Page 2 for the week of 04-27-2014

The First Reid:  NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Readies For Wild Talladega Qualifying

By Reid Spencer

NASCAR Wire Service

From a competition standpoint, one of the most radical changes we’ll see on the track this year will come Saturday afternoon at Talladega Superspeedway.

For the first time in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series, we’ll see the new knockout qualifying format in use at a restrictor-plate race track (Saturday, 1 p.m. ET on FOX). That ensures that times trials at Talladega will look nothing like the single-car qualifying we’ve seen in the past.

To achieve maximum speeds and thereby advance to subsequent rounds, drivers will have to draft in packs. Typically, the more cars in the draft, the faster they’ll go.

All cars entered in Sunday’s Sprint Cup race will take part in the first session, which will narrow the field to 24.

Round two will cut the number of drivers eligible for the pole to 12. What will be fascinating to watch is the way teams and cars representing each manufacturer choose to work together as the groups of cars grow progressively smaller.

Knockout time trials already have been an unqualified success at open-motor venues, and drivers expect proceedings to be even more frenetic at the plate tracks.

What’s more, the entire Cup qualifying session will be compressed into a window of roughly one hour, a far cry from the single-car sessions that typically have lasted between two and three hours.

More action in a much smaller time frame is a winning proposition for competitors and spectators alike.



First rule of victory lane.

  • To anyone who has ever equated NASCAR to professional wrestling, clearly that suggestion is incorrect. NASCAR drivers actually land punches.
  • We can promise you that NASCAR officials are reviewing the incident that occurred on pit road between Marcos Ambrose and Casey Mears. They have already spoken with Ambrose, and will speak with Casey Mears once he regains consciousness.
  • Know that thing that tire specialists do where they use a propane torch and scraper to gauge wear on tires that come off the car? Yeah, Clint Bowyer’s team probably didn’t have to do that on Saturday night.
  • Besides Joey Logano’s second Sprint Cup series win of 2014, another accolade worth mentioning is Brian Scott’s impressive streak of Nationwide races where he hasn’t been kicked in the crotch by a fellow driver reaching an impressive two. Keep it up, Brian!

(Follow @nascarcasm on Twitter. His unique views on NASCAR are his own – but chances are you already knew that.)

NASCAR Numbers

By Reid Spencer

173:  The race-high number of laps led by Jeff Gordon Saturday night at Richmond International Raceway, bringing his RIR career total to 1,637, most among active NASCAR Sprint Cup Series drivers. Gordon has been a consistent frontrunner all season long, leading to the points lead after nine races.

15:  The series leading number of bonus points scored by both Joey Logano and Kevin Harvick through nine NASCAR Sprint Cup Series races this season. Bonus points are awarded for winning races (3 points), leading at least one lap and leading the most laps in an event (1 point each). Logano and Harvick are the only two-time winners in the series.

59: In points, Jimmie Johnson’s deficit to NASCAR Sprint Cup Series leader Jeff Gordon through nine races. After a 32nd-place finish at Richmond, the six-time champion is in eighth place, already more than a full race out of the lead with 17 events left in the regular season. Of course, in the new championship format, a Johnson win will render points practically meaningless.

14.2:  The average finish at Talladega Superspeedway of Brad Keselowski and David Ragan, best among active drivers with at least 10 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series starts there. There are those who would contend Ragan’s win at the 2.66-mile track last year was a fluke. The stats argue otherwise.

11:  The combined number of NASCAR Sprint Cup Series victories at Talladega posted by Hendrick Motorsports teammates Jeff Gordon (6 wins) and Dale Earnhardt Jr. (5). No other active driver has more than two victories at NASCAR’s biggest race track.


The milestone watch continues onto Talladega Superspeedway for Kyle Busch. Busch needs only 30 more laps led to become the 15th driver to reach the 10,000 laps-led plateau in NASCAR Sprint Cup Series history. Busch has led 30 or more laps only once in his 18 career starts on the series’ largest track. … Also on a milestone watch, Denny Hamlin will make his 300th NASCAR Sprint Cup Series start on Sunday at Talladega. In the first 299, Hamlin has 23 wins, which ranks tied for 30th on the all-time NASCAR Sprint Cup Series wins list. … Darrell Wallace Jr. will make his first NASCAR Nationwide Series start of the 2014 season at Talladega Superspeedway on Saturday, May 3, behind the wheel of the No. 20 ToyotaCare Toyota Camry for Joe Gibbs Racing. The start will mark the 20-year-old’s fifth-career start in the series. In his previous four starts in the Nationwide Series, Wallace, a NASCAR Drive for Diversity graduate, earned one pole (Dover International Speedway) and three top-10 finishes in 2011. His worst finish in those four starts is 12th at Dover after contact on the last restart late in the race took him out of contention for a top finish.

Tweets Of The Week

Jeff Gordon‏


Pretty cool to c @RGIII enjoying his @nascar experience as much as he did. Come back anytime.

Robert Griffin III


Enjoyed my #Nascar experience & especially this childhood dream of meeting @JeffGordonWeb #Awesome

Dale Earnhardt Jr.


So, I went to Australia once. They don’t take no [crap]! #ThunderStruck

Brad Keselowski


Looking back, I needed some time after the race 2 cool off. Funny how much clearer the picture can be when emotion is removed #ijustwannawin


4-wide racing? It must be @TalladegaSuperS. #nascar

Casey Mears


Had a good car tonight. Proud of the @GEICORacing team. Interesting end to the night. #13

Denny Hamlin‏


Do you know how hard you have to misjudge a corner and plow into the guy in front of you to wreck someone 3 cars up? #morons

Jeff Burton


The last 10 laps were what racing is all about. Drivers giving 100% to win!

Chase Elliott‏


Heck of a race right there!! Short track action at its finest!

Darrell Wallace Jr‏


That was badass!!!!!! hell yeah congrats bro! @joeylogano

Parker Kligerman


Awesome run for my buddy @J_Allgaier ! Very happy for him. That 51 team has been showing this promise all season. #NASCAR #SmallTeam

Tune-In: NASCAR On Television, Week of April 28-May 4

Monday, April 28

4 p.m., NASCAR Race Hub, FOX Sports 1

6 p.m., NASCAR America, NBC Sports Network

6:30 p.m., NASCAR Race Hub re-air, FOX Sports 2

2:30 a.m. (Tues.), NASCAR Now, ESPN2

Tuesday, April 29

Noon, NASCAR Race Hub, FOX Sports 1

5 p.m., NASCAR America, NBC Sports Network

6:30 p.m., NASCAR Race Hub re-air, FOX Sports 2

2:30 a.m. (Wed.), NASCAR Now, ESPN2

Wednesday, April 30                                                          

Noon, NASCAR Race Hub, FOX Sports 1

6:30 p.m., NASCAR Race Hub re-air, FOX Sports 2

2:30 a.m. (Thurs.), NASCAR Now, ESPN2

Thursday, May 1

7 p.m., NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Race at Richmond re-air, FOX Sports 1

8 p.m., How It’s Made: NASCAR Cars, Science Channel

9 p.m., NASCAR Race Hub, FOX Sports 1

11 p.m., How It’s Made: NASCAR Cars,

Science Channel

2:30 a.m. (Fri.), NASCAR Now, ESPN2

2:30 a.m. (Fri.), NASCAR’s The List: Greatest Finishes re-air, NBC Sports Network

Friday, May 2                                                 

1 p.m., NASCAR Race Hub Special re-air,

FOX Sports 1

2 p.m., NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Practice,

FOX Sports 1

3 p.m., NASCAR Live, FOX Sports 1

3:30 p.m., NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Final Practice,

FOX Sports 1

4:30 p.m., NASCAR K&N Pro Series East Race at Richmond, FOX Sports 1

6:30 p.m., NASCAR Nationwide Series Coors Light Pole Qualifying, FOX Sports 1

3 a.m. (Sat.), NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Practice re-air,

FOX Sports 1

4 a.m. (Sat.), NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Final Practice re-air, FOX Sports 1

5 a.m. (Sat.), NASCAR K&N Pro Series East Race at Richmond re-air, FOX Sports 1

Saturday, May 3

1 p.m., NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Coors Light Pole Qualifying, FOX

2:30 p.m., NASCAR Nationwide Series Countdown, ESPN

3 p.m., NASCAR Nationwide Series Race at Talladega, ESPN

3:30 a.m. (Sun.), NASCAR Nationwide Series Race at Talladega re-air, ESPN2

Sunday, May 4

10 a.m., NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Coors Light Pole Qualifying re-air, FOX Sports 1

11:30 a.m., NASCAR RaceDay, FOX Sports 1

12:30 p.m., NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Pre-Race Show, FOX

1 p.m., NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Race at Talladega, FOX

1 p.m., NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Race at Talladega,

FOX Deportes

1 p.m., TUDOR United SportsCar Championship Race at Laguna Seca, FOX Sports 1

5:30 p.m., TUDOR United SportsCar Championship Race at Laguna Seca, FOX Sports 1

8 p.m., NASCAR Victory Lane, FOX Sports 1



The Next Race:

Aaron’s 499

The Place:

Talladega Superspeedway

The Date/Time:

Sunday, May 4, 1 p.m.  ET


Radio: MRN,

Sirius XM Channel 90


The Next Race:

Aaron’s 312

The Place:

Talladega Superspeedway

The Date/Time:

Friday, May 3, 3 p.m. ET


Radio: MRN,

Sirius XM Channel 90

National Series Standings

This year, wins matter more than in any season in the 65-year history of the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series.

Essentially, a win locks a driver into the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup.

2014 Winners

Pos  Driver                 Wins

1.      Kevin Harvick        2

2.      Joey Logano            2

3.      Dale Earnhardt Jr. 1

4.      Brad Keselowski                   1

5.      Carl Edwards          1

6.      Kyle Busch               1

7.      Kurt Busch               1

NASCAR Sprint Cup Series
Pos     Driver                    Points

1         Jeff Gordon           341

2         Matt Kenseth        336

3         Carl Edwards       313

4         Kyle Busch            310

5         Dale Earnhardt Jr.              309

6         Joey Logano         292

7         Brad Keselowski                287

8         Jimmie Johnson  282

9         Ryan Newman    272

10       Brian Vickers       256

11       Greg Biffle             256

12       Austin Dillon #    252

13       Kyle Larson #      251

14       Denny Hamlin     245

15       Tony Stewart       243

16       Marcos Ambrose                242

NASCAR Nationwide Series

Pos     Driver                    Points

1        Chase Elliott #      313

2        Regan Smith          294

3         Elliott Sadler         290

4        Ty Dillon #             278

5        Trevor Bayne       274

6         Brian Scott             265

7         Brendan Gaughan               239

8        James Buescher   229

9         D Kwasniewski #                212

10      Ryan Reed #          204

NASCAR Camping World Truck Series

Pos    Driver                    Points

1         Timothy Peters   82

2         Johnny Sauter       82

3         Matt Crafton          78

4         Ryan Blaney          78

5         Ron Hornaday Jr.                76

6         Ben Kennedy #     72

7         German Quiroga  71

8         Darrell Wallace Jr.              61

9         Jeb Burton                              60

10           Tyler Reddick                   60


Greg Engle
About Greg Engle 7421 Articles
Greg is a published award winning sportswriter who spent 23 years combined active and active reserve military service, much of that in and around the Special Operations community. Greg is the author of "The Nuts and Bolts of NASCAR: The Definitive Viewers' Guide to Big-Time Stock Car Auto Racing" and has been published in major publications across the country including the Los Angeles Times, the Cleveland Plain Dealer and the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. He was also a contributor to Chicken Soup for the NASCAR Soul, published in 2010, and the Christmas edition in 2016. He wrote as the NASCAR, Formula 1, Auto Reviews and National Veterans Affairs Examiner for and has appeared on Fox News. He holds a BS degree in communications, a Masters degree in psychology and is currently a PhD candidate majoring in psychology. He is currently the weekend Motorsports Editor for Autoweek.