Aaron’s 312 NASCAR Nationwide Series
WHAT: Aaron’s 312 NASCAR Nationwide Series race at Talladega Superspeedway. Race 7 of 34-race schedule.
WHEN: Saturday, April 16, 2011; 2 p.m. CDT
WHERE: Talladega Superspeedway, Talladega, Ala.
TV/RADIO: Live on ESPN 2 and MRN Radio Network
RACE LENGTH: 311.22 miles (117 laps)
RACE WINNER Brad Keselowski (2 hr., 1 min., 30 sec.)
QUALIFYING: Qualifying for the NASCAR Nationwide Series is Friday, April 15, starting at 11:10 a.m. CDT
POLE SITTER: Kevin Harvick (187.375 mph)
RECORD: Joe Nemechek, 192.517 mph; April 24, 1997
RACE RECORD: Mark Martin, 168.937 mph (1 hr., 50 min., 32 sec.); April 26, 1997
TICKETS: Contact the Talladega Superspeedway ticket office at 1-877-Go2-DEGA or log on to www.talladegasuperspeedway.com.
The Aaron’s 312 NASCAR Nationwide Series race is set for Saturday, April 16: Two-day Saturday/Sunday tickets start at $49; Single-day Saturday tickets are $40 for grandstands and $50 for towers. Kids age 12 and younger admitted free with a ticketed adult (Frontstretch Lower General Admission Grandstands only).
PARKING: Day parking for automobiles is free on Talladega Superspeedway grounds.
CONTACT: Andrew Smith, Senior Manager of Public and Community Relations, 256.223.1852 (cell); 256.315.4556 (office); 256.761.4717 (fax); 256.761.4947 (media center); email@example.com (email)
NOTES OF INTEREST:
At least 11 drivers will attempt to run both the Aaron’s 312 NASCAR Nationwide Series on Saturday, April 16 and the Aaron’s 499 Sprint Cup Series race on Sunday, April 17.
PAST WINNERS RUNNING NATIONWIDE RACE
A slew of past race winners are competing in the Aaron’s 312. Jamie McMurray, Kevin Harvick, Dale Earnhardt Jr., Kyle Busch, Brad Keselowski Clint Bowyer and Michael Waltrip are all entered in the Aaron’s 312 and have won in NASCAR’s premier Sprint Cup Series at Talladega Superspeedway.
Mike Wallace and Joe Nemechek have both found themselves in Gatorade Victory Lane at Talladega Superspeedway in the NASCAR Nationwide Series, while Justin Allgaier and Michael Annett have both won in the ARCA Racing Series at Talladega.
VARIETY IN VICTORIES
Of the 19 Aaron’s 312 NASCAR Nationwide Series races at Talladega Superspeedway, there have been 16 different winners, with Joe Nemechek and Martin Truex Jr. as the only repeat winners. Last year’s Aaron’s 312 winner, Brad Keselowski, joined other one-time Aaron’s 312 winners David Ragan, Tony Stewart, Ernie Irvan, Dale Earnhardt, Ken Schrader, Chad Little, Greg Sacks, Mark Martin, Terry Labonte, Mike McLaughlin, Jason Keller, Dale Earnhardt Jr. and Bobby Labonte.
COKE TRACK WALK
Coca-Cola Racing Family members Kurt Busch, Joey Logano and Bobby Labonte will participate in the Coca-Cola Family Track Walk following the Nationwide race on Saturday. The Walk begins 30 minutes after the end of the Aaron’s 312.
The NASCAR Nationwide Series new car makes its race debut at Talladega, but this won’t be its first time on the track. The new car tested at Talladega in October 2009 so the teams that participated have notes in hand. One of the goals of the new car was to provide competitive balance in the NASCAR Nationwide Series garage, and following last Friday’s victory at Texas by 2007 series champion Carl Edwards – his first win of the season – all four manufacturers have now won in the new car.
Dodge and Chevrolet each had two wins among the new car’s four races last year, and Toyota claimed its first new car win this year at Phoenix courtesy of 2009 series champion Kyle Busch. Dodge is seeking its first win of 2011.
A different manufacturer has won the last four races at ‘Dega. Dodge, with 2010 series champion Brad
Keselowski, won this race last year. Keselowski has had somewhat of a snake-bitten season, but has momentum after posting his best finish of the season, second, at Texas.
Toyota leads the manufacturer’s standings by three points over Chevrolet, which has been the dominant manufacturer over the 19 previous Talladega races with 12 wins. However Chevy hasn’t won since 2007 with 1991 series champion Bobby Labonte. Ford is in the hunt in third, six points out of the lead. Dodge is 15 points back.
SERIES-ONLY REGULARS GETTING THEIR WISH
NASCAR Nationwide Series driver championship contenders – series-only regulars who are eligible for the driver championship since they selected the series to compete for points at the start of the season – have long said racing against double-duty drivers is a challenge they embrace.
Through the first six races of the season, which have averaged 6.4 double-duty drivers entered, series-only regulars have been represented among the top-10 finishers at a 4.7 clip.
SCOTT FINDING HIS FOOTING AT JGR
With names like Kyle Busch, Joey Logano and Denny Hamlin, Brian Scott may have been the forgotten man in the strong Joe Gibbs Racing stable. But Scott, in his first year with the organization, has quietly been showing progress. He scored his second top-10 finish of the year last week at Texas and has been showing improvement since a disappointing start to the year at Daytona – 34th due to engine failure.
Since Daytona, Scott’s average finish is 11.6, and he has moved up to eighth in the standing. That ranking is tied for his career best, coincidentally since after this race last year at Talladega when he also was eighth. Last year in his series track debut at Talladega, he finished 10th, one of two series-only regulars in the top 10 and best among returning “regular guys.”
Scott is 45 points behind standings leader Ricky Stenhouse Jr., and two points behind seventh-place Trevor Bayne. Stenhouse had another strong outing last week, finishing eighth last Friday at Texas. He’s collected five top-10 finishes in the first six races, which is tied for the series lead with his Roush Fenway Racing teammate, Carl Edwards.
FREE INFIELD CONCERT SATURDAY NIGHT
Tim Dugger and Gretchen Wilson will perform a free infield concert for all infield guests and Sunday Aaron’s 499 ticket holders on Saturday night. Dugger opens the show at 7:15 pm with Wilson set to perform at approximately 8:45pm. Guests will be asked to show their Aaron’s 499 ticket at the Gate V9 crossover or at the tram stop by the North Tunnel.
Jaime Butler from Snellville, GA will sing the national anthem for Saturday’s Aaron’s 312. Allen Singley of Alabama Raceway Ministries will deliver the invocation prior to the race.
Representatives of the Wounded Warrior Project will deliver the driver’s command as Grand Marshal and the winner of the Aaron’s PT Rodeo will wave the green flag as Honorary Starter.