FORD PERFORMANCE NASCAR: TALLADEGA PLAYOFF NOTES
The Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series and NASCAR Gander Outdoors Truck Series are in action this weekend at Talladega Superspeedway as the playoffs reach the halfway point. Ford had its seven-race MENCS winning streak at the track snapped last spring, but comes into the weekend having won five straight Talladega playoff events. Here’s a look at where Ford stands in both series, along with some of those key wins from past seasons.
FORD IN THE MONSTER ENERGY NASCAR CUP SERIES AT TALLADEGA
· Ford has 28 all-time series wins at Talladega, including 7 of the last 8, and 10 of the last 14.
· Ricky Stenhouse Jr., Brad Keselowski, Joey Logano, David Ragan, Kevin Harvick, Aric Almirola and Clint Bowyer 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.
ROUND OF 12 MENCS PLAYOFF STANDINGS (Top 8 Advance After Kansas)
4th – Kevin Harvick (+42 ahead of cutoff)
6th – Brad Keselowski (+20 ahead of cutoff)
9th – Joey Logano (-0)
10th – Clint Bowyer (-4 from final transfer spot)
12th – Ryan Blaney (-22 from final transfer spot)
FORD IN THE NASCAR GANDER OUTDOORS TRUCK SERIES AT TALLADEGA
· Ford has 1 series wins at Talladega
· Mark Martin won the inaugural series event at the track in 2006.
· Matt Crafton has 1 top-five and 4 top-10 finishes in 13 NGOTS career starts at Talladega.
ROUND OF 6 NGOTS PLAYOFF STANDINGS (Top 4 Advance After Phoenix)
5th – Matt Crafton (-3 from final transfer spot)
FORD TALLADEGA PLAYOFF WIN STREAK SITS AT FIVE
Ford has won the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series Playoff race at Talladega Superspeedway each of the last five seasons, including Aric Almirola’s triumph last year. Brad Keselowski (2014 and 2017) and Joey Logano (2015 and 2016) have each won it twice during that time.
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 Monster Energy 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.
TEAM PENSKE ROLLING AT TALLADEGA
Team Penske drivers Joey Logano and Brad Keselowski have combined to win 6 of the last 10 MENCS races at Talladega Superspeedway with each winning three times. 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).
STENHOUSE WINS FIRST CUP RACE
Ricky Stenhouse Jr. passed Kyle Busch on the final lap and to win the first Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series race of his career in the spring of 2017. In a race that saw eight caution flags, including a red flag that lasted nearly 27 minutes after an 18-car accident, Stenhouse found himself on the outside of the front row with Busch for an overtime restart. Busch jumped out to the lead, but Stenhouse got a run and then used that momentum to dart to the inside and make the decisive pass. The win capped off a weekend that saw Stenhouse win the pole and Ford capture both races after Aric Almirola won the NASCAR XFINITY Series race on Saturday.
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 Monster Energy 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 Nationwide and Monster Energy 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 MONSTER ENERGY NASCAR CUP 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)
FORD’S NASCAR GANDER OUTDOORS SERIES WINNERS AT TALLADEGA
2006 – Mark Martin