Talladega Could Be Turning Point For 2009 Chase

40th and Captain Morgan wide

For now, Talladega Superspeedway rests soundly in the Alabama foothills.  But in a few short weeks, the best of NASCAR will rouse the sleeping giant and test their mettle in a battle for the 2009 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Championship.

2004 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Champion Kurt Busch says it all comes down to Talladega.

“I think Talladega is going to be the big breaker in this Chase because it’s only three races from the end,” said Busch.   “If you survive Talladega and have a shot at it, that’s when you’ve got to go and attack.”

For several Chase contenders, making it out of Talladega with their points intact is a big “if”.

Busch leads the Chase contingent with a career average finish of 13th at Talladega.  And though he is yet to score a victory at the track, he does have an impressive 12 top-10 finishes at Talladega in only 17 starts. 

Below is a breakdown of all 12 championship contender’s statistics at Talladega:

1. MARK MARTIN – Points:  5040  Car:  No. 5 CARQUEST/Kellogg’s Chevrolet 
Team: Hendrick Motorsports
Talladega Statistics – Starts: 43  Wins: 2  Poles: 2  Top 5’s: 10  Top 10’s: 22  Average Finish:16
 2008 AMP Energy 500 Finish:  8th   2009 Aaron’s 499 Finish:  43rd

2. TONY STEWART – Points:  5030  Car:  No. 14 Office Depot/Old Spice Chevrolet 
Team: Stewart-Haas Racing
Talladega Statistics – Starts: 21  Wins: 1  Poles: 0  Top 5’s: 9  Top 10’s: 12  Average Finish: 14
 2008 AMP Energy 500 Finish: 1st   2009 Aaron’s 499 Finish: 23rd

3. JIMMIE JOHNSON – Points:  5030  Car:  No. 48 Lowe’s Chevrolet 
Team: Hendrick Motorsports
Talladega Statistics – Starts: 15  Wins: 1  Poles: 1  Top 5’s: 4  Top 10’s: 6  Average Finish: 18
 2008 AMP Energy 500 Finish:  9th   2009 Aaron’s 499 Finish:  30th

4. DENNY HAMLIN – Points:  5020  Car:  No. 11 FedEx Express Toyota     
Team: Joe Gibbs Racing 
 Talladega Statistics – Starts: 7  Wins: 0  Poles: 0  Top 5’s: 2 Top 10’s: 2  Average Finish: 19
 2008 AMP Energy 500 Finish:  39th   2009 Aaron’s 499 Finish:  22nd

5. KASEY KHANE - Points:  5020 Car:  No. 9 Budweiser Dodge    
Team: Richard Petty Motorsports       
Talladega Statistics – Starts: 11  Wins: 0  Poles: 0 Top 5’s: 1  Top 10’s: 1  Average Finish: 23
 2008 AMP Energy 500 Finish:  36th   2009 Aaron’s 499 Finish:  36th

6. JEFF GORDON – Points:  5010 Car:  No. 24 National Guard/DuPont Chevrolet
 Team: Hendrick Motorsports        
Talladega Statistics – Starts: 33  Wins: 6  Poles: 1 Top 5’s: 13  Top 10’s: 16  Average Finish: 16
2008 AMP Energy 500 Finish: 38th   2009 Aaron’s 499 Finish:  37th

7. KURT BUSCH – Points:  5010  Car:  No. 2 Miller Lite Dodge      
Team:  Penske Racing
Talladega Statistics – Starts:17  Wins: 0 Poles: 0  Top 5’s: 6  Top 10’s: 12 Average Finish: 13
2008 AMP Energy 500 Finish:  21st   2009 Aaron’s 499 Finish:  6th

8. BRIAN VICKERS – Points:  5010 Car:  No. 83 Red Bull Toyota     
Team: Red Bull Racing Team        
Talladega Statistics – Starts: 10  Wins: 1  Poles: 0 Top 5’s: 3   Top 10’s: 5  Average Finish: 20
 2008 AMP Energy 500 Finish: 35th   2009 Aaron’s 499 Finish:  8th

9. CARL EDWARDS – Points:  5000 Car:  No. 99 Aflac Ford      
Team: Roush Fenway Racing        
Talladega Statistics – Starts: 10  Wins: 0  Poles: 0 Top 5’s: 1  Top 10’s: 3  Average Finish:  25
 2008 AMP Energy 500 Finish: 29th   2009 Aaron’s 499 Finish:  24th

10. RYAN NEWMAN – Points:  5000 Car:  No. 39 U.S. Army Year of the NCO Chevrolet
Team: Stewart-Haas Racing        
Talladega Statistics – Starts: 15  Wins: 0  Poles: 0 Top 5’s: 4  Top 10’s: 7  Average Finish: 18
 2008 AMP Energy 500 Finish: 43rd   2009 Aaron’s 499 Finish:  3rd

11. JUAN PABLO MONTOYA – Points:  5000  Car:  No. 42 Target Chevrolet 
Team:  Earnhardt Ganassi Racing
Talladega Statistics – Starts: 5  Wins: 0  Poles: 1  Top 5’s: 1  Top 10’s: 1  Average Finish:  19
 2008 AMP Energy 500 Finish: 25th   2009 Aaron’s 499 Finish:  20th

12. GREG BIFFLE – Points:  5000  Car:  No. 16 3M Ford    
Team:  Roush Fenway Racing 
Talladega Statistics – Starts: 13  Wins: 0  Poles: 0  Top 5’s: 0  Top 10’s: 1  Average Finish: 24
 2008 AMP Energy 500 Finish: 24th   2009 Aaron’s 499 Finish:  7th

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 the AMP Energy 500 weekend, Oct. 30 through Nov. 1. This weekend features the Mountain Dew 250 fueled by Fred’s NASCAR Camping World Truck Series race and Race Number Seven in the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup, the AMP Energy 500.  For information on attending the HALLOW-DEGA℠ Presented by Captain Morgan festivities, call 1-877-Go2-DEGA or visit www.talladegasuperspeedway.com. 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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