This week we return to Earnhardt Country... Talladega. Since its first race in 1969 Talladega has been filled with memorable crashes, speeds, finishes, and images its crazy past is what brings us back every time. These are my Top 5 Talladega moments, and a few honorable mentions.
- 1987 Winston 500
A race weekend that changed NASCAR and Talladega forever. This was the race where Bill Elliott qualified with an average speed of 212.809 MPH, and had the "World's Fastest Race Car."
- 2013 Aaron's 499
The ICONIC Front Row Motorsports 1-2 finish. Talladega is home to the underdogs, and the 2013 Aaron's 499 was no different. A relatively new and underfunded team lead by David Ragan, and David Gilliland the two locked up and had an immaculate drive to the lead. This was an organization altering moment, and this finish perfectly encapsulates the underdog potential at Talladega.
5. 2009 Aaron's 499
"Brad Keselowski has won this race," a truly unforgettable moment where Brad Keselowski and Carl Edwards are racing to the finish. The two pulled ahead of the field coming into the trioval, and Edwards was trying to block Keselowski. Keselowski however; got his nose just underneath Edwards and it sent his car flying into the fence. Keselowski went on to win, but after the wreck Carl Edwards finished the race on foot to the cheers of thousands of fans.
4. 2003 Aaron's 499
This race is notable for two things primarily, and the first was the largest crash in Cup Series history. The crash was on lap 4 as Ryan Newman blew a tire, and involved 27 cars in total. The other, and honestly significantly more memorable is Dale Earnhardt Jr. setting a new record of winning 4 races in a row at Talladega. In a track that his dad dominated Jr. earned his own place in the record book,
3. 1985 Winston 500
Awesome Bill from Dawsonville rallied from two laps down to win the race. Rallying from two laps down to win is impressive, but what's even crazier is that he did all under green flag conditions. He had a car that was so dominant he was legitimately drove through the field three times. Awesome Bill truly was in a league of his own in 1985, and it shows here.
2. 2000 Winston 500
Dale Earnhardt's final win...enough said. Actually this race included Kenny Wallace and Dale Earnhardt sorting through the field going from 18th to 1st in four laps. An unforgettable run when Earnhardt pulled out in front of the field with the crowd screaming. We didn't know it was Dale's final win, but even then this race is an all time Talladega moment.
1. 2020 Geico 500
You may think this pick has recency bias behind it, but I think it is the most memorable Talladega moment. The unity, and support the drivers showed Bubba Wallace is a a borderline tear jerker. Wallace is leading NASCAR's social justice reform, and that reached a new high at Talladgea. After the garage stall noose incident every single driver walked down pit road with Bubba Wallace putting his car in front of the field. The NASCAR community made a major statement standing behind Bubba, and it has changed the sport forever.