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Last Updated Tuesday, Nov 29, 2005 1:33 am, EST

Race Capsule

Talladega Superspeedway
  • What:

    Race 9 of 36 on Sprint Cup circuit

  • Where:

    Talladega Superspeedway, Talladega, AL

  • When:

    May 1, 2005 1:20 pm EDT

  • Laps:

    188

  • Track Length:

    2.66 miles

  • Race Length:

    500.00 miles

  • Purse:

    $5,814,065

Drivers to Watch

Jeff Gordon Four-time series champion has three career wins here; won this event among his five checkered flags last year; climbed a spot to fourth in the standings following a 12th in Phoenix last week; won the Daytona 500 and the Advance Auto Parts 500 but has only one top 10 in six other events this year; has won three of the last four restrictor-plate races; has 13 top-10s in 24 starts here, leading 501 laps - most among active drivers; will be without the Chevrolet in which he won the Daytona 500 as it has been inducted into the Daytona USA, where it will remain for one year: "You hate to lose a good car that the team spent so much time on, but it's an honor to have it there and to be the 2005 Daytona 500 championship team."
Elliott Sadler Is fifth in the standings despite just one top-five finish - a second in Bristol after winning the pole; ran 11th in last week's Subway Fresh 500; has struggled in 15 career starts here, managing just one top-10 finish - a third in this event in 2003; has not won since the Pop Secret 500 in California on September 5, clinching his berth into the inaugural "Chase"; will turn 30 on April 30 - the eve of this event: "Thirty to me is just the next number in line. It's not a big deal."
Ryan Newman Leads the circuit with three poles and has started in the top 10 in each of last 15 races; needed just 123 events to accumulate 30 career poles; has struggled at restrictor-plate races, managing just three top-10s in 13 starts at Daytona and Talladega; ran 20th in season-opening Daytona 500 but finished second in Bud Shootout there a week earlier; best career finish here was a fourth in September 2003; climbed two spots to seventh in the standings despite running 14th in Phoenix last week.
Jimmie Johnson Finished 15th in last week's Subway Fresh 500, ending his string of 13 straight top-10s dating to last year; ran into Tony Stewart on lap 206 in the latest of several incidents between the two drivers; the feud became apparent when Stewart rammed his Chevrolet on the cool-down lap upon the conclusion of the season-opening Daytona 500; owns a 173-point lead over Kurt Busch atop the series standings after finishing last year as the series runner-up to Busch by just eight points; led 25 laps en route to a fourth-place finish here among his series-high 20 top-fives last year.
Kurt Busch Defending series champion claimed his first checkered flag since the opener of last year's inaugural "Chase for the Nextel Cup," winning last week's inaugural Subway Fresh 500 at Phoenix International Raceway; climbed two spots to second in the standings, 173 points behind Jimmie Johnson; was his fourth top-five of the season but first since running third behind Johnson and younger brother Kyle in Las Vegas on March 13; an accident led to a 36th in this event last year; rebounded to run fifth in EA Sports 500 on October 3 and took the standings lead two days later when race winner Dale Earnhardt Jr. was docked 25 points; finished third in this event in 2001 and 2002.
Tony Stewart Involved in a crash on lap 206 last week in Phoenix and finished 33rd; has fallen from third to 14th in the point standings over the last three races as a result of three straight finishes of 26th or worse; led a race-high 107 laps in the first restrictor-plate race of the year in Daytona but had to settle for seventh - the first of just three top-10s through eight events this year; ran 22nd in this event last year but rebounded with a sixth in the EA Sports 500 here in October; not concerned with slow start this year: "It seems that historically, we normally have a slow start to the season when the tracks are cooler and have a lot more grip. It seems like when we get into May, June and July that we really hit our stride."
Mark Martin Four-time series runner-up is sixth in the standings in this his final season on the circuit; has two career wins on this track, including this event in a record 188.354 miles per hour in 1997; has four top-10s in eight events this year, including a season-best third in Martinsville on April 10; has not won since the 13th event of last season and has taken just three checkered flags since the beginning of 2000; started and finished this race sixth last year.
Greg Biffle One of two multiple winners on the circuit this year; saddled with a season-worst 41st-place finish in Phoenix last week as overheating problems with his Ford Taurus allowed him to complete just 172 of 312 laps; fell a spot to third in the standings behind Roush Racing teammate Kurt Busch; has three wins in last nine events dating to 2004 season finale at Homestead-Miami Speedway; has five top-10s in eight races this year; has run 25th or worse in other three starts; ran 18th in this event and finished 28th in the EA Sports 500 here in October.
Dale Earnhardt Jr. One third of his 15 career checkered flags have come on this track; took the series points lead with his most recent victory here in October but gave it back to Kurt Busch two days later upon being docked 25 points by NASCAR for use of profanity in his victory lane interview; won a record four straight events here beginning with the EA Sports 500 in 2001; his late father Dale Earnhardt owns the record for most wins (10), top-fives (23) and top-10s (27) on this track; ran fourth in Phoenix last week for his third top-five of the season; has run in the top 10 in three of last four events after finishing 24th or worst in previous three starts; was second to Jeff Gordon in this race last year.