Everything you need to know about Sunday’s Geico 500 at Talladega (Ala.) Superspeedway, in three minutes:
Three things to watch
1. There’s a high probability of thunderstorms for Sunday afternoon. NASCAR could start the race sooner than the scheduled 1:20 p.m. green flag, but no earlier than 1 p.m., which is when Fox comes on the air.
2. Carl Edwards has won two races in a row, but he has yet to win in 46 Cup starts on a restrictor-plate track.
3. There’s something about qualifying on restrictor-plate tracks for rookie Chase Elliott. He won the pole Saturday with a lap of 192.661 mph. He also won the pole for the season-opening Daytona 500. Another youngster – Austin Dillon – will start alongside Elliott on the front row.
▪ There is plenty of symbolism to Sunday’s front row. Elliott’s No. 24 car won six times at Talladega with retired Jeff Gordon driving; Dillon’s No. 3 car won nine races with Dale Earnhardt driving. Saturday also was the 30th anniversary of Elliott’s father Bill Elliott winning the Talladega pole in 1986.
▪ Dale Earnhardt Jr., who has six Cup victories at Talladega, will drive the No. 88 Chevy he has nicknamed “Amelia,” after Amelia Earhart. Earnhardt has won four times driving Amelia, and he will start third Sunday.
▪ Ty Dillon will be on standby when the race begins, then he will climb into Tony Stewart’s No. 14 Chevy during the first caution. Stewart will start the race and get credit for points. Stewart, who raced for the first time this season last week at Richmond, Va., after an eight-race recuperation period from a fractured spine, will start at the rear of the field since Dillon qualified the car.
Three picks for your fantasy team:
Dale Earnhardt Jr.: Felt like last fall’s race was one of best he has driven at Talladega, although he was second to Joey Logano in narrow overtime finish.
Chase Elliott: Rookie pole-winner has come close to winning, with top-fives in two of past three races. This could be the week for Bill Elliott’s son.
Matt Kenseth: His string of poor performances and bad luck is bound to end any time now. He also drove well at Daytona, the Cup series’ other restrictor-plate track.
He said it
“This is the same car we had in Daytona. They brought another fast one here.” – Chase Elliott, who won the Daytona 500 pole but crashed early in the race.
Where: Talladega (Ala.) Superspeedway.
Track type: 2.66-mile tri-oval.
Race distance: 500 miles, or 188 laps.
Green flag: 1:20 p.m.
Weather: High of 83; 80 percent chance of thunderstorms.
Radio: Motor Racing Network.