While Chase Elliott, Joey Logano and Clint Bowyer have memorable, cherished victories at Talladega Superspeedway, this Sunday’s 100Bulbs.com 500, the track’s 50th Anniversary race, will undoubtedly be the most important as the trio vie for a Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series (MENCS) title and place their name yet again in the ’Dega record book.
While meteorologists are predicting the weather to be beautiful with sunny skies and high temperatures on Saturday and Sunday in the mid-70s, the action on the track is sure to be much hotter. The noted trio, along with Ryan Blaney, are now under the cutoff line in the MENCS Playoffs after Sunday’s race in Dover, and all are in need of a victory to guarantee their place in the Round of 8.
The 1000Bulbs.com 500 is the second of three events in the Round of 12, which will conclude at Kansas. Logano, a three-time Talladega victor whose last triumph at the track came in spring 2018, sits right on the cutoff line, tied with William Byron after sustaining an axle issue in Sunday’s event at Dover. Meanwhile, Bowyer, the two-time Talladega winner is only four points back of Logano after a 10th place effort; Elliott, Talladega’s most recent winner in this past spring’s GEICO 500, suffered engine failure and is just seven points under the cutline. Blaney took the biggest hit after having brake problems and now sits 22 points behind.
If Elliott, son of two-time Talladega winner Bill Elliott, can win, he will join an elite group of drivers who have swept both Talladega races in a single season – Pete Hamilton (1970), Buddy Baker (1975), Darrell Waltrip (1982), Dale Earnhardt (1990 & 1999), Dale Earnhardt Jr. (2002), and Jeff Gordon (2007). Bowyer is a two-time winner at the 2.66-mile venue but hasn’t gone to Gatorade Victory Lane since October 2001. Blaney is winless at the greatest track in the world, but his Team Penske teammates – Brad Keselowski and Joey Logano – have six victories in the last 10 Talladega races.
The event will be the first in which fans will have the opportunity to be a part of the brand-new Talladega Garage Experience, part of the culmination of the Transformation Infield Project presented by Graybar, which will allow fans to be immersed into the sport of NASCAR like never before with incredible access that includes being under the same roof as the teams are preparing the cars.
Here’s what’s on tap for the epic race week!
Talladega Garage Experience GRAND OPENING! Ready for this doubleheader NASCAR Playoffs weekend is the one-of-a-kind Talladega Garage Experience, which features “up-close” access, interactive attractions and enhanced amenities for fans, sponsors, teams and stakeholders in the iconic Talladega infield. It stretches from the center of the Tri-Oval all the way down near the Start-Finish line.
The epicenter of the Talladega Garage Experience is the massive BIG BILL’S Social Club. The unique 35,000 square foot area offers ample, comfortable seating, a 74-foot “Sugarlands Shine Bar” and a 41-foot diagonal video screen for fans to catch all the on-track action throughout race weekend. Best of all, it is just a few steps away from the MENCS garage bays which will hold the top 22 teams in the Cup Series championship standings.
The Garage Experience also includes family/fan friendly items such as incredible $4 or less Value-Priced Concessions, FREE Wi-Fi, 140,000 square feet of social areas, a Kids Zone, a Game Zone, Clyde May’s Courtyard, an entertainment stage for local music, Driver Q&A’s and other interviews, and a reserved area for Gatorade Victory Lane celebrations after each race in Fr8Auctions Celebration Plaza. Fans with an admission will also get to witness Sunday pre-race ceremonies and Driver Introductions at the Start-Finish line.
50 Years of Speed: Talladega Superspeedway opened in 1969 and the biggest and baddest track is celebrating its 50th anniversary this year! Big Bill France Sr., NASCAR’s founder, had a vision in the mid-1960s, picturing a larger, faster and more exciting track on the NASCAR circuit – even bigger than Daytona International Speedway (which he also built). After meeting with local race car driver and race fan Bill Ward (Anniston), the perfect location (old military airfield) was acquired and the ground-breaking ceremony for the track that would be known as Alabama International Motor Speedway (until 1989) took place on May 23, 1968.
First Race: The first race was held Sept. 14, 1969 – Talladega 500 (now known as the 1000Bulbs.com 500). Richard Brickhouse won the inaugural event – his first and only career win in NASCAR’s premier series. The race played a major role in NASCAR’s history as many of the top stars of the sport (members of the Professional Drivers Association – PDA) walked out the day before the race due to concerns of tire wear on the ultra-fast, nearly 200-mph speed track. France said the race would go on, and recruited many of the drivers who competed the day before in the smaller NASCAR Touring Series’ “Bama 400,” which featured smaller cars with less horsepower. One of the drivers who stayed and competed on Sunday was NASCAR Hall of Famer, International Motorsports Hall of Famer and 12-time TSS winning car owner Richard Childress, who took his money winnings and built a race shot, creating Richard Childress Racing.
1000Bulbs.com 500 Defending Champion: Stewart-Haas Racing’s Aric Almirola led the field to the checkered flag in last year’s 1000Bulbs.com 500 after his then teammate Kurt Busch ran out of fuel in overtime while leading the race on the last lap. It was Almirola’s second win at Talladega (his other came in the 2017 NASCAR Xfinity Series event) and the first victory for Stewart-Haas Racing at NASCAR’s Palace of Speed.
First Time Winners/Last Win of Career: There have been 11 times a driver won his first career MENCS race at Talladega with the latest being Ricky Stenhouse Jr. (spring 2017). Unbelievably, 13 drivers have captured the final race of their career at the 2.66-mile venue, including Dale Earnhardt in 2000 and Dale Jarrett in 2005.
Childress – in Famous Black No. 3 that Carried Earnhardt to His Final Career Win – to Lead Field to Green at ’Dega: Childress and Talladega Superspeedway will celebrate their 50th Anniversary together in a special way prior to the start of the 1000Bulbs.com 500. Childress, who began his career in NASCAR’s premier series in 1969 at the track’s grand-opening weekend, will commemorate their long history by leading the field on track after engines are fired, in the authentic black No. 3 Chevrolet Monte Carlo car that carried Earnhardt to his miraculous and final career victory in October of 2000.
The 12 drivers in the MENCS Playoffs: Entering Talladega, only Kyle Larson has secured his spot in the Round of 8, while others like Martin Truex Jr. (+63), Denny Hamlin (+48), Kyle Busch (+48) and Kevin Harvick (+42) seem somewhat safe looking forward to the next round. For the rest, it will be a little uneasy coming to ’Dega. They include Brad Keselowski (+20), Alex Bowman (+17), William Byron (tied on the cutline), Joey Logano (tied on the cutline), Clint Bowyer (-4), Chase Elliott (-7) and Ryan Blaney (-22).
Defending Sugarlands Shine 250 victor: Timothy Peters (running a limited schedule this season) became the only driver in Talladega Superspeedway history to win three NASCAR Gander Outdoors Truck Series races at the venue when he drove to Gatorade Victory Lane in last year’s Sugarlands Shine 250.
Featured Off-Track Events
“Big One on the Blvd.” on Friday night at 7 p.m. CDT – NASCAR drivers parade down Talladega Blvd. & oversee outlandish fan competitions. There will be four all-new outrageous challenges:
- Lickity Split – What that mouth do? You CAN teach an old dog new tricks! Three teams of two will race on all fours to clean their team’s peanut butter-smothered ball, using only their mouths! No matter which way you lick or split it, the first team to lick it clean will receive $200, leaving the losers peanut butter & JEALOUS!
- Lost in the Sauce – Gobble, Gobble! Three teams of three will run with a waddle as they relay from one side of the Thanksgiving Feast to the other and back, passing the sacred turkey leg! The first team of butterballs to make it to the dinner table will receive $300!
- Talladega Knights – Hear Ye! Hear Ye! All ye, Knights and Nobles! Thou hast been summoned to join in the festivities! Four female and four male contestants will battle for supremacy on the balance beam in the ultimate pillow fight ever seen with flour and glitter! After two best-of elimination rounds and an ultimate championship round, one female and male knight shall winneth $100 each!
- Low Rider – Put that thang down, flip it and reverse it! Four ladies with the need for speed must rub it down to melt one chilly seat, and only one will win the $500 prize!
Drivers scheduled to appear include Bubba Wallace, Ryan Blaney, Clint Bowyer, Kyle Larson and many more. Event is for infield camping guests, renewal guest ticket holders and fans with infield wristband admissions.
Saturday Night Infield Concert Presented by McDonald’s: It will be an Alabama flavor as country music artist and Alabama natives Riley Green (headliner) and Tyler Braden (opening act) take the stage for the Saturday Night Infield Concert presented by McDonald’s on Oct. 12. Admission is FREE to all infield guests & anyone who purchases a Sunday 1000Bulbs.com 500 ticket. Located at the intersection of Eastaboga and Talladega Blvds., festivities begin at 7 p.m. CDT.
Big One LIVE Music Presented by McDonald’s: NASCAR mainstay Tim Dugger will treat fans to live music at the end of Talladega Blvd. (5-points area) immediately following the “Big One on the Blvd.” (approx. 8:30 p.m.) on Friday evening.
Kids Movie Night: Kids Movie Night will take place after the running of the Sugarlands Shine 250 Gander Truck Series event and Foodland/Food Giant Qualifying for the 1000Bulbs.com 500. The movie Pokémon Detective Pikachu will be shown on a giant screen in the FOX Sports 1 Dome (located behind the International Motorsports Hall of Fame). A Saturday or Sunday kids ticket is required for entry. Doors open at 5:30 p.m. CDT and families can enjoy face painting, games and more before the movie kicks off at 6 p.m. CDT.
Special Offers & Experiences
Kids FREE on Saturday/As low as $15 Sunday: Kids 12 and younger can enjoy the 1000Bulbs.com 500 MENCS race for as low as $15 on Sunday, while kids are admitted FREE in all grandstand and tower seats for Saturday’s Sugarlands Shine 250 (as well as Friday).
Kids VIP Experience Presented by Children’s of Alabama: Provides behind-the-scenes access for kids at NASCAR’s biggest track for kids 12 and younger prior to the 1000Bulbs.com 500. These exclusive “pre-race” options include:
- NEW! Fist Bump Alley backstage at Driver Introductions
- NEW! Gatorade Victory Lane Celebration
- Fist Bump Alley along the catwalk at Driver Introductions
- Gatorade Victory Lane photo opportunity
- Hot Lap around the mammoth track in a Grand Marshal car
- Guided Garage/Hauler Tour
- Drivers Meeting Red Carpet Experience
- Pit Box Tour with a race team
$99 Concert VIP Front Stage Access: With the all-new Concert VIP package, fans will receive one (1) VIP Front Stage Saturday Night Infield Concert Pass – standing room only, and one (1) reserved seat in the Lincoln Grandstand for the 1000Bulbs.com 500. Those who have already purchased a ticket to the 1000Bulbs.com 500 are eligible to upgrade to the Concert VIP package for $50 by calling 855-518-RACE (7223).
Joey Logano, Matt DiBenedetto, Rusty Wallace, Alex Bowman, and Daniel Hemric Join Pre-Race Fan Q&A Session: Prior to the 1000Bulbs.com 500, fans that purchase an admission to the Talladega Garage Experience will get the opportunity to ask the drivers questions at the Fan Q&A session, scheduled for 9:30 a.m. CDT at Fr8Auctions Celebration Plaza.
Military Appreciation & First Responders: Talladega Superspeedway has special ticket offers for military and first responders (Police Officers, Firemen and EMT’s) and their families, for the 1000Bulbs.com 500 and Sugarlands Shine 250.
Teachers & Educators Appreciation: Talladega recognizes and thanks educators and faculty members who work within our school districts to shape our youth into outstanding citizens. Those who work in the school system and qualify can save up to 30% off on various ticket options.
College Student Program: College students can purchase a $25 college ticket to attend the entire weekend full of festivities and racing, including the 1000Bulbs.com 500.
The Midway Presented by Graybar: Located outside the fronstretch near Turn 4, The Midway presented by Graybar will offer families a host of fun, music, as well as dozens of activities and interactive exhibits that showcase a multitude of companies involved in the sport.
National Anthem Performers:
- Sunday’s 1000Bulbs.com 500: Continuing the tradition of the past 10 Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series events at Talladega, the 313th United States Army Band from Birmingham will again play the song of our country before the start of the 1000Bulbs.com 500. The band is made up of citizen-soldiers who train and perform as a group of Army musicians. The group’s pure, instrumental version of the National Anthem has become a Sunday tradition at Talladega. In addition, the iconic Johnny Ray Semi Truck Drive By will take place during the Anthem.
- Saturday’s Sugarlands Shine 250: Hailing from the Florida Panhandle, 26-year-old Leah Pettis will sing the National Anthem prior to the Sugarlands Shine 250.
Parking & Transportation
NEW! Fan Tram Routes to One-of-a-Kind Talladega Garage Experience: The track has introduced new tram transportation routes for fans with a Talladega Garage Experience admission, to help ease their travel while on property during race weekend. Four new tram routes have been added around the mammoth 2.66-mile facility to take fans with Talladega Garage Experience access directly to and from the Garage Experience entry gates. The trams will be labeled and easily identifiable for Talladega Garage Experience guests to see and utilize the entire race weekend and all of these locations will be marked by signage/wave banners. Visit www.talladegasuperspeedway.com for more information on tram times and locations.
Joyride Golf Cart Transportation Service: The service will be offered for anyone who would like a lift to and from almost anywhere around the track’s property (excluding GEICO West Park C). Joyride golf carts, which can seat up to five passengers, will run from 8 a.m. to midnight CDT each day starting Thursday (Oct. 10) through Sunday (Oct. 13) of race week. Guests can catch a ride by calling (833) 654-RIDE (7443) or simply hailing down a cart, which will be specifically marked with the Joyride logo across the windshield. Each trip will cost $5 (per person, per ride) and only cash will be accepted.
Preferred Parking: Pay a little to save a lot (of steps) by parking behind the frontstretch grandstands.
FREE Parking: In addition to paid parking options, Talladega Superspeedway also offers free parking in several lots outside speedway property, including three RV lots.
The Sugarlands Shine 250 for the NASCAR Gander Outdoors Truck Series will kick off the track’s 50th Anniversary, action-packed weekend on Saturday, Oct. 12 at 12:30 p.m. CDT. The anchor event, the 1000Bulbs.com 500 Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series race, is scheduled for a 1 p.m. CDT start on Sunday, Oct. 13.
For more information or tickets for the 1000Bulbs.com 500 or the Sugarlands Shine 250, visit www.talladegasuperspeedway.com or call 855-518-RACE (7223). For all things on the Talladega Garage Experience, log onto www.talladegasuperspeedway.com or call 855-518-7223 (RACE).