Everything you need to know about the 2014 Chasers at Talladega

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There’s always a heightened sense of anticipation whenever NASCAR visits Talladega Superspeedway.

But that sense is even sharper this time around as it hosts the finale of the Contender Round in the Chase for the Sprint Cup.

Coming off a dramatic middle race in Charlotte, the tension will increase even more as those on the bubble battle one last time to make the Top 8 of the Chase Grid.

Kasey Kahne is only up by one point on Matt Kenseth for the eighth and final Eliminator spot.

And behind Kenseth are three of the sport’s biggest names: Brad Keselowski, Jimmie Johnson, and Dale Earnhardt Jr. Their only hope appears to be winning on Sunday in Alabama.

Courtesy of NASCAR’s public relations and statistics teams, here’s everything you need to know for the sixth race of the 2014 postseason, the GEICO 500…

TALLADEGA-SPECIFIC STATISTICS

1 – Joey Logano (No. 22 Shell Pennzoil Ford)
· Season-to-Date Driver Rating: 107.2
2014 Rundown
· Five wins, 15 top fives, 20 top 10s; one pole
· Average finish of 11.5
· Led 20 races for 916 laps
Talladega Superspeedway Outlook:
· Two top fives, four top 10s
· Average finish of 20.7 in 11 races
· Average Running Position of 16.5, eighth-best
· Driver Rating of 81.7, 11th-best
· Average Green Flag Speed of 193.205 mph, 10th-fastest

2 – Kyle Busch (No. 18 M&M’s Halloween Toyota)
· Season-to-Date Driver Rating: 91.9
2014 Rundown
· One win, eight top fives, 14 top 10s; three poles
· Average finish of 16.3
· Led 15 races for 453 laps
Talladega Superspeedway Outlook:
· One win, four top fives, five top 10s
· Average finish of 21.4 in 19 races
· Average Running Position of 18.8, 19th-best
· Driver Rating of 81.1, 13th-best
· 88 Fastest Laps Run, third-most
· 6,094 Green Flag Passes, eighth-most
· 1,782 Laps in the Top 15 (49.3%), sixth-most
· 3,705 Quality Passes, sixth-most

3 – Kevin Harvick (No. 4 Budweiser Chevrolet)
· Season-to-Date Driver Rating: 110.2
2014 Rundown
· Three wins, 11 top fives, 16 top 10s; eight poles
· Average finish of 13.5
· Led 23 races for 1,815 laps
Talladega Superspeedway Outlook:
· One win, six top fives, 11 top 10s; one pole
· Average finish of 15.9 in 27 races
· Average Running Position of 18.9, 21st-best
· Driver Rating of 78.0, 21st-best
· 80 Fastest Laps Run, fourth-most
· 6,423 Green Flag Passes, fifth-most
· 1,594 Laps in the Top 15 (44.1%), 10th-most
· 3,382 Quality Passes, ninth-most

4 – Ryan Newman (No. 31 Caterpillar Chevrolet)
· Season-to-Date Driver Rating: 85.9
2014 Rundown
· Two top fives, 13 top 10s
· Average finish of 13.5
· Led 6 races for 31 laps
Talladega Superspeedway Outlook:
· Four top fives, nine top 10s
· Average finish of 21.5 in 25 races
· Average Running Position of 22.2, 34th-best
· Driver Rating of 69.1, 30th-best

5 – Carl Edwards (No. 99 Subway Ford)
· Season-to-Date Driver Rating: 82.8
2014 Rundown
· Two wins, seven top fives, 13 top 10s
· Average finish of 14.3
· Led 11 races for 135 laps
Talladega Superspeedway Outlook:
· Two top fives, five top 10s
· Average finish of 21.1 in 20 races
· Average Running Position of 23.7, 40th-best
· Driver Rating of 67.3, 32nd-best
· 77 Fastest Laps Run, seventh-most

6 – Jeff Gordon (No. 24 Axalta Chevrolet)
· Season-to-Date Driver Rating: 110.3
2014 Rundown
· Four wins, 12 top fives, 20 top 10s; two poles
· Average finish of 9.8
· Led 22 races for 740 laps
Talladega Superspeedway Outlook:
· Six wins, 15 top fives, 19 top 10s; three poles
· Average finish of 16.7 in 43 races
· Average Running Position of 18.9, 20th-best
· Driver Rating of 80.6, 15th-best
· 1,644 Laps in the Top 15 (45.5%), ninth-most

7 – Denny Hamlin (No. 11 FedEx One Rate/Deliverminator Toyota)
· Season-to-Date Driver Rating: 90.9
2014 Rundown
· One win, six top fives, 14 top 10s; two poles
· Average finish of 15.0
· Led 13 races for 217 laps
Talladega Superspeedway Outlook:
· One win, four top fives, six top 10s
· Average finish of 19.1 in 17 races
· Average Running Position of 17.7, 12th-best
· Driver Rating of 83.1, ninth-best
· 70 Fastest Laps Run, 11th-most
· 5,604 Green Flag Passes, 12th-most
· 1,543 Laps in the Top 15 (47.8%), 11th-most
· 3,443 Quality Passes, eighth-most

8 – Kasey Kahne (No. 5 Farmers Insurance Chevrolet)
· Season-to-Date Driver Rating: 88.6
2014 Rundown
· One win, three top fives, 11 top 10s
· Average finish of 16.5
· Led 11 races for 206 laps
Talladega Superspeedway Outlook:
· Three top fives, five top 10s; one pole
· Average finish of 21.5 in 21 races
· Average Running Position of 21.7, 32nd-best
· Driver Rating of 70.0, 29th-best
· 5,877 Green Flag Passes, ninth-most
· 3,170 Quality Passes, 12th-most

9 – Matt Kenseth (No. 20 Home Depot Husky Toyota)
· Season-to-Date Driver Rating: 92.2
2014 Rundown
· 11 top fives, 18 top 10s; one pole
· Average finish of 13.9
· Led 17 races for 467 laps
Talladega Superspeedway Outlook:
· One win, five top fives, nine top 10s
· Average finish of 18.3 in 29 races
· Series-best Average Running Position of 14.0
· Driver Rating of 90.9, second-best
· 6,129 Green Flag Passes, seventh-most
· Series-high 2,361 Laps in the Top 15 (65.4%)
· 4,531 Quality Passes, third-most

10 – Brad Keselowski (No. 2 Wicked Apple Ale Ford)
· Season-to-Date Driver Rating: 103.9
2014 Rundown
· Five wins, 13 top fives, 16 top 10s; five poles
· Average finish of 13.3
· Led 25 races for 1,506 laps
Talladega Superspeedway Outlook:
· Two wins, three top fives, six top 10s
· Average finish of 16.4 in 11 races
· Average Running Position of 20.1, 24th-best
· Driver Rating of 79.7, 17th-best

11 – Jimmie Johnson (No. 48 Lowe’s Chevrolet)
· Season-to-Date Driver Rating: 98.6
2014 Rundown
· Three wins, 10 top fives, 18 top 10s; one pole
· Average finish of 14.4
· Led 15 races for 1,035 laps
Talladega Superspeedway Outlook:
· Two wins, six top fives, 10 top 10s; one pole
· Average finish of 17.2 in 25 races
· Average Running Position of 16.6, ninth-best
· Driver Rating of 85.9, seventh-best
· 1,881 Laps in the Top 15 (52.1%), fifth-most
· 3,768 Quality Passes, fifth-most

12 – Dale Earnhardt Jr. (No. 88 Diet Mountain Dew Chevrolet)
· Season-to-Date Driver Rating: 96.6
2014 Rundown
· Three wins, 11 top fives, 17 top 10s
· Average finish of 12.2
· Led 14 races for 269 laps
Talladega Superspeedway Outlook:
· Five wins, 10 top fives, 14 top 10s
· Average finish of 15.0 in 29 races
· Average Running Position of 14.8, third-best
· Driver Rating of 90.3, third-best
· 78 Fastest Laps Run, fifth-most
· 6,487 Green Flag Passes, fourth-most
· Average Green Flag Speed of 193.225 mph, ninth-fastest
· 2,155 Laps in the Top 15 (59.7%), third-most
· 4,160 Quality Passes, fourth-most

13 – AJ Allmendinger (No. 47 JTG Daugherty Racing Chevrolet)
· Season-to-Date Driver Rating: 70.8
2014 Rundown
· One win, two top fives, four top 10s
· Average finish of 20.1
· Led 5 races for 68 laps
Talladega Superspeedway Outlook:
· One top five, one top 10
· Average finish of 23.4 in nine races
· Average Running Position of 24.1, 44th-best
· Driver Rating of 61.5, 42nd-best

14 – Greg Biffle (No. 16 3M Ford)
· Season-to-Date Driver Rating: 79.0
2014 Rundown
· Three top fives, 10 top 10s
· Average finish of 15.8
· Led 6 races for 109 laps
Talladega Superspeedway Outlook:
· Three top fives, six top 10s
· Average finish of 18.7 in 23 races
· Average Running Position of 20.3, 25th-best
· Driver Rating of 76.8, 22nd-best
· 74 Fastest Laps Run, eighth-most

15 – Kurt Busch (No. 41 HAAS Automation Chevrolet)
· Season-to-Date Driver Rating: 85.7
2014 Rundown
· One win, six top fives, eight top 10s
· Average finish of 19.8
· Led 12 races for 183 laps
Talladega Superspeedway Outlook:
· Six top fives, 13 top 10s
· Average finish of 17.3 in 27 races
· Average Running Position of 14.9, fourth-best
· Driver Rating of 87.1, fifth-best
· 7,181 Green Flag Passes, second-most
· 2,262 Laps in the Top 15 (62.6%), second-most
· Series-high 4,905 Quality Passes

16 – Aric Almirola (No. 43 Smithfield Ford)
· Season-to-Date Driver Rating: 72.9
2014 Rundown
· One win, two top fives, seven top 10s
· Average finish of 21.0
· Led 5 races for 23 laps
Talladega Superspeedway Outlook:
· One top 10
· Average finish of 19.1 in nine races
· Average Running Position of 18.6, 17th-best
· Driver Rating of 81.7, 12th-best

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Track Data
Race 32 of 36
2.66-mile oval
33 degrees of banking, turns
16.5 degrees of banking, frontstretch
2 degrees of banking, backstretch
Frontstretch length – 4,300 feet
Backstretch length – 4,000 feet
Race length – 188 laps, 500 miles

Top 10 Driver Ratings at Talladega
1. Kyle Larson, 94.8
2. Matt Kenseth, 90.0
3. Dale Earnhardt Jr., 90.3
4. Jeff Burton, 89.1
5. Kurt Busch, 87.1
6. Brian Vickers, 86.9
7. Jimmie Johnson, 85.9
8. Ricky Stenhouse Jr., 85.0
9. Denny Hamlin, 83.1
10. David Ragan, 82.1
*Driver ratings compiled from 2005-2014 races among active drivers at Talladega Superspeedway.

Qualifying/Race Data
2013 pole winner: None (inclement weather)
2013 race winner: Jamie McMurray, 178.795 mph (2 hours, 47 minutes, 49 seconds), 10.20.2013
Track qualifying record: Bill Elliott, 212.809 mph, 44.998 seconds, 04.30.1987
Track race record: Mark Martin, 188.354 mph, (2 hours, 39 minutes, 18 seconds), 05.10.1997

Talladega History

· Construction began on what was then known as the Alabama International Motor Speedway on May 23, 1968.

· The first NASCAR Sprint Cup race was held on Sept. 14, 1969 – won by Richard Brickhouse.

· The name changed to Talladega Superspeedway in 1989.

· Fourth repaving completed on Sept. 19, 2006.

Talladega Notebook

· There have been 90 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series races at Talladega Superspeedway, one NSCS event in 1969 and two races per year since 1970.

· Talladega Superspeedway is tied with Michigan International Speedway for holding the ninth most NASCAR Sprint Cup Series points paying races (90).

· 438 drivers have competed in at least one NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race at Talladega; 299 in more than one.

· Dave Marcis leads the series in starts at Talladega with 61. Jeff Gordon leads all active drivers with 43 starts; followed by Joe Nemechek with 38.

· Bobby Isaac won the inaugural Coors Light pole at Talladega in 1969 with a speed of 199.466 mph. Isaac won the first three poles at the 2.66-mile superspeedway.

· 37 drivers have Coors Light poles at Talladega, led by Bill Elliott with eight. Joe Nemechek leads all active drivers with four; followed by Jeff Gordon with three.

· 10 drivers have won consecutive Coors Light poles at Talladega. Bill Elliott holds the record for most consecutive poles at Talladega with six (1985 – 1987).

· Youngest Talladega pole winner: Brian Scott (05/04/2014 – 26 years, 3 months, 22 days).

· Oldest Talladega pole winner: Mark Martin (10/23/2011 – 52 years, 9 months, 14 days).

· 44 different drivers have won at Talladega Superspeedway, led by Dale Earnhardt with 10. Jeff Gordon leads all active drivers with six.

· Richard Childress Racing has the most wins at Talladega in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series with 12; followed by Hendrick Motorsports with 11.

· Nine different manufacturers have won in the NSCS at Talladega; led by Chevrolet with 39 victories; followed by Ford with 20 and Toyota with three.

· 13 of the 90 (14.4%) NASCAR Sprint Cup Series races at Talladega have been won from the Coors Light pole. Jeff Gordon (2007) is the only active driver to be able to accomplish the feat.

· The outside front row (second-place) starting position is the most proficient starting position in the field, producing more winners (20) than any other starting position at Talladega.

· 33 of the 90 (36.6%) NASCAR Sprint Cup Series races at Talladega have been won from the front row: 13 from the pole and 20 from second-place.

· 62 of the 90 (68.8%) NASCAR Sprint Cup races at Talladega have been won from a top-10 starting position.

· 8 of the 90 (8.8%) NASCAR Sprint Cup Series races at Talladega have been won from a starting position outside the top 20.

· The deepest in the field that a race winner has started at Talladega was 36th, by Jeff Gordon in the spring of 2000.

· Youngest Talladega winner: Bobby Hillin Jr. (07/27/1986 – 22 years, 1 month, 22 days).

· Oldest Talladega winner: Harry Gant (05/06/1991 – 51 years, 3 months, 26 days).

· Buddy Baker and Tony Stewart are tied for the series’ most runner-up finishes at Talladega with six each.

· NASCAR Hall of Famer Dale Earnhardt leads the series in top-five finishes at Talladega with 23. Jeff Gordon leads all active drivers with 15.

· Dale Earnhardt leads the series in top-10 finishes at Talladega with 27. Jeff Gordon leads all active drivers with 19.

· Jimmie Johnson leads all active drivers in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series in average starting position at Talladega with a 10.520.

· Dale Earnhardt Jr. leads all active drivers in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series in average finishing position at Talladega with a 15.000.

· There have been seven NSCS races resulting with a green-white-checkered finish at Talladega Superspeedway: spring of 2005 (188/194), fall of 2005 (188/190), spring of 2007 (188/192), fall of 2008 (188/190) spring of 2010 (188/200), fall of 2012 (188/189) and spring of 2013 (188/192).

· Only two of the 90 races at Talladega Superspeedway have been shortened due to weather conditions: spring of 1987 and fall of 1996.

· Qualifying has been cancelled due to weather conditions in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series at Talladega Superspeedway five times; most recently fall of 2013.

· Jamie McMurray (10/06/2002) made his series debut at Talladega Superspeedway.

· Brian Scott (05/04/2014), David Gilliland (10/08/2006) and Travis Kvapil (10/05/2008) posted their first NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Coors Light poles at Talladega.

· 2012 series champion Brad Keselowski (04/26/2009) and Brian Vickers (10/08/2006) posted their first NASCAR Sprint Cup Series wins at Talladega.

· Nine drivers in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series have posted consecutive wins at Talladega; Dale Earnhardt Jr. leads the series in consecutive wins at Talladega after posting four straight from the fall of 2001 – 2003.

· Brad Keselowski is the only active series driver to win at Talladega in his first appearance.

· Matt Kenseth competed at Talladega Superspeedway 25 times before winning the fall of 2012; the longest span of any the 12 active NASCAR Sprint Cup Series winners.

· Matt Kenseth (25), Tony Stewart (19), Kevin Harvick (18), and David Ragan (12) all made 10 or more attempts before their first win at Talladega.

· Joe Nemechek leads the series among active drivers with the most NASCAR Sprint Cup Series starts at Talladega without visiting Victory Lane at 38; followed by Kurt Busch with 27.

· Since the advent of electronic scoring the closest margin of victory in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series at Talladega Superspeedway was the (04/17/2011) race won by Jimmie Johnson with a MOV of 0.002 second – the MOV is tied with the 2003 Darlington race as the closest finishes in the NSCS using electronic scoring.

· Jeff Gordon leads all active drivers in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series in laps led at Talladega with 844 laps led in 43 starts.

· Three female drivers have competed at Talladega in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series: Janet Guthrie, Patty Moise and Danica Patrick.

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NASCAR in Alabama

· There have been 109 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series races among seven different tracks in Alabama.

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· 70 drivers in NASCAR national series history have their home state recorded as Alabama.

· Nine drivers from Alabama have won at least one race in NASCAR’s three national series; five have won in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series.

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Valtteri Bottas wins chaotic season-opening F1 Austrian Grand Prix

Mark Thompson/Getty Images
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SPIELBERG, Austria — Valtteri Bottas won a chaotic season-opening F1 Austrian Grand Prix while six-time series champion Lewis Hamilton finished fourth after getting a late time penalty Sunday.

The Formula One race was interrupted three times by a safety car, and nine of 20 drivers abandoned, including both Red Bulls of Max Verstappen and Alexander Albon – who tried to overtake Hamilton on the outside with 10 laps left, touched wheels and flew off track.

Hamilton was given a 5-second time penalty for causing the collision, having earlier been hit with a three-place grid penalty after an incident in Saturday’s qualifying was reviewed by stewards.

SHOW OF SUPPORT: Drivers take knee before race

Bottas led all 71 laps in the eighth victory of his career. It was the second consecutive victory in the season opener for the Finn, though he won four months earlier in 2019 after this season’s start was delayed by the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

Lando Norris of McLaren F1 celebrates after his first podium finish (Mark Thompson/Getty Images).

Bottas started from pole position and Hamilton from fifth, but it looked like a straight fight between the two Mercedes drivers as has been the case so often in recent years.

But late drama in Spielberg ensured otherwise and Hamilton’s time penalty meant Charles Leclerc took second place for Ferrari, and Lando Norris sent McLaren’s garage into raptures – and threw all social distancing rules out of the window amid the euphoria – with third place.

It was the 20-year-old British driver’s first career podium, and his superb final lap was the fastest of a dramatic season opener.

Norris became the youngest British driver to secure a podium finish and the third-youngest ever in Formula One.

Valtteri Bottas leads Mercedes teammate Lewis Hamilton during the Formula One Grand Prix of Austria (Mark Thompson/Getty Images).