Crunching The Numbers: Geico 500 at Talladega

Talladega Superspeedy, the track every driver would rather not appear on their calendars. With the great speeds around this track, when something bad happens, it is typically an extremely bad incident. Over the past few years, we have been fortune enough to not see “The Big One” and while some crazed fans are hoping for this to happen, I am glad it has been few and far between.


Talladega Superspeedway Track Specs

  • Track Length: 2.66 Miles
    • Scheduled Laps: 188(500.08 miles)
  • Track Configuration: Tri-Oval
  • Turns 1 & 2 banking: 33°
  • Turn 3 banking: 32.4°
  • Turn 4 banking: 32.5°
  • Frontstretch/Tri-Oval
    • Banking: 16.5°
    • Length: 4,300 feet
  • Backstretch
    • Banking: 3°
    • Length: 4,000 feet

Trends of the Race

Dega 1 Track Stats

*4 races have ended under caution

In the last 5 races at Talladega in the Spring, we have seen:

  • 2 races go into over time
    • 2012 and 2013
  • Margin of Victory 0.169 seconds
    • 1 race has ended under caution
  • 25 drivers on the lead lap
  • 6 cautions
    • Lap 21 for the first caution
    • Lap 178 for the final caution (10 laps to go; 2 races have gone into over time)

Past Toyota Owners 400 Pole Sitters
JG Pole

Year Driver Team Finish
2004 Ricky Rudd Wood Brothers 17
2005 Kevin Harvick Richard Childress Racing 12
2006 Elliott Sadler Evernham Motorsports 4
2007 Jeff Gordon Hendrick Motorsports 1
2008 Joe Nemechek Furniture Row Racing 25
2009 Juan Pablo Montoya Earnhardt Ganassi Racing 20
2010 Jimmie Johnson Hendrick Motorsports 31
2011 Jeff Gordon Hendrick Motorsports 3
2012 Jeff Gordon Hendrick Motorsports 33
2013 Carl Edwards Roush Fenway Racing 3
2014 Brian Scott Richard Childress Racing 42
2015 Jeff Gordon Hendrick Motorsports 31
  • Pole winners have an average finish of 18.5
  • Average laps lead: 15.25 laps
    • 8.11% of the scheduled 188 lap race


Past Geico 500 Winners

  • The average race winner’s starting position is 10
    • Denny Hamlin won in 2014 from starting P34, which is the furthest back a race winner has started
  • 8.33% of pole winners have gone on to win the race
    • Jeff Gordon: 2007
  • 50% of the winners have come from starting in the top 5
    • 50% of winners who started in the top 5 started from the front row
    • P2 and P4 have been the most victorious starting positions
  • 58.3% of the winners have come from starting in the top 10
  • Winning drivers have lead an average of 29.2 laps (15.3% of the scheduled 188 lap race)
    • Fewest laps led by race winner: Brad Keselowski lead 1 lap (0.53% of the scheduled 188 lap race) in 2009
    • Most laps led by a race winner: Jeff Gordon led 139 laps (73.94% of the race) in 2005
  • There have been 7 different race winners from 5 different teams since 2004
    • Jeff Gordon is leader of multiple wins with 3
    • Hendrick Motorsports has the most wins of any team with 7


2015 Geico 500 Top 5 – 5/3/15

Driver Finish Start
Dale Earnhardt Jr. 1 4
Jimmie Johnson 2 5
Paul Menard 3 7
Ryan Blaney 4 3
Martin Truex Jr. 5 36


Logano Victory

2015 500 – 10/25/15

Driver Finish Start
Joey Logano 1 10
Dale Earnhardt Jr. 2 5
Jeff Gordon 3 1
Brad Keselowski 4 1
Carl Edwards 5 15
Paul Menard 6 13


Dega 1 Team Stats

With another victory for Carl Edwards and the Joe Gibbs Racing camp, they certainly seem to be the best team on track. Only 1 driver remains from JGR who has yet to nab a victory this year, but I do not foresee that being the case for long. The only other multi-win team is Hendrick Motorsports, but both victories come from a single driver. Maybe HMS’ luck will turn around this weekend, as Talladega Superspeedway is a playground for them; they lead the way with victories and the average finish. This also happens to be the type of racing Dale Earnhardt Jr. just loves!

Dega 1 Manufacturers

Again, all thanks to Joe Gibbs Racing for the incredible success the Toyota camp is having this season! With back to back victories on short tracks, Toyota has really jumped ahead of the game with 5 victories and an incredible average finish of all teams. However, when it comes to Talladega, Chevrolet does not play around there; but with the JGR success, might Toyota eat into Chevy’s restrictor plate numbers this weekend? This season, anything is possible with Toyota.

Dega 1 Predictions 2

Putting all these pieces together, we do see some Chevrolet drivers on top of the leader board, with Kevin Harvick leading the way thanks to a solid season this far and pretty solid restrictor plate numbers. We see the rookie of Ryan Blaney sneaking into the picture thanks to his incredible run last year in the Geico 500; but can he repeat that success? While it is a crap-shoot at Talladega and Daytona, strategy is a big part of the puzzle. As long as you are still running, you still have a shot at glory.

Dega 1 Past Finishes

Taking a closer look at more recent years of some of the better performers at Talladega, well, it still looks like a mess. David Ragan has won here in the past, Jamie McMurray is no stranger to victories on restrictor plate tracks, and Ricky Stenhouse Jr. might be a dark horse at every restrictor plate track. But let us throw caution to the wind and be well aware that any driver on the lead lap come lap 187 has a legit shot to take the checkered flag. Here’s to hoping for an exciting race and no big one!

Ashley Hobbs

I was born on the 9th of March in a year which you need not know. I was born and raised in the great state of New Jersey, but I now reside in Florida. Here is a bit about myself:

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I hope you enjoy my segment, Crunching the Numbers, and getting insights into each weekend's NASCAR race!

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