TALLADEGA, Ala. – An unexpected – and somewhat unlikely – collection of circumstances has coalesced around today’s Aaron’s 499 at Talladega Superspeedway, a race which has the potential to provide a significant spark to the 2012 NASCAR season.
Dale Earnhardt Jr., NASCAR’s most popular driver, will try to end his 138-race winless streak at the track where he’s been the most successful. Earnhardt has more wins at Talladega (five) than any other track.
An Earnhardt victory would mark two additional milestones.
Earnhardt is second in the series standings – five points behind leader Greg Biffle – and a win would also more than likely make him the Cup series points leader. He’s not been in that a position for nearly eight years.
Also, a win by Earnhardt would provide his team owner, Rick Hendrick, his 200th Cup win – an achievement the Hendrick Motorsports organization has patiently been waiting to celebrate since Jimmie Johnson earned victory No. 199 last October at Kansas.
Gordon on pole
Jeff Gordon has won the pole for today’s race at Talladega Superspeedway, where he hopes his season can take a turn for the better.
Gordon ran a lap at 191.623 mph in Saturday’s qualifying session. It was good enough to bump AJ Allmendinger, who was on top of the board for most of the session with a lap of 191.111. Marcos Ambrose qualified third.
Joey Logano nipped Kyle Busch at the finish line to win the Nationwide Series race at Talladega Superspeedway to give Toyota its 200th win in NASCAR.
The race was marred by a late accident that sent Eric McClure to an Alabama hospital by helicopter, but NASCAR officials said he was awake and speaking to medical personnel.