Anthony Ballantoni

Wrap-up

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Wrap-up: Talladega

Sunday, May 06, 2012


This past weekend, Talladega Superspeedway in Anniston, Alabama hosted the Sprint Cup Series Aaron’s 499 and the Nationwide Series Aaron’s 312.

NASCAR Sprint Cup Series

Time Trials
: Jeff Gordon received a $3,400 check for winning the Coors Light Pole Award at Talladega. He put up a 191.623 mph lap in the No. 24 Chevrolet to start up front. This was his 71st pole in 663 NSCS races. He has now at least one pole in 20 consecutive seasons, tying David Pearson for the longest streak all-time. Gordon was involved in a multi-car wreck on lap 142 and was done for the day (credited with a 33rd place DNF). He dropped 6 spots to 23rd in the 2012 point standings.

Did Not Qualify: No. 49 J.J. Yeley.  

Race Winner: Brad Keselowski won the Aaron's 499, his sixth victory in 99 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series races. This is the No. 2 Dodge driver's second victory and fifth top-10 finish in 2012. It is his second victory and fifth top-10 finish in seven races at Talladega Superspeedway. This is Dodge's first win at Talladega since August 8, 1976 (Dave Marcis). Keselowski moved up one spot to 12th in the 2012 NSCS point standings.

Contingency Awards:

- Matt Kenseth won the $5,400 3M Lap Leader Award for leading the most laps (73 of 194). He started the No. 17 Ford 10th and finished the race in 3rd. He is 2nd in the standings.
- Travis Kvapil won the $5,000 American Ethanol Green Flag Restart award for recording the fastest average speed on restarts and finishing the race on the lead lap. The No. 93 Toyota driver finished 16th in the race and is currently 32nd in the points.
- Roush Yates Engines won the $5,000 Mahle Clevite Engine Builder of the Race award (Matt Kenseth’s No. 17).
- Greg Biffle’s crew chief, Matt Puccia, won the $5,000 DIRECTV Crew Chief of the Race Award. The award goes to the crew chief of the driver who has demonstrated the best qualifying and race effort based on finishing positions during the weekend. Biffle started the No. 16 Ford 6th and finished 5th.
- Steve Letarte, crew chief on the No. 88 Chevrolet driven by Dale Earnhardt Jr. won the $5,500 Moog Problem Solver of the Race award. The award goes to the crew chief that improves the most from first half of the race to the second half (improved 0.039 seconds). Earnhardt started the race in 18th and finished in 9th. He is 3rd in the standings.
- David Ragan won the $5000 USG Improving the Finish Award which goes to the driver who improves the most from start to finish. The No. 34 Ford driver improved 25 places from 32nd in the lineup to a 7th place finish. He is 29th in the standings.
- Kyle Busch won the $5,000 Mobil 1 Command Performance Driver of the Race award given to the winner of the race or the next-highest finishing driver displaying the Mobil 1 decal. The No. 18 Toyota driver finished 2nd in the race and moved up two spots to 9th in the standings.

Points Leader: Greg Biffle leads the point standings by 7 points over Matt Kenseth.

NSCS Top 12:

1. Greg Biffle
2. Matt Kenseth            
3. Dale Earnhardt Jr.            
4. Denny Hamlin            
5. Kevin Harvick            
6. Martin Truex Jr.            
7. Tony Stewart            
8. Jimmie Johnson            
9. Kyle Busch            
10. Clint Bowyer            
11. Carl Edwards            
12. Brad Keselowski   

Next NSCS Race: Bojangles' Southern 500, May 12th at Darlington Raceway.

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NASCAR Nationwide Series:

Time Trials:
Qualifying was cancelled due to weather conditions. The starting lineup was set based on a combination of current owner’s points, past championships and previous attempts.

Race Winner: Joey Logano, Sprint Cup regular (No. 20 Toyota), wins the Aaron's 312, his 11th victory in 95 NASCAR Nationwide Series races. This is the No. 18 Toyota driver's second victory and fourth top-10 finish in 2012. It is his first victory and fourth top-10 finish in four races at Talladega Superspeedway. This is Toyota's 200th victory in NASCAR national series competition (42 in Sprint Cup; 67 in Nationwide; 91 in Camping World Truck). Logano is ineligible for driver points in this series.

Rookie of the Race: Cole Whitt, the No. 88 Chevrolet driver, started 11th and finished 4th. This was ahead of the rest of the 2012 Rookie of the Year contenders. Whitt is 5th in the 2012 NNS point standings.

Contingency Awards:

- James Buescher won the $2,000 Mobil 1 Driver of the Race award for his 6th place finish. The driver of the No. 30 Chevrolet, a Camping World Truck Series regular (No. 31 Chevrolet Silverado), is ineligible for points in this series.
- Cole Whitt makes the most improvement in the series since his 4th place finish was 15 places better than his last NNS finish. This earned the No. 88 driver a $2,600 check and the Featherlite “Most Improved Driver” award. Whitt is 5th in the standings.
- Kyle Busch won the $2,200 3M Lap Leader award for leading the most laps (36 of 122). Busch is ineligible for driver points in this series.
- Toyota Racing Development (Kyle Busch’s No. 54 Toyota) won the $2,100 Mahle Clevite Engine Builder of the Race award.

Points Leader:
Ricky Stenhouse Jr. leads the point standings by 5 points over Elliott Sadler. Stenhouse, driver of the No. 6 Ford, finished the race in 3rd place. Previous points leader, Sadler (No. 2 Chevrolet), finished in 10th.

NNS Top 10:

1. Ricky Stenhouse Jr.
2. Elliott Sadler
3. Austin Dillon
4. Sam Hornish Jr.
5. Cole Whitt
6. Michael Annett
7. Justin Allgaier
8. Tayler Malsam
9. Mike Bliss
10. Joe Nemechek

Next NNS Race:
VFW Sport Clips Help a Hero 200, Friday, May 11th at Darlington Raceway. 

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NASCAR Camping World Truck Series:

Next NCWTS Race:
NC Education Lottery 200, May 18th at Charlotte Motor Speedway.

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Tony Ballantoni runs the NASCAR coverage at RotoWorld.com.
Email :Anthony Ballantoni



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