Talladega, AL - Talladega Superspeedway, NASCAR’s biggest and baddest venue with spectacular, unrivaled, heart-pounding three- and four-wide racing, announced today that the highly anticipated GEICO 500 on Sunday, May 7, will feature two 55-lap stages, followed by a 78-lap stage to the checkered flag as part of NASCAR’s 2017 format enhancement.
The new three-stage format, designed to deliver even more dramatic, spectacular moments at Talladega – where drivers and fans alike expect the unexpected with the Most Competitive racing on the planet – will consist of point incentives within races as well as in the playoffs. The top-10 drivers in the first two stages of the 188-lap GEICO 500 Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series event will claim championship points, with stage winners earning a playoff point as well. The driver who goes to Gatorade Victory Lane in the GEICO 500 will get 40 championship points as well as five playoff points that will be taken to the season finale to determine the champion.
The Sparks Energy 300 NASCAR XFINITY Series 113-lap race, which will kick-off Talladega’s spring NASCAR doubleheader weekend on Saturday, May 6, will consist of two 25-lap stages before a final stage of 63 laps.
“I think you are going to see some of the best racing ever at Talladega,” said Talladega Superspeedway Chairman Grant Lynch. “Drivers will have to do all they can to pick up points and that means fighting for real estate up front. It’s the best place to be at Talladega to avoid trouble so I don’t foresee drivers laying back at all. I think the fans are going to love it. I applaud NASCAR for this initiative to improve the quality of racing, not only at Talladega, but at all venues.”
Talladega’s fall Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series’ Alabama 500 (Oct. 15) will have the same stage structure (two 55-lap stages followed by a 78-lap stage) as the GEICO 500 while the fred’s 250 Powered by Coca-Cola NASCAR Camping World Truck Series race (Oct. 14) will feature two 20-lap stages, then ending with a final 54-lap stage. Below are breakdowns of the three stages for each of the NASCAR events scheduled for Talladega Superspeedway this season:GEICO 500 (May 7) & Alabama 500 (Oct. 15) Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series Races
|| Lap 41-94
When determining stage lengths, NASCAR conducted an in-depth review on fuel mileage, so that whenever possible, all teams will have to pit before the conclusion of a stage. During stages one and two, pit road will close two laps prior to the stage’s end, rather than the previously announced five laps. Closing pit road with fewer laps remaining should increase the tense moments of racing, as well as add strategy throughout the event.
Last year, Brad Keselowski and Team Penske’s No. 2 Miller Lite Ford captured the checkered flag in the GEICO 500. The victory marked Keselowski’s fourth Talladega triumph, joining elite company of legends - Buddy Baker, Bobby Allison, and Darrell Waltrip - for fourth place on the track’s all-time Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series victory list. Elliott Sadler claimed his second victory in his last three attempts at Talladega in the Sparks Energy 300.
Keselowski, Sadler and the other stars of NASCAR will try to tackle Talladega in the exciting new formatted action during the first weekend of May. It begins on Friday, May 5, with practice sessions for both the Sparks Energy 300 and GEICO 500. Also taking place that day is practice, qualifying and the start of the General Tire 200 ARCA Racing Series Presented by Menards event at 5 p.m. CDT.
Saturday’s activities include qualifying for the GEICO 500, as well as time trials and the running of the Sparks Energy 300 at 12 p.m. CDT. After the conclusion of on-track activities, the iconic Charlie Daniels Band will headline the traditional Saturday Night Infield Concert. The band is known for hits “The Devil Went Down to Georgia,” “Long Haired Country Boy,” and a song called “The Intimidator,” which was recorded after Daniels met Dale Earnhardt Sr. in 2000 at Talladega. Admission is free with a GEICO 500 ticket.
The action concludes on Sunday with the running of the GEICO 500, which is set for a 1 p.m. (CDT) start.
Tickets for the GEICO 500 start as low as $50, while tickets for kids 12 and younger start at the low price of $10 (while seats last). Kids 12 and younger will receive free admission in the grandstands and towers for the Sparks Energy 300. For more information, log on to www.talladegasuperspeedway.com or call 877-Go2-DEGA for more information.
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