Ford Looks To Continue Talladega Dominance

Photo Credit Daytona Racing Archives

The NASCAR Cup Series headlines another full weekend of racing that also includes the NASCAR XFINITY and ARCA Menards Series at Talladega Superspeedway.  Ford has been on a roll in the Cup Series recently, winning seven in a row at one point until that streak was snapped in this event last year.  Ryan Blaney started another one, however, with his win in the Playoffs last fall, giving Ford 8 wins in the last 9 Talladega events.

FORD IN THE NASCAR CUP SERIES AT TALLADEGA

·         Ford has 29 all-time series wins at Talladega, including 8 of the last 9, and 9 of the last 11.

·         Brad Keselowski, Joey Logano, Kevin Harvick, Aric Almirola, Clint Bowyer and Ryan Blaney all have series wins at Talladega.

·         NASCAR Hall of Famer Bud Moore helped Buddy Baker win three straight series races (1975-76), becoming the first to do that in Talladega history.

FORD IN THE NASCAR XFINITY SERIES AT TALLADEGA

·         Ford has 6 series wins at Talladega

·         The first Ford victory in the series was by Chad Little in 1995.

·         Mark Martin, David Ragan, Aric Almirola and Joey Logano have MENCS and NXS wins at Talladega with Ford.

FORD DOMINATES TOP FIVE IN CUP STANDINGS

Evidence of Ford’s fast start to the 2020 NASCAR Cup Series season can be found in the standings, where four of the top five spots are occupied by Blue Oval competitors.  Kevin Harvick, Joey Logano and Brad Keselowski have all won twice this year and are sitting first, third and fourth, respectively, while Ryan Blaney rounds out the group in fifth.  Ford also continues to hold a 25-point lead in the manufacturer standings due in large part to its series-high six victories.

TEAM PENSKE ROLLING AT TALLADEGA

Team Penske drivers Joey Logano, Brad Keselowski and Ryan Blaney have combined to win 7 of the last 11 NCS races at Talladega Superspeedway.  Keselowski won the Playoff race in 2017, making him the winningest active driver at the track with five, while Logano won the same event in back-to-back seasons (2015-16).  Blaney made it a Penske trifecta with his Playoff victory last season.

BRISCOE ON TRACK

Earlier this year, Ford Performance development driver Chase Briscoe said he would like to win eight races this season and moved a bit closer to that goal with Sunday’s win at Homestead-Miami Speedway.  The win is Briscoe’s third of the season, most among series drivers, and moved him within 18 points of first place in the series standings.  Briscoe has seven combined wins in the NASCAR XFINITY (5) and NASCAR Gander RV & Outdoors Truck Series (2) in three-plus seasons at some of the most diverse tracks in the sport, including the annual dirt race at Eldora Speedway, the inaugural race at the Charlotte ROVAL, the speedy short track at Iowa Speedway and the challenging egg-shaped oval of Darlington.

WINNING IN THE CLUTCH

Needing a win to advance in the Playoffs, Brad Keselowski did exactly that in winning the Geico 500 on Oct. 19, 2014.  The win was Keselowski’s sixth of the year, most for any driver in the NASCAR Cup Series season, and enabled him to move into the next round.  Keselowski got a push from Penske teammate Joey Logano on the final green-white-checker restart and held off Matt Kenseth for the win.

ROUND OF 12 SWEEP

Joey Logano made history in 2015 when he came to Talladega Superspeedway and completed a three-race Round of 12 sweep by surviving a green-white-checker finish to win the CampingWorld.com 500.  Logano became the first driver to sweep an entire round in only the second year of the format and won for the sixth time in 2015.  In order to do it, he had to survive an aborted green-white-checker restart and then the official restart after it was determined by NASCAR that the original attempt had not gone green before an accident back in the pack occurred.  The cars lined up again and shortly after Logano passed the start-finish line, a multi-car wrecked ensued that involved Kevin Harvick, who was having engine issues which brought the caution out and gave Logano the win. 

BAKER PROVIDES MOORE SUCCESS

The first time Ford went to victory lane at Talladega Superspeedway was May 4, 1975 when Buddy Baker, driving for Hall of Fame car owner Bud Moore, held off David Pearson on the final lap.  The win was Baker’s ninth career victory and came after he took the lead with 18 laps to go.  One of the key decisions in getting Baker to the checkered flag first came when his team opted for two tires on its final pit stop of the day while Pearson and the Wood Brothers decided on gas only.  Even though Pearson steadily gained ground on the final lap, Baker was able to hold on by half a car length to win.  That started a streak which saw Baker and Moore win three straight Talladega races.

DAVEY ALLISON’S FIRST WIN

Ford has had many milestone moments at Talladega Superspeedway, including the first NASCAR Cup Series win for the late Davey Allison, who won the Winston 500 on May 3, 1987.  The race came down to a restart with 10 laps to go in which Allison found himself behind Dale Earnhardt in the outside lane.  Earnhardt bolted to the lead when the green flew and Allison tucked in right behind him through turns one and two.  As they came off the second corner, Allison went to the inside and easily passed Earnhardt for what proved to be the winning pass.  Terry Labonte ended up finishing second with Earnhardt third.  Allison went on to win 19 NSCS races, including three at Talladega. 

ROBERT YATES RACING’S FINAL WIN

When Dale Jarrett won the UAW-Ford 500 on Oct. 2, 2005 it ended up being the final trip to victory lane for Robert Yates Racing.  This race came down to a green-white-checker restart, where Jarrett was positioned fourth.  He was still in that spot when they came around to start the final lap, but quickly moved to the outside as Tony Stewart grabbed the lead on the inside lane.  The two drivers battled side-by-side down the backstretch before Jarrett powered his way in front.  Seconds after getting the lead, Kyle Petty was involved in a single-car accident that brought out the caution as the cars entered turn three.  Jarrett was declared the winner after NASCAR verified that he was in front at the time the yellow flag was thrown.  The win was RYR’s 57th triumph in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series, and came six years after the team won its only championship with Jarrett in 1999.

DAVID RAGAN’S SURPRISE VICTORY

And then there was David Ragan, who became the 11th driver to win a NASCAR XFINITY and NASCAR Cup Series race at Talladega Superspeedway when he took the checkered flag in the 2013 Aaron’s 499.  The win was his second series victory and first for Front Row Motorsports, and it ended in typical Talladega fashion.  As the cars came to the white flag it was Carl Edwards in the lead while Ragan was fifth and tucked in the middle lane behind Aric Almirola.  When Almirola moved to the high side, it enabled Ragan and teammate David Gilliland to work together and push their way forward.  The duo was behind Edwards off turn two, but they made their move to the inside on the backstretch and made what proved to be the decisive pass.

FORD’S NASCAR CUP SERIES WINNERS AT TALLADEGA

1975 – Buddy Baker (Sweep)

1976 – Buddy Baker (1)

1979 – Bobby Allison (1)

1983 – Dale Earnhardt (2)

1985 – Bill Elliott and Cale Yarborough

1987 – Davey Allison and Bill Elliott

1989 – Davey Allison and Terry Labonte

1992 – Davey Allison (1)

1994 – Jimmy Spencer (2)

1995 – Mark Martin (1)

1997 – Mark Martin (1)

1998 – Dale Jarrett (2)

2005 – Dale Jarrett (2)

2009 – Jamie McMurray (2)

2012 – Matt Kenseth (2)

2013 – David Ragan (1)

2014 – Brad Keselowski (2)

2015 – Joey Logano (2)

2016 – Brad Keselowski (1) and Joey Logano (2)

2017 – Ricky Stenhouse Jr. (1) and Brad Keselowski (2)

2018 – Joey Logano (1) and Aric Almirola (2)

2019 – Ryan Blaney (2)

FORD’S NASCAR XFINITY SERIES WINNERS AT TALLADEGA

1995 – Chad Little

1997 – Mark Martin

2002 – Jason Keller

2009 – David Ragan

2015 – Joey Logano

2017 – Aric Almirola

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