After three straight weeks of short-track racing, the NASCAR Cup Series will be doing anything but this weekend. Sunday’s running of the Geico 500 at Talladega Superspeedway sees the drivers go from running on track less than a mile in length to one that spans over two and a half. As is the case for all superspeedway races, the tapered engine spacer package that NASCAR deploys at these tracks lead to plenty of shuffling over the course of 500 miles between the Geico 500 starting lineup and the eventual race results.
This article contains all kinds of vital information necessary to get you ready for the tenth race of the NASCAR Cup Series season. Read on for the Geico 500 starting lineup, start time, fast facts and NASCAR betting stats.
NASCAR Cup Series at Talladega Superspeedway
51st Geico 500
Date: Sunday, April 25, 2021
Start Time: 2 p.m. EST
Track: Talladega Superspeedway — Lincoln, AL
Pole Sitter: Denny Hamlin
Defending Champion: Ryan Blaney
Geico 500 Race Details
Distance: 500.08 miles
Lap Length: 2.66 miles
Stages: Three (Laps 1-60; Laps 61-120; Laps 121-188)
Geico 500 Starting Grid
See below for a breakdown of qualifying.
|Starting Position||Driver||Car Number||Team||Manufacturer|
|1||Kyle Larson||5||Hendrick Motorsports||Chevrolet|
|2||Chase Elliott||9||Hendrick Motorsports||Chevrolet|
|3||William Byron||24||Hendrick Motorsports||Chevrolet|
|4||Denny Hamlin||11||Joe Gibbs Racing||Toyota|
|5||Kyle Busch||18||Joe Gibbs Racing||Ford|
|6||Austin Dillon||3||Richard Childress Racing||Chevrolet|
|7||Alex Bowman||48||Hendrick Motorsports||Chevrolet|
|8||Kevin Harvick||4||Stewart-Haas Racing||Ford|
|9||Brad Keselowski||2||Team Penske||Ford|
|10||Tyler Reddick||8||Richard Childress Racing||Chevrolet|
|11||Ryan Blaney||12||Team Penske||Ford|
|12||Chris Buescher||17||Roush Fenway Racing||Ford|
|13||Joey Logano||22||Team Penske||Ford|
|14||Ricky Stenhouse Jr.||47||JTG Daugherty Racing||Chevrolet|
|15||Bubba Wallace||23||23XI Racing||Toyota|
|16||Daniel Suarez||99||Trackhouse Racing||Chevrolet|
|17||Matt DiBenedetto||21||Wood Brothers Racing||Ford|
|18||Erik Jones||43||Richard Petty Motorsports||Chevrolet|
|19||Martin Truex Jr.||19||Joe Gibbs Racing||Toyota|
|20||Christopher Bell||20||Joe Gibbs Racing||Toyota|
|21||Michael McDowell||34||Front Row Motorsports||Ford|
|22||Corey LaJoie||7||Spire Motorsports||Chevrolet|
|23||Cole Custer||41||Stewart-Haas Racing||Ford|
|24||Ryan Newman||6||Roush Fenway Racing||Ford|
|25||Chase Briscoe||14||Stewart-Haas Racing||Ford|
|26||Aric Almirola||10||Stewart-Haas Racing||Ford|
|27||Ryan Preece||37||JTG Daugherty Racing||Chevrolet|
|28||Anthony Alfredo||38||Front Row Motorsports||Ford|
|29||Ross Chastain||42||Chip Ganassi Racing||Chevrolet|
|30||Kurt Busch||1||Chip Ganassi Racing||Chevrolet|
|31||Ben Rhodes||77||Spire Motorsports||Chevrolet|
|32||James Davison||15||Rick Ware Racing||Chevrolet|
|33||Quin Houff||00||StarCom Racing||Chevrolet|
|34||Garrett Smithley||53||Petty Ware Racing||Ford|
|35||Scott Heckert||78||Live Fast Motorsports||Ford|
|36||Josh Billicki||52||Rick Ware Racing||Ford|
|37||Cody Ware||51||Rick Ware Racing||Chevrolet|
NASCAR Cup Series Qualifying Overview
Following the virus-caused interruption to racing last season, NASCAR did away with practice and qualifying runs at the majority of races. A combination of grouped draws and a performance-metrics formula were used to determine starting grids. That same formula remains in place for the majority of races on the 2021 NASCAR Cup Series season, including this weekend’s Geico 500 starting lienup.
So, what exactly is involved in the performance-metrics formula? Well, it draws on a number of factors including individual race performances and seaosn-long results. The following breakdown illustrates the weighted grades associated with each component of NASCAR’s metrics formula:
NASCAR Cup Series Metrics Formula Breakdown
- 35 percent: Team owner points ranking
- 25 percent: Driver’s finishing position from the previous race
- 25 percent: Car owner’s finishing position from the previous race
- 15 percent: Fastest lap from the previous race
Geico 500 Stats and NASCAR Betting Facts
- The 1987 edition of the Geico 500 still stands today as the fastest NASCAR race ever run with an average speed of 188.354 mph.
- Many consider this race to be the “fifth crown jewel” of the NASCAR Cup Series season. Given the decision to move the Brickyard 400 from the Indianapolis Motor Speedway oval to the road course this season, perhaps you could say this Talladega Superspeedway race rounds out NASCAR’s four crown jewels in 2021.
- The race has set and then broken its own records for the most lead changes numerous times over the years.
- The 2011 edition of the race tied the record for the closest margin of victory in a NASCAR Cup Series race. Jimmie Johnson beat Clint Bowyer to the line by 0.002 seconds.
- Jeff Gordon leads drivers all-time with four wins in this race.
- Brad Keselowski tops all active NASCAR Cup Series drivers with three victories (2009, ’12 and ’16). He is also the only active driver with multiple wins in this race.
- Hendrick Motorsports leads all teams with eight victories in the race with the most recent coming in 2019.
- Team Penske drivers have combined to win three of the last five editions of the race.
- Chevrolet tops all manufacturers with 20 all-time Geico 500 wins. Ford is a fairly distant second with 14.
- Ford manufacturer has won four of the last five editions of the race.