Ford Performance NASCAR: Talladega Advance

FORD PERFORMANCE NASCAR: TALLADEGA NOTES

The last time the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series was at Talladega Superspeedway it marked the final race of the Contender Round in which Joey Logano completed a three-race sweep. Ford has 22 all-time series wins, including one each of the past four years. Here is a look at some of the highlights.

BAKER PROVIDES MOORE SUCCESS
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 Sprint 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 WIN
And then there was David Ragan, who became the 11th driver to win a NASCAR Nationwide and NASCAR Sprint 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.

WINNING IN THE CLUTCH
Needing a win to advance in the Chase, Brad Keselowski did exactly that in winning the Geico 500 on Oct. 19, 2014. The win was Keselowski’s sixth of the season, most for any driver in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series season, and enabled him to move on into the three-race Eliminator 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.

CONTENDER ROUND SWEEP
Joey Logano made history the last time he came to Talladega Superspeedway as he completed a three-race Contender Round sweep by surviving a green-white-checker finish to win the Campingworld.com 500 last fall. 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.

FORD NASCAR SPRINT CUP WINNERS AT TALLADEGA
1975 – Buddy Baker*
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)

*Denotes season sweep

The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of SpeedwayMedia.com

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