Bubba Wallace Latest to Pull off the Feat in Fall of 2021; With Three New Winners Thus Far in 2022, Could We Witness Another Historical Moment in the April 24 GEICO 500?
TALLADEGA, Ala. (April 12, 2021) – In a NASCAR Cup Series season that has seen three first-time winners thus far in just eight races, there’s a good chance that number may increase when the premier series visits the greatest race track in the world – Talladega Superspeedway – on April 24 for the GEICO 500. NASCAR’s Most Competitive, unpredictable 2.66-mile, 33-degree-banked venue has produced 12 first-time winners over the years, and lucky No. 13 may be on the horizon.
Rookie Austin Cindric started off the season by winning his first in grand style, capturing the DAYTONA 500 to claim his initial premier series triumph. Since then, Chase Briscoe and Ross Chastain have pulled the rabbit out of the hat for their first NASCAR Cup Series victory. With parity highly seen thus far (7 winners – only William Byron has two wins) with the incredible competition with NASCAR’s ‘Next Gen’ car, those looking for their first victory are licking their chops, anticipating their visit to Talladega.
Since Talladega Superspeedway opened its doors in 1969, going to Ruoff Mortgage Victory Lane at iconic venue has marked the beginning of several successful careers with the likes of Davey Allison (1987), Ken Schrader (1988), Brian Vickers (2006), Brad Keselowski (2009) and Ricky Stenhouse, Jr. (2017). Allison’s career tallied 19 career triumphs (three at TSS) and a place in the NASCAR Hall of Fame while Schrader and Vickers finished with four and three total wins, respectively. Keselowski, the 2012 premier series champion, currently has 35 (six of which have come at Talladega) triumphs while Stenhouse, Jr. has two (other coming at Daytona in Coke Zero Sugar 400 in summer of 2017). Bubba Wallace is the latest to pull off the feat, going to the winner’s circle in the 2021 YellaWood 500 last fall.
The first – and lone – victory for others at Talladega have been the benchmark of their career, and they all came in dramatic fashion. They include Richard Brickhouse (1969), Dick Brooks (1973), Lennie Pond (1978), Ron Bouchard (1981), Bobby Hillin, Jr. (1986) and Phil Parsons (1988).
Interestingly enough, 1988 saw back-to-back first-time winners at Talladega – Parsons in the spring and Schrader later that summer. The most first-time victors in a year during the modern era? Five, and it has happened three times – 2001, 2002, 2011.
There are a host of drivers who have shown the ability to run up front and lead this year, but are still looking for that first career Cup win. Could Talladega be the place for Tyler Reddick, Daniel Suarez, Ty Dillon, or Corey LaJoie? What about Sunoco Rookie of the Year candidates Todd Gilliland or Harrison Burton, who could join the likes of Allison, Bouchard and Keselowski, who were rookies when they were victorious at ’Dega. A win by Burton could also be monumental for his Wood Brothers Racing Team as it would be their 100th triumph in the Cup Series, and sixth at Talladega.
As history has proven, anything can happen at Talladega and we just might see a newcomer etch their name in the Talladega Superspeedway record book and take home the coveted Vulcan Trophy.
More First-Time Winners at Talladega in NASCAR Xfinity Series
The NASCAR Xfinity Series, which will be showcased in the Ag-Pro 300 on April 23, has been competing at Talladega Superspeedway since 1995. It, too, has also had its share of first-time winners, six in fact, who have claimed their initial career triumph at ’Dega. They include Greg Sacks (1996), David Ragan (2009) and Spencer Gallagher (2018), along with three new victors in three of the last four events – Justin Haley (2020), Jeb Burton (2021) and Brandon Brown (2021).
Three of a Kind
Last fall, fans witnessed history at Talladega Superspeedway during its NASCAR Playoffs tripleheader weekend when all three races produced first-time winners: Wallace in the Cup Series race, Brown in the NASCAR Xfinity Sparks 300, and Tate Fogleman in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series event.
Guests who have a Sunday GEICO 500 ticket will also get admission to the traditional Saturday Night Infield Concert featuring country music artist Riley Green. The show kicks off after the running of a racing doubleheader, featuring the General Tire 200 (12:00 p.m. CDT) for the ARCA Menards Series and the Ag-Pro 300 (3:00 p.m. CDT) for the NASCAR Xfinity Series. KLĒNSKIN Pole Qualifying to determine the starting lineup for the GEICO 500 will also be on Saturday, beginning at 10:00 a.m. CDT.
To see all weekend admission opportunities, visit www.talladegasuperspeedway.com or call 1-877-Go2-DEGA. Several options await fans like the fan-favorite 140,000 square-foot Talladega Garage Experience, which includes up-close access to Garage Viewing Walkways, Pre-Race Ceremonies and Victory Lane. In addition, there are hospitality areas such as Fan Suites, Premium Box seating, and Busch Balcony, along with incredible Kid’s programming.
About Talladega Superspeedway
Talladega Superspeedway is the most competitive racetrack on the NASCAR schedule (record 88 lead changes in 188 laps), the highest-banked (33 degrees) and the longest (2.66 miles), as well as the most fun and fan-friendly. Three- and four-wide racing at 200 mph are a norm at Talladega Superspeedway, along with nail-biting, photo finishes. For information, visit www.talladegasuperspeedway.com or call 1-877-Go2-DEGA.