen in August. 9. Kevin Harvick , No. 4 Chevrolet, Stewart-Haas Racing Harvick didn't have to finish well at Talladega , based on the merits of his free pass into the Eliminator Round after a victory the previous weekend at Charlotte, but did anyway despite a pair of pitfalls. Early on, he battled on despite a windshield coated with fluid, forcing him to radio his crew: "I think I'm going to have to go to the back, guys. Can't see." He also recovered from a spin on pit road during the final exchange of stops to finish near the front of the pack. Get more driver audio with RaceView . 10. Casey Mears , No. 13 Chevrolet, Germain Racing Restrictor-plate tracks remained the Mears Gang's strong suit this season as the No. 13 came home with its third top-10 of the year -- all at either Talladega or Daytona. Sunday also helped Mears regain the one spot he lost in the standings after a 31st-place result last weekend at Charlotte; he's now back to 25th. Follow live standings in-race here . 11. Joey Logano , No. 22 Ford, Team Penske Since Logano had immunity from Contender Round elimination after winning two weeks ago at Kansas, his primary purpose was to give Penske teammate Brad Keselowski aerodynamic assistance on Talladega's high banks. Logano's objective seemed to hit a snag with a wild slide through the grass during the first caution period, but he rallied to stay in contention. Though the No. 22 team radio crackled in the late stages to say "easier said than done" regarding offering help to Keselowski, the team car prevailed anyway to secure an 11th-hour slot in the Chase's next round. Get more driver audio with RaceView . 12. Kasey Kahne , No. 5 Chevrolet, Hendrick Motorsports Kahne's hopes of remaining alive in the Chase fizzled near the end, when his No. 5 Chevy was bogged down in a slow line of cars in the first attempt at a green-white-checkered finish. Though he stormed back to the fringes of the top 10 in a frantic late push, he fell three points shy of advancing. "It was tough if you weren't in the top few spots," Kahne said. "Once we were up there early on, we could race." 13. Austin Dillon , No. 3 Chevrolet, Richard Childress Racing The RCR rookie had largely kept his nose clean in the first half of the 516-miler, but once trouble emerged in front of him in the 103rd lap, he was unable to whoa up his No. 3 Chevy, slamming into the back of Kyle Busch 's No. 18. Though Busch's day was doomed, quick patchwork from the Childress bunch revived Dillon's car to competitive speed and a finish in the main fray. 14. Reed Sorenson , No. 36 Chevrolet, Tommy Baldwin Racing If not for a favorable post-race inspection that threw out Joe Nemechek 's qualifying time and reinstated the No. 36 to the starting lineup, Sorenson would have been a spectator for Sunday's main event. The Georgia native made the most of the qualifying reprieve, posting his best finish since also coming home in 14th place at the Peachtree City native's home track, Atlanta Motor Speedway , in September 2010. 15. Cole Whitt , No. 26 Toyota, BK Racing It was a day of firsts for the 23-year-old Californian, who kept clear of the Talladega turmoil to record his best finish in 46 career starts in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series. That wasn't the only Sunday milestone -- Whitt also headed the 133rd lap during the race's third yellow flag, marking his first lap led in NASCAR's top division. 16. Michael Waltrip , No. 66 Toyota, Michael Waltrip Racing The veteran owner/driver wasn't able to convert a Talladega two-step into a challenge for victory, but Sunday's run was the best finish out of the four races on his part-time 2014 schedule. Waltrip will return to his other jobs -- calling races as a Camping World Truck Series analyst for FOX Sports 1 and unleashing fancy footwork on a different TV audience on "Dancing With The Stars." 17. Kyle Larson , No. 42 Chevrolet, Chip Ganassi Racing The charmed run of finishing sixth or better in five straight races ended Sunday for the talented Sunoco Rookie of the Year candidate. A spinout on the apron while getting his No. 42 Chevy back up to speed after a Lap 175 pit stop hindered Larson's chances of continuing the streak, but he remained 17th in the Sprint Cup standings -- the highest-ranking driver outside the Chase-eligible field. 18. Denny Hamlin , No. 11 Toyota, Joe Gibbs Racing Fate smiled on Hamlin in his most recent trip to Talladega with a regular-season win that paved his way into the Chase. Sunday, the smile wasn't so much of a smirk after a finish in the bottom half of the 32-car pack on the lead lap. Hamlin, though, did just enough, leading one lap and finishing with a 10-point cushion over Kasey Kahne , the first driver bounced from Eliminator Round advancement. The potential for better things looms for the No. 11 driver next weekend at Martinsville Speedway , where he's won four times in his Sprint Cup career. 19. Danica Patrick , No. 10 Chevrolet, Stewart-Haas Racing Helped by a push from Martin Truex Jr ., Patrick mounted a charge to the front on Lap 167, snatching the lead from Jimmie Johnson and bringing the Talladega faithful to their feet in the grandstands. Patrick showed the way for seven laps until a shuffle of pit stops and late-race restarts left her rooting and gouging for all the spots she could grab. Though the result wasn't what she wanted, she seemed thankful to be bringing the No. 10 car home in one piece, telling her crew on the cool-down lap: "Oh my gosh, I can't believe we didn't crash." Get more driver audio with RaceView . 20. Brian Vickers , No. 55 Toyota, Michael Waltrip Racing Sunday's race got off to a promising start for the No. 55 group, even on race-day eve with Coors Light Pole Qualifying. Vickers claimed his first pole since 2009, but he didn't lead after the drop of the green. Worse, he was snared in the race's biggest wreck -- the 10-car pileup in the 103rd lap that made his lead-lap finish all the more improbable. 21. Carl Edwards , No. 99 Ford, Roush Fenway Racing Edwards, Roush Fenway's last hope in the championship hunt, entered Sunday's Contender Round finale fifth in points and needing to avoid all the elimination-race mayhem. Though he came perilously close to the race's last multicar wreck, he steered clear to advance in the Chase by a scant nine points. "I just don't know how you plan this race out," Edwards said of Talladega's unpredictable nature. "We tried to outsmart everybody, and it almost caught us, so it's really down to pure chance. I'm just glad it worked out for us." 22. Ryan Blaney , No. 12 Ford, Team Penske The 20-year-old driver made waves in just his second Sprint Cup start, roaring to the point on Lap 2 and setting the pace twice for a total of 15 laps -- the first laps led in his career in NASCAR's top series. Blaney kept the No. 12, a part-time entry for Team Penske, out of trouble all day, improving on the 27th-place finish from his Cup debut back in May at Kansas Speedway . 23. AJ Allmendinger , No. 47 Chevrolet, JTG Daugherty Racing The 'Dinger let loose with some grumbling over the restrictor-plate style of racing at Talladega , vocal salvos that only got louder after his involvement in the largest wreck of the race -- the 10-car stack-up on the backstretch during Lap 103. The result matched his worst finish in the six Chase races, equaling the 23rd place at Dover International Speedway , where his playoff hopes were snuffed in the opening Challenger Round finale. Get more driver audio with RaceView . 24. Jimmie Johnson , No. 48 Chevrolet, Hendrick Motorsports The six-time Sprint Cup champion did everything possible to keep his Chase hopes alive -- except win. Johnson asserted himself early and often, leading nine times for a race-high 84 laps. Despite being a fixture at the front, his split-second tactical decisions and lack of drafting help in the late stages left him out of the hunt for the checkers. His finishes of 40th, 17th and 24th in the three Contender Round events placed him 11th out of 12 drivers, dashing hopes for a record-tying seventh Sprint Cup crown. 25. Greg Biffle , No. 16 Ford, Roush Fenway Racing The Biff's title chances ended three races ago in the Challenger Round finale at Dover, but he hasn't stopped trying to make strides. Sunday, he led the 46th lap but helped to trigger the final Talladega caution when he made contact with Dale Earnhardt Jr . at the end of the backstretch, snarling Junior and three other drivers in the mishap. 26. Jeff Gordon , No. 24 Chevrolet, Hendrick Motorsports The four-time champ entered Sunday's Talladega race with a fairly safe spot after claiming a 14th-place and a runner-up finish in his first two Contender Round finishes, but by starting last for only the second time in his 757-race career, the perch became far more precarious. In the end, Gordon kept his drive for a fifth title intact by just three points over Hendrick Motorsports teammate Kasey Kahne . "Today was not our shining moment," Gordon said. "But our performance the last two races are what really got us in, and I'm very proud of that." 27. Martin Truex Jr. , No. 78 Chevrolet, Furniture Row Racing Truex posted an achievement that reflected just how difficult 2014 has been -- his first lap led all season. With plenty of time spent among the front-runners Sunday, hopes were riding high for a competitive finish, but he was boxed in shortly after the final restart, taking damage to the left-rear quarter panel of his No. 78 in the jumble. "I don't know what to say except this is Talladega and you can go from hero to zero very quickly at this place," Truex said. "We had a good car and deserved much better." 28. Josh Wise , No. 98 Chevrolet, Phil Parsons Racing The No. 98 team welcomed back the popular Dogecoin paint scheme back for another restrictor-place event and the reunion was met with modest success. Wise crossed under the checkered flag at the tail end of the large lead pack, registering only his third lead-lap finish of the year to go with his results at Talladega and Darlington in the spring. 29. David Gilliland , No. 38 Ford, Front Row Motorsports Gilliland, the runner-up to his teammate at Talladega in spring 2013, had no such luck this go-around as he was swept up into the final crash of the day on the first try at a green-white-checkered finish. He managed to limp around to a lead-lap result and his best finish in the last four races. 30. David Ragan , No. 34 Ford, Front Row Motorsports Front Row's other David didn't have the Goliath-slaying ability this time around at Talladega , either. Though he cropped up into the lead on Lap 174, Ragan came across the line barely in touch with the lead pack. Unfortunately for him, the finish fit in with his average result for the four restrictor-plate races this season -- 30.25. 31. Dale Earnhardt Jr. , No. 88 Chevrolet, Hendrick Motorsports Though Dale Jr. led the second-most laps (31) Sunday afternoon to stoke the high hopes of his nation, he was unable to dig out of the deficit of subpar finishes in the opening two Contender Round races. By the time the race's final crash pulled him in, Earnhardt's fate was as good as sealed even though he managed to finish on the lead lap. "I know we're all disappointed," Earnhardt said over his team radio after the checkered flag, "but that's how it works." Get more driver audio with RaceView . 32. Trevor Bayne , No. 21 Ford, Wood Brothers Racing Bayne's hopes for a top-10 or better in the late stages appeared promising as he ran second with nine laps remaining. But with a top-10 effort in sight, Bayne's No. 21 was bumped out of the groove to the apron on the final restart, squelching his momentum and leaving him to languish as the final lead-lap finisher. "I hate what happened on the last restart but we'll move forward," Bayne said. The next race on the Wood Brothers' part-time schedule is next month at Texas Motor Speedway . 33. Terry Labonte , No. 32 Ford, Go FAS Racing The Iceman's final start of his 890-race career that yielded two championships ended with a thud, one lap down at Talladega but with plenty of memories. Labonte started ninth -- his best qualifying effort of the four attempts he's made this season -- but dropped to the rear of the field in pace laps because of unapproved adjustments by the Frank Stoddard-owned team. He was unable to avoid the 10-car shunt on Lap 103, but continued on to the finish with repairs. 34. Tony Stewart , No. 14 Chevrolet, Stewart-Haas Racing Smoke was among the hardest hit in the 10-car dust-up on the backstretch, but he persevered despite what he initially thought was a tire rub after repairs. From there, Stewart simply tried to log laps at reduced speed, a move that helped him gain a handful of spots after a late five-car crash knocked out other drivers and sent the race into overtime. Get more driver audio with RaceView . 35. Jamie McMurray , No. 1 Chevrolet, Chip Ganassi Racing The earliest dose of bad luck visited the No. 1 team and defending race winner McMurray. Before the race was even 25 laps old, drivers behind Jamie Mac complained that his Chevy was leaking oil, shrouding their windshields in a haze of fluids. McMurray rallied to lead three laps (47-49) then caught the worst of the race's first caution period just 10 laps later, with contact knocking off the No. 1's rear bumper and forcing wholesale repair work. 36. Paul Menard , No. 27 Chevrolet, Richard Childress Racing The stoic Wisconsinite kept his fluorescent car near the head of the class most of the day, but he was in the wrong place at the wrong time when the final yellow flag flew. Damage from the five-car confrontation on Lap 187 forced him out as one of the race's six early exits. Menard's two DNFs in each of the last two weekends have caused him to lose a spot in the Sprint Cup standings each week; he's now 22nd behind Brian Vickers . Watch video of the green-white-checkered wreck here . 37. Michael Annett , No. 7 Chevrolet, Tommy Baldwin Racing The Sunoco Rookie of the Year candidate recorded a career-best Sprint Cup starting position -- 10th -- but couldn't match the prowess at the end. His heavy damage in the final multicar wreck relegated Annett to his second DNF in the last four races. 38. Mike Wallace , No. 49 Toyota, Jay Robinson Racing Wallace's fourth Sprint Cup start of the season -- and 194th of his career -- brought a new car number than the Jay Robinson-owned team's usual No. 66. The results, however, didn't significantly change as Wallace wound up eight laps off the leader's pace by the end of a 194-lap Talladega day. 39. Aric Almirola , No. 43 Ford, Richard Petty Motorsports Restrictor-plate tracks for the famed No. 43 car have been a mixed lot of results. Almirola's most recent run at Daytona yielded the first victory of his NASCAR Sprint Cup Series career, but the other two -- a crash-related 39th in the Daytona 500 and 13th in Talladega's spring race -- left a sour taste. Almirola's contact with JJ Yeley on the backstretch ignited Sunday's largest wreck; though he returned to the track after his car underwent extensive repairs, the 30-year-old Floridian was 28 laps down at the finish. 40. Kyle Busch , No. 18 Toyota, Joe Gibbs Racing The championship contender with the biggest free-fall to the "out" stack in the Contender Round finale was Busch, who slid seven places -- eight, if you count Keselowski's climb past him based on his Sunday win, not points -- in the Chase standings. Busch's No. 18 appeared to have slowed enough to sidestep major contact until Austin Dillon 's No. 3 piled into the maelstrom. "We're done," were among the first words Busch said over the team radio before driving back to the garage. The extraordinary repair job by the JGR crew ultimately went for naught as Busch wound up 49 laps down and eliminated from this year's title pursuit. Read more about Busch's day here . 41. Michael McDowell , No. 95 Ford, Leavine Family Racing The best start of McDowell's 163-race Sprint Cup career didn't make nearly as much hay in the finish column. His part-time No. 95 entry was crumpled in the first crash of the day, but soldiered on. After a scrape with the Turn 4 w
Get up to speed for the 18th Camping World Truck Series race of 2014 What: Ninth annual fred's 250 powered by Coca-Cola Where: Talladega Superspeedway in Talladega , Alabama When: Saturday, Oct. 18 at 1 p.m. ET TV: FOX Distance: 94 laps, 250.04 miles Defending race winner: Johnny Sauter Pit road speed: 55 mph Fuel window: 40 laps On The Front Row " Full lineup 1. Tyler Reddick , Brad Keselowski Racing No. 19 Ford (186.827 mph) 2. Tayler Malsam , Turner Scott Motorsports No. 32 Chevrolet (186.714 mph) Fastest in practice: Ben Kennedy , No. 31 Chevrolet, Turner Scott Motorsports (188.902 mph) Best consecutive 10-lap average: Darrell Wallace Jr ., No. 54 Toyota, Kyle Busch Motorsports (181.877 mph) Former winners in the field: Johnny Sauter (2013) About the sponsor: fred's is a discount general merchandise store with more than 700 locations centered around the southeastern United States. Shake-and-bake : "Actually a couple days ago I was talking with some friends in Mexico. I talk very often with them and they asked me where is going to be my race this weekend, and I told them Mexico and Talladega and they told me, 'Hey, Talladega like the movie?' So, definitely there is a lot of history in this race track." -- Daniel Suarez, who is making his first career Camping World Truck Series start this weekend Not as easy as it looks: "It sounds simple -- holding it wide open and being in the draft, but at the end of the day there is a lot of things that you can do with it. I'll just be trying to learn as much as I can in practice and early in the race and be ready for when it matters." -- Erik Jones , who is making his first start at Talladega Keeping your head: "I've never raced at Talladega Superspeedway , but I already know that it's going to be a wild one. Something crazy always happens here. We ran well in Daytona earlier this year and we're bringing back the same truck, but I know Talladega can be a whole different animal. The key is racing smart so that you can make it to the last lap, and then it's game on until you can cross the finish line." -- Ben Kennedy , who is also making his first start at Talladega Relying on fate: "Racing at Talladega is just like going out and buying a lottery ticket -- you're damned if you do and damned if you don't. There's just no telling -- but you've got to play the game." -- Matt Crafton , the defending series champion and current points leader MORE: READ: Latest Chase news PLAY: Monitor your Chase Grid Game picks WATCH: Latest NASCAR video FOLLOW LIVE: Get RaceView FULL SERIES COVERAGE • Latest news • Standings • Schedule
Driver of the No. 17 Roush Fenway Racing Ford fails to make GEICO 500 field MORE: Sunday's starting lineup RELATED: Play NASCAR Fantasy Live " Sign up for RaceView today TALLADEGA , Ala. -- Changes to NASCAR's qualifying format for the GEICO 500 at Talladega Superspeedway produced a number of surprises, not the least of which was the failure of Ricky Stenhouse Jr . to earn a starting berth in the 43-car field. The Roush Fenway Racing driver was one of three that failed to earn a starting position based on his qualifying speed -- Justin Allgaier and Reed Sorenson also failed to post times fast enough to crack the top 36 here Saturday at Talladega Superspeedway . Sorenson ( Tommy Baldwin Racing ), 36th fastest in the opening round, was eventually added to the lineup after Joe Nemechek 's No. 29 Toyota failed post-qualifying inspection. "I didn't consider the fact that our position in points would leave us in jeopardy," Roush Fenway Racing co-owner Jack Roush said afterward. "That was a blind side on my part. It's unfortunate we weren't in a better place in points, and that we had as many good cars as we did that didn't qualify based on time. It's just unbelievable that we didn't get on the race track in time to get a lap there." Stenhouse has made 72 starts in Sprint Cup competition, including 67 in a row since moving up to the series full time a year ago. He made five starts between 2011-12 while winning back-to-back championships in NASCAR's Nationwide Series . His team's DNQ was the result of several things, from Saturday's slow qualifying speed to his team's position in the owner points standings. During the first round, Stenhouse posted a speed of 176.947 mph, just 43rd overall for the round. While unfortunate, under normal circumstances, he would have been one of several slotted into the field in one of the seven remaining positions available based on owner points. But because seven drivers higher in owner points failed to crack the top 36 (Tony Stewart, Denny Hamlin , Kevin Harvick , Joey Logano , Kyle Busch , Kyle Larson and Jeff Gordon ), Stenhouse Jr. wasn't able to secure one of those starting spots. NASCAR determines its 43-car lineup based on the following: positions 1-36 are awarded based solely on lap times. Positions 37-43 are awarded based on a team's rank in the owner standings, and assigned positions based on their lap times. (If a former champion fails to post a speed in the top 36, he may be assigned the 43rd position, if his team isn't high enough in the owners' points standings to receive one of those berths.) NASCAR made changes to the qualifying format for Talladega , with teams split into two groups for the first round, and limiting the time of the round to five minutes. The latter change meant teams would likely get one opportunity to post a qualifying run with no time to return to pit road, allow their cars to cool and return to the track should it be necessary. Stenhouse was last in line in a group of cars that included Gordon and Harvick making their qualifying laps in the first round. But when Gordon slowed (to create a gap between his group and another group ahead of the pack), it slowed those behind him. Because they didn't get back to the start/finish line in time, they were unable to post another lap. "I thought being the last car in line would be beneficial for us," Stenhouse said. "We had Jeff Gordon leading the pack there; I thought we would have a good shot at putting a good lap in, but my spotter was telling me '‘hey, you have 30 seconds to get across the start/finish line' as we were entering Turn 3. "I don't guess the 24’s (spotter) was giving him a lot of information. He kept slowing the pack down and we didn't get a good lap and never got across the start/finish line in time. "My spotter was giving me the information I needed and I wish the 24 would have been doing the same." Stenhouse later tweeted the following: All I got tough day pic.twitter.com/4KWEFvpmQ9 — Ricky Stenhouse Jr . (@StenhouseJr) October 18, 2014 Gordon said the qualifying plan "was shot before the plan started." "I messed up ultimately," the Hendrick Motorsports driver said. "I just mistimed getting to the line. The whole group was going so slow I knew I had to have a gap and when I came across the line I thought I had enough (time) to be able to complete that lap and get one more, which was the only way we were going to make it. "But we came up short. It's a mess out there. It's not easy." It was the second time this season a driver from the RFR stable failed to qualify for a Sprint Cup race. A week ago at Charlotte Motor Speedway , Nationwide Series regular Trevor Bayne was unable to qualify for the Bank of America 500 in a fourth RFR entry fielded just for that race. Roush, whose organization also fields Sprint Cup entries for drivers Greg Biffle and Carl Edwards , didn't blame the qualifying format for the setback. "We just didn't get on the race track fast enough and I'm not sure who actually made that call. I'm not sure if it was left up to Ricky or the spotter or (crew chief) Mike Kelley," Roush said. "It's my responsibility to make sure we execute our program so we have a chance to qualify. We clearly didn't do it here and that's an oversight." MORE: READ: Latest Chase news PLAY: Monitor your Chase Grid Game picks WATCH: Latest NASCAR video FOLLOW LIVE: Get RaceView FULL SERIES COVERAGE • Latest news • Standings • Schedule FULL CHASE COVERAGE • Chase hub page • Chase Grid games • #MyChaseNation
Johnson on outside looking in on advancing to Eliminator Round RELATED: Follow your picks in the Perfect Chase Grid Challenge for chance at $100,000 prize TALLADEGA , Ala. -- Six-time NASCAR Sprint Cup Series champion Jimmie Johnson is in unfamiliar territory. A favorite coming in to the new elimination format of the post-season, Johnson is in position to be dropped from the list of title contenders come Sunday evening after the GEICO 500 (2 p.m. ET, ESPN). Yet the Hendrick Motorsports driver is quite relaxed. After all, it's Talladega Superspeedway , and there's no use preparing for what you can't predict. " Talladega takes a lot of pressure off of a driver until race time, because there's not much you can do," Johnson said Friday before getting in his No. 48 Chevrolet for the first practice session of the weekend. "I think the majority right now of my head and the relaxed week and my calmness right now is just due to it being Talladega , and my job's really not important until Sunday." "And then, I'm sure, the pressure will kick in," he added. The No. 48 team's take-it-as-it-comes attitude isn't the only one in the garage. Jamie McMurray , driver of the No. 1 Chevrolet for Chip Ganassi Racing , was also expecting a low-key weekend until the green flag on Sunday. " Talladega is one of the more laid-back weekends for all of us. It’s typically one practice to see if the car feels good," he said. "I’m glad they base qualifying if it gets rained out on your practice speed, because it gets all the cars on the lap for at least one session. Then it is pretty laid back for the rest of the weekend until the race starts. So, it is one of the calmer weekends we get to have.” That's not to say there won't be any excitement at the 2.66-mile restrictor-plate track. Johnson's Hendrick Motorsports teammate Dale Earnhardt Jr . is in a position to be eliminated after a 39th-place finish at Kansas and another disappointing finish at Charlotte. Brad Keselowski and Matt Kenseth , who made contact on the track at Charlotte and later ended the evening with a scuffle, are also looking to move into one of the eight positions that will continue into the eliminator round. Matt Kenseth is only one point behind eighth-place Kasey Kahne . Keselowski is 19 points out of the last transfer spot, with Johnson and Earnhardt each seven points behind Keselowski. A win is the only sure way for each of the five to advance. "We've seen races very competitive and aggressive, we've also seen races where the lead group of cars decide to ride around the top and makes it a single file race," Johnson said. "There is no rhyme or reason why that happens. So I think its hard to predict what the race will be like. I can promise you, though, with four guys needing to win to transfer that at the end of the race there will definitely be some racing. It might just be us four at the bottom trying to find our way around or in a different lane trying to get to the front, but there's at least four that have a really big reason to take chances and to be aggressive and to win." Aggression and frustration seem to be the common themes woven through this year's Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup storylines, especially in light of the relaxed preparation for the carnage that is always expected at Talladega . Both emotions were evident on Johnson's radio last weekend, as the driver and his crew chief took part in an expletive-laden discussion about a poor-handling car. The brewing tensions that boiled over between Kenseth and Keselowski last weekend embodied that frustration, as well -- and it's clear that they haven't been forgotten this week. “I think there’s definitely an increase of intensity on the track and off the track; there’s no doubt about that," Ryan Newman , currently fourth in the Chase standings, said. "You’ve opened it up to more competitors, which makes the intensity even more. You get more attitudes and egos in there. That, I think, is kind of expected." With one last chance to advance deeper into the Chase, Kenseth, Keselowski, Junior and Johnson aren't there to make friends -- as Kenseth and Keselowski proved last weekend. That also goes for the Hendrick Motorsports duo, whose other teammates, Jeff Gordon and Kahne, are sixth and eighth in the standings, respectively. "At the end of a race, it doesn’t matter if it's Junior or my mom or anybody –- I have to win," Johnson said. "My quest to win a seventh championship is the thing I’m most concerned about. I know my teammates are going to think the same way and have the same approach. We’re out there to win for our teams and ourselves to move on and have a shot at the championship." MORE: READ: Latest Chase news PLAY: Monitor your Chase Grid Game picks WATCH: Latest NASCAR video FOLLOW LIVE: Get RaceView FULL CHASE COVERAGE • Chase hub page • Chase Grid games • #MyChaseNation
Kyle Busch fastest in Talladega final practice; Kennedy tops trucks Sprint Cup Series final practice " Results Kyle Busch claimed the top spot in NASCAR Sprint Cup Series final practice Friday afternoon at Talladega Superspeedway as drivers conserved their equipment in the last tuning session before Sunday's main event. Busch, driving the Joe Gibbs Racing No. 18 Toyota, topped the 50-minute stretch with a fast lap of 195.205 mph. He ranks second in the standings, highest among Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup playoff-eligible drivers without a win in the Contender Round. Rookie Kyle Larson was second-fastest at 195.118 mph in the Chip Ganassi Racing No. 42 Chevrolet. Kasey Kahne , Jeff Gordon and Casey Mears rounded out the top five in final practice. With teams opting to avoid potential damage with practicing in large packs, only 21 drivers took to the 2.66-mile track in the session. Matt Kenseth turned the most laps (21) with Kahne logging the second-most (20). Three title-eligible drivers did not participate in final practice -- Carl Edwards , Kevin Harvick and Ryan Newman . Joey Logano did not complete a full lap at speed and was last among the 21 drivers on the leaderboard. Harvick and Logano both have free passes into the next round of the Chase, thanks to their victories in the other Contender Round races the last two weeks. The rest of the title hopefuls will need to lock into the Eliminator Round in Sunday's Geico 500 (2 p.m. ET, ESPN), when the field of championship-eligible drivers is shaved from 12 to eight. Sprint Cup Series practice 1 " Results Clint Bowyer shot to the top of the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series leaderboard Friday afternoon at Talladega Superspeedway , using the aerodynamic draft to clock a lap at 200.385 mph in opening practice. Bowyer, driving the Michael Waltrip Racing No. 15 Toyota, carries two Talladega fall race victories (2010, 2011) into Sunday's GEICO 500 (2 p.m. ET, ESPN), the sixth race of the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup playoffs and the elimination finale of the three-race Contender Round. After Sunday's event on the 2.66-mile track, the championship-eligible field will be whittled from 12 drivers to eight. Aric Almirola was second-fastest in the Richard Petty Motorsports No. 43 Ford at 200.268 mph. Defending race winner Jamie McMurray ended the session third-fastest with Michael McDowell and Travis Kvapil completing the top five. Brad Keselowski was the fastest among Chase drivers still alive in the title hunt, clocking the eighth-best lap. Joey Logano (31st-fastest) and Kevin Harvick (37th) are already clear to the next round of the playoffs with victories the last two weekends. Three heavy hitters below the cut-off line entering the Contender Round finale -- Keselowski, Dale Earnhardt Jr ., and Jimmie Johnson -- essentially need to win Sunday's race to control their own postseason destiny. Earnhardt was 12th-fastest and Johnson, his Hendrick Motorsports teammate, 32nd-fastest. The hourlong practice session marked the first on-track activity for the Sprint Cup drivers, and the large pack of cars fanned out to three-wide early on. Johnson was among those largely avoiding the risk of heavy traffic, but his lap times reflected the lack of aerodynamic help from other cars. Coors Light Pole Qualifying is scheduled Saturday (4:40 p.m. ET, ESPNews) with Sprint Cup teams tackling their first go-round with a new format for restrictor-plate tracks Talladega and Daytona, announced last month. Teams will have three five-minute rounds of eliminations, with 24 of the 46 drivers making the second session and 12 drivers competing for the pole in the final stint. Final Sprint Cup practice is scheduled later Friday from 4:30-5:20 p.m. ET (FOX Sports 1). Camping World Truck Series practice 1 " Get results Rookie Ben Kennedy was fastest in Friday's first and only practice for Saturday's NASCAR Camping World Truck Series fred's 250 powered by Coca-Cola at Talladega Superspeedway . Kennedy posted a speed of 188.902 mph on his 11th lap of the two-hour practice. Saturday will be Kennedy's first start at the Alabama track.Second-fastest was fellow rookie Mason Mingus at 188.872 mph. Tayler Malsam (188.857 mph), Ryan Sieg (188.835 mph) and Spencer Gallagher (188.824 mph) completed the top five fastest drivers. Points leader Matt Crafton posted a speed of 186.585 mph and was 14th-fastest of the run. Defending race winner Johnny Sauter was 17th-fastest (186.409 mph). Sauter is the only previous winner in the field for Saturday, and he trails teammate Crafton by 19 points in the standings. The practice had four caution flags. The first came out early for debris at the end of pit road. The second was for No. 74 Mike Harmon who spun in Turns 3 and 4. The third was for fluid on the track in Turn 4 and the fourth and final caution came out when No. 13 Jeb Burton stopped on the track after running out of fuel. The NASCAR Camping World Truck Series will return to the track for Keystone Light Pole Qualifying at 5:45 p.m. ET with TV coverage on FOX Sports 1. Sprint Cup Series practice 2, 4:30-5:20 p.m. ET " Follow live MORE: READ: Latest Chase news PLAY: Monitor your Chase Grid Game picks WATCH: Latest NASCAR video FOLLOW LIVE: Get RaceView FULL CHASE COVERAGE • Chase hub page • Chase Grid games • #MyChaseNation
Get all the on-track times for the weekend's NASCAR action RELATED: Track your picks in the Perfect Chase Grid Challenge and Chase Battle Grid Presented by Toyota All times ET COMPLETE TV LISTINGS / BUY TICKETS FOR TALLADEGA / WEEKEND TRACK EVENTS This week, the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series and the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series head to Talladega Superspeedway SUNDAY, OCTOBER 19: PRE-RACE SCHEDULE 12:00:00 p.m. ET: NSCS Driver/Crew Chief Meeting (Drivers Meeting Room) 1:30:00 p.m. ET: NSCS Drivers Introductions with NASCAR Special Awards 2:02:00 p.m. ET: Presentation of Colors by: Alabama National Guard 2:02:20 p.m. ET: Invocation by: Ron Jackson, Volunteer, Alabama Raceway Ministries 2:02:45 p.m. ET: Intro National Anthem (30 x 50 American Flag unfurled on ball field) 2:03:00 p.m. ET: National Anthem: 313th United States Army Band (Signed by Marshe’ Brownlee; a Student from Alabama Institute of Deaf & Blind) 2:05:00 p.m. ET: "This is Talladega " by Grant Lynch, Chairman of Talladega Superspeedway 2:09:30 p.m. ET: "Drivers, Start Your Engines" by: Rhett Rayburn, Regional V.P., Macon Southeast 2:21:30 p.m. ET: Green Flag – GEICO 500 (188 laps, 500.08 miles) ON TRACK -- 2 p.m. ET: NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Geico 500 (188 laps, 500.08 miles), ESPN ( Get results ) PRESS CONFERENCES ( Watch Live ) -- 5:30 p.m. ET: NASCAR Sprint Cup Series post-race FRIDAY, OCTOBER 17: ON TRACK -- 9:30-11:30 a.m. ET: NASCAR Camping World Truck Series final practice ( Get results ) -- 2:30-3:30 p.m. ET: NASCAR Sprint Cup Series practice, FOX Sports 1 ( Get results ) -- 4:30-5:20 p.m. ET: NASCAR Sprint Cup Series practice, FOX Sports 1 ( Get results ) -- 5:45 p.m. ET: NASCAR Camping World Truck Series qualifying, FOX Sports 1 ( Get results ) PRESS CONFERENCES ( Watch Live ) -- 12:15 p.m. ET: Darrell Wallace Jr . -- 12:30 p.m. ET: Michael Waltrip with Dr. Patrick Ellinor, American Heart Association and Gregg Ruppersberger, Group Product Director, Janssen Pharmaceuticals, Inc. -- 12:45 p.m. ET: German Quiroga and Daniel Suarez -- 1 p.m. ET: Jamie McMurray -- 1:15 p.m. ET: Matt Kenseth -- 1:30 p.m. ET: Jimmie Johnson -- 1:45 p.m. ET: Kevin Harvick -- 4 p.m. ET: Denny Hamlin -- 6:30 p.m. ET: NASCAR Camping World Truck Series post-qualifying GARAGECAM PRESENTED BY MOBIL 1 ( Watch Live ) -- 2 p.m. ET: Sprint Cup Series SATURDAY, OCTOBER 18: ON TRACK -- 1 p.m. ET: NASCAR Camping World Truck Series fred's 250 powered by Coca-Cola (94 laps, 250.04 miles), FOX ( Get results ) -- 4:40 p.m. ET: NASCAR Sprint Cup Series qualifying, ESPNEWS ( Get results ) PRESS CONFERENCES ( Watch Live ) -- noon: Talladega Superspeedway announcement with Dale Earnhardt Jr . -- 3:30 p.m. ET: NASCAR Camping World Truck Series post-race -- 5:45 p.m. ET: NASCAR Sprint Cup Series post-qualifying MORE: READ: Latest Chase news PLAY: Monitor your Chase Grid Game picks WATCH: Latest NASCAR video FOLLOW LIVE: Get RaceView
Veteran holds off Malsam, Gallagher for first win of 2014 season RELATED: Full race results " Updated series standings TALLADEGA , Ala.—Holding off all challengers in a race that went four-wide on the final two laps, Timothy Peters won the fred's 250 NASCAR Camping World Truck Series race on Saturday at Talladega Superspeedway . Peters arrived at the finish line .143 seconds ahead of second-place starter and finisher Tayler Malsam . Spencer Gallagher ran third, followed by Tyler Reddick and Ryan Blaney , who trimmed 14th-place finisher Matt Crafton ’s lead in the series standings to 16 points with four races left in the season. The victory was Peters' first of the season, his first at Talladega and the eighth of his career. After ducking onto the apron to ensure a strong flow to the fuel pickup in his No. 17 Toyota, Peters, who had charged forward from the 26th starting position, led the field to a green-white-checkered-flag finish on Lap 94 of 95, after Norm Benning 's spin in Turn 2 slowed the field for the sixth time. With a strong push from Malsam, Peters hugged the inside line into Turn 1 with Ryan Blaney to his outside. As the field spread out over the final two laps to three-wide and even four-wide, Peters doggedly held the lead and took the checkered flag with Malsam in his tow. "Chris Lambert, who spots for me, did a great job from the time the green flag fell till the checkered flag waved," Peters said. "It was system overload, telling me everything, how far apart they were in front of me, how close the guy behind me was, what run was coming on the outside coming to the checkered flag… "We were making our Toyota Tundra as wide as we could (on the final two laps), and so it feels really good to come across the start/finish line and kind of wipe missing the Daytona/ Talladega sweep by (16) hundredths of a second (Peters finished second at Daytona by that margin earlier this year). "It just felt really good to go to Victory Lane." On the final restart, Blaney got a push from sixth-place finisher Erik Jones and thought he was in position for the win but acknowledged he didn't expect a third line to develop to his outside as quickly as it did. "I thought we were in the perfect spot, leading the outside line into Turn 2," Blaney said. But the side draft from the outside line separated Jones from Blaney and broke their momentum, dropping them out of contention for the win. A rare engine failure torpedoed Johnny Sauter 's championship hopes. Sauter's Toyota slowed on Lap 24 and coasted onto pit road. His resulting 31st-place finish left him fourth in the standings, 36 points behind Crafton, his ThorSport Racing teammate. "Whatever… the championship's over," a disconsolate Sauter said in the garage as his team worked on his Tundra. "From here on out, we can just race like hell." At a track legendary for wild action, Ben Kennedy sustained the hardest hit on Lap 65, when Joe Nemechek lost control of his truck and knocked Kennedy's Chevrolet into the outside wall. Nemechek's first concern was for Kennedy's safety. After learning he had walked away from the wreck, Nemechek radioed, "Put all of the blame for that one right square on my shoulders," indicating his Toyota had been sucked around in turbulent air. Note: Daniel Suarez finished 15th in his NCWTS debut. On Sunday, he races in his native Mexico in the NASCAR Toyota Mexico Series. MORE: READ: Latest Chase news PLAY: Monitor your Chase Grid Game picks WATCH: Latest NASCAR video FOLLOW LIVE: Get RaceView FULL SERIES COVERAGE • Latest news • Standings • Schedule
Grant Lynch: 'What they can do here is special' RELATED: Follow your picks in the Perfect Chase Grid Challenge for chance at $100,000 prize TALLADEGA , Ala. -- Five minutes, five laps and the fastest lap of the five determines where you stack up in the 43-car lineup. Maybe that's the next qualifying format change for restrictor-plate tracks in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series . "If you don't make five laps, you don't count any of them," an exasperated Grant Lynch, chairman of Talladega Superspeedway , said Sunday morning. Lynch said he thought the format used Saturday failed to achieve the desired result, which was to have multiple cars on the track for much of the opening round with speeds more closely resembling those seen in race conditions. Instead, some teams waited until the last possible moment to make a qualifying run and came up short when they were unable to get up to speed before the session ended. Tony Stewart , Denny Hamlin , Kevin Harvick , Joey Logano , Kyle Busch , Kyle Larson and Jeff Gordon qualified for today's GEICO 500 at Talladega based on their position in owner points, not by virtue of their qualifying lap speeds. Five of the seven drivers are championship contenders. Two full-time teams, the No. 17 of Ricky Stenhouse Jr . and the No. 51 of Justin Allgaier , failed to qualify because of how the owner points fell. "It's frustrating," Lynch said. "I've said this many times -- what they can do here is special. To see them have the opportunity to go out and finally … qualify at the speeds we race at … is disappointing. "But I understand strategies; I understand there are different people in the draft that will get different benefits." Drivers were no less taken with the new format, which broke the teams into two groups for the first session. "You don't really feel like you are doing your part as a race car driver in a qualifying session like this," six-time NASCAR Sprint Cup champion Jimmie Johnson said. "But it is plate racing and if it's entertaining I guess I'm OK with it." AJ Allmendinger , third fastest behind pole winner Brian Vickers and Johnson, the No. 2 qualifier, called it "a weird format." "I'm not sure it's any better than single-car qualifying," he said. "It's hard to say, but it is what it is." Former series champion Brad Keselowski said the bigger question was whether the fans liked the format change "because that is who we do everything for." "If the fans like it, then I'm happy, and if not, I am not," the Team Penske driver added. Lynch said he's certain NASCAR officials will look into possible changes to the format. "They've already taken it down from 25 (minutes) in the first round to five," he said. "I'd rather die quick than from a bunch of cuts." MORE: READ: Latest Chase news PLAY: Monitor your Chase Grid Game picks WATCH: Latest NASCAR video FOLLOW LIVE: Get RaceView FULL CHASE COVERAGE • Chase hub page • Chase Grid games • #MyChaseNation