NASCAR Preview

Last Updated Monday, May 7, 2007 1:33 am, EDT

Race Capsule

Talladega Superspeedway
  • What:

    Race 9 of 41 on Sprint Cup circuit

  • Where:

    Talladega Superspeedway, Talladega, AL

  • When:

    April 29, 2007 2:20 pm EDT

  • Laps:

    188

  • Track Length:

    2.66 miles

  • Race Length:

    500.00 miles

  • Purse:

    $6,022,630

Drivers to Watch

Jeff Gordon Four-time series champion is on an early pace to capture another crown, capturing four poles and placing inside the top 12 in all eight races; registered his 76th career victory last week at Phoenix to climb into a tie with the late Dale Earnhardt for sixth place on the all-time list; leads the series with six top-five finishes and seven top-10s en route to a 76-point cushion in the standings; ran 14th in this race last season but has been outstanding at this track, collecting four victories and 11 top-five finishes in 28 career starts.
Jimmie Johnson Has been overshadowed by teammate Jeff Gordon but has gotten off to a fast start this season, winning three of the first eight races and recording a pair of other top-five finishes; reigning series champion is fourth in the standings but trails Gordon by 211 points for the lead in the standings; won back-to-back races at Las Vegas and Atlanta and captured the checkered flag again two weeks later at Martinsville; won this race last season.
Kyle Busch Bounced back from his worst performance of the season at Texas by running seventh last week at Phoenix; is sixth in the standings with 1,002 points, 324 behind Hendrick Motorsports teammate Gordon; captured his fourth career checkered flag March 25 at Bristol and has five top-10 finishes this year; struggled to 32nd place in this event last season and has failed to run higher than 11th in four career starts here.
Matt Kenseth Has been outstanding since struggling to 27th place at Daytona, running inside the top 11 in each of the last seven races; finished fifth last week at Phoenix, his fifth top-five finish of the season; is third in the standings, 160 points behind Gordon; ran sixth in this event last season and finished fourth in the fall race at this track; has six top-10 finishes in 14 career starts here.
Tony Stewart One of the circuit's most inconsistent drivers over the first eight races, collecting five top-10 finishes while placing 25th or worse in the other three events; followed up 25th-place finish at Texas by running second last week at Phoenix, his second runner-up finish of the campaign; was runner-up to Johnson in this race last season and has eight top-five finishes in 16 career starts at this track.
Dale Earnhardt Jr. Has struggled over the past two races after appearing to have bounced back from his awful start to the season; followed up a 36th-place finish at Texas by running 19th last week at Phoenix; registered consecutive top-10 finishes at Bristol and Martinsville after failing to place inside the top 10 over the first four races; may have been bothered by recent distractions stemming from his ongoing contract negotiations with DEI; sputtered to 31st place in this event last year due to engine trouble but has dominated at this track, recording five victories and eight top-10 finishes in 14 career starts.
Jeff Burton After recording his first victory of the season two weeks ago, Burton responded with one of his worst performances last week - a 13th at Phoenix; fell 74 points behind leader Jeff Gordon in the series points standings; consistent veteran driver has five top-five finishes and six top-10s so far this season; ran fourth in this event last season and placed 10th in the fall race at this track; has struggled traditionally at this track, collecting just two top-five finishes and 10 top-10s in 26 career starts.