NXS: Sparks Energy 300 Talladega Preview
The NASCAR Xfinity Series heads to the 2.66-mile Talladega Superspeedway for the Sparks Energy 300. This weekend is the only stop at Talladega Superspeedway for the NASCAR Xfinity Series in 2017.
There have been 25 Xfinity Series events from Talladega. During that time, there has been 18 different pole winners and 20 different race winners. Only two races have been won from the pole position. Mark Martin set the race record in 1997 at 168.937 mph. Joe Nemechek set the qualifying record in 1997 at 193.517 mph.
42 drivers will try to compete for 40 spots on Saturday morning in qualifying. Six Monster Energy NASCAR Cup full-time drivers are slated to compete in the Saturday afternoon spectacular. Ty Dillon, Daniel Suarez, Erik Jones, Joey Logano, Kasey Kahne, and Aric Almirola are scheduled to run on Saturday.
Daniel Hemric will be without his crew chief, Danny Stockman Jr, this weekend at Talladega. Stockman was suspended for one race due to having two lugnuts not installed properly at Richmond.
Although he is without his crew chief, Hemric talks about the differences between Daytona and Talladega. "The one thing that sticks out to me is the amount of grip that Talladega seems to have in the racetrack compared to Daytona. The racetrack is so much wider than Daytona, too. Anything you do to help your car handling-wise at Daytona, you take some of that out at Talladega. With all the action we saw at Daytona with the cars moving around in the draft and suddenly losing the aero-grip while in the pack, it is easy to get yourself in trouble like I did at Daytona. You have got to make sure we creep back toward the direction of having our cars handle like they did at Daytona to be good and be able to make moves at Talladega. You've got to make sure you can maneuver your car and you can drive the thing. That's going to be the biggest thing. If we can do that with our No. 21 Blue Gate Bank Chevrolet, we'll have a good day,” said Hemric.
For Darrell Wallace Jr., the 2017 season has been filled with sixth and 33rd place finishes. Wallace Jr. is ready for Talladega:
“I’m ready to hit the track this weekend in Talladega. It’s a place where anything can happen. We had a really fast car in February at Daytona and I know that Roush Fenway always brings a strong superspeedway car to the track. I’m also pumped to have the Globe Life colors on our Ford Mustang this weekend. Hopefully we can keep it clean all day long and run up front and give the Globe Life folks a great show on Saturday.”
Ben Kennedy returns to competition this weekend at Talladega with Richard Childress Racing for eight races. He will also being racing with GMS Racing as well beginning in Charlotte.
"I'm looking forward to getting back to the track and in the car in Talladega. It's been a long offseason for me, and there's a lot of anticipation going into the weekend. I think we'll have a good shot with the No. 2 Rheem team and Justin Alexander calling the shots atop the pit box. Hopefully we'll get up to speed quick and be in contention to win, but my goal is to learn a lot this year behind the wheel,” said Kennedy.
Xfinity drivers will hit the track on Friday for two practice sessions, which will be live on Fox Sports 1. Qualifying will be at 10:30 a.m. EST on Fox Sports 1. The Sparks Energy 300 will be broken into two 25-lap stages and a final stage of 63 laps. The race will be broadcasted on FOX and Motor Racing Network at 1:00 p.m. EST.
I am 19 years old from Atlanta, GA. I have been following motorsports since I was born. Motorsports has been "passed down" in my family. I am named after NASCAR Hall of Famer, William Caleb Yarborough, also known as Cale. Growing up in the southeast, racing was something that was a Sunday tradition after church. What an honor it is to share that passion with others.
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