A Look Back In Talladega History: Doing The 'Dega Double
For sixteen years the NASCAR Nationwide Series (NNS) has accompanied the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series (NSCS) at Talladega Superspeedway. And, while NSCS regulars have competed against the rising stars of the NNS each year, only 4 times has a driver pulled the ‘Dega Double and won both races in the same weekend.
Ernie Irvan was the first driver to pull the double during the inaugural NNS race at Talladega in 1992. After edging Michael Waltrip by half-a-car length in the Fram Filters 500k, Irvan beat Sterling Marlin by two car lengths in the DieHard 500.
Dale Earnhardt, who owns more NASCAR Sprint Cup Series victories at Talladega Superspeedway than any other driver, scored his first and only Nationwide Series victory at Talladega in the 1993 Fram Filters 500k. Having easily drubbed the competition by three car lengths on Saturday, Earnhardt continued his domination on Sunday, beating no other than Ernie Irvan by two car lengths.
For Mark Martin, who won the 1997 Birmingham Auto Dealers 500k NNS race, his opportunity to repeat was postponed for two weeks. After the delay, Martin won the Winston Select 500 by a narrow 0.146 seconds. The fact that the race was so close is overshadowed only by the fact that Martin set a NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race record that stands today, with an average speed of 188.354 mph.
The last and most recent driver to win the ‘Dega Double was Dale Earnhardt Jr. in 2003. Following in his father’s footsteps, Earnhardt won his first and only Nationwide Series race at Talladega then promptly followed it up with a win in the Aaron’s 499 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race. Earnhardt’s win in the 499 also capped of a four-race win streak in the Sprint Cup Series at Talladega, the longest streak of any driver.
If history holds true, it’s about time for the next ‘Dega Double winner to appear. Fans won’t have to wait long watch drivers try either, their next opportunity is the Aaron’s Dream Weekend, April 24-26. Tickets are available by calling 1-877-Go2-DEGA or visiting www.talladegasuperspeedway.com.
In 2009, Talladega Superspeedway proudly celebrates forty years of the most competitive racing in NASCAR. While the track has seen changes made to the cars that circle its high-banks, the surface that they race on and the grandstands that thousands of fans fill twice a year, one constant remains; Talladega Superspeedway is authentic NASCAR racing at its finest.
Race fans should make plans now to experience part of Talladega’s history in 2009 during the triple-header, Aaron’s Dream Weekend, April 24-26, featuring the ARCA RE/MAX Series, the NASCAR Nationwide Series and the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series. For tickets, visit www.talladegasuperspeedway.com or call 1-877-Go2-DEGA. For our hearing impaired guests, please call TDD 1-866-ISC-TRAK (1-866-472-8725). Tickets also are available in person by visiting the Talladega Superspeedway Ticket Office from 8 a.m. - 4 p.m. CDT, Monday- Friday.
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