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The 2015 GEICO 500 was a NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race held on May 3, 2015 at Talladega Superspeedway in Lincoln, Alabama. Contested over 188 laps on the 2.66 mile (4.28 km) asphalt superspeedway, it was the tenth race of the 2015 NASCAR Sprint Cup season. Dale Earnhardt Jr. won the race, his first win of the season and his sixth at Talladega Superspeedway and first at the racetrack since 2004. His teammate Jimmie Johnson finished second, while Paul Menard, Ryan Blaney and Martin Truex Jr. rounded out the Top five.

2015 GEICO 500
Race details[1][2][3][4][5][6][7][8][9]
Race 10 of 36 in the 2015 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series
Official logo for the race
Official logo for the race
Date May 3, 2015 (2015-05-03)
Location Talladega Superspeedway in Lincoln, Alabama
Course Permanent racing facility
2.66 mi (4.28 km)
Distance 188 laps, 500.08 mi (804.8 km)
Weather Sunny, clear blue skies with a temperature of 76 °F (24 °C); wind out of the south/southwest at 5 mph (8.0 km/h)
Average speed 159.487 mph (256.669 km/h)
Pole position
Driver Hendrick Motorsports
Time 49.160
Most laps led
Driver Dale Earnhardt Jr. Hendrick Motorsports
Laps 67
Winner
No. 88 Dale Earnhardt Jr. Hendrick Motorsports
Television in the United States
Network Fox
Announcers Mike Joy, Larry McReynolds and Darrell Waltrip
Nielsen Ratings 3.8/7 (Overnight)[10]
4.0/7 (Final)[11]
6.3 Million viewers[11]
Radio in the United States
Radio MRN
Booth Announcers Joe Moore, Jeff Striegle and Rusty Wallace
Turn Announcers Dave Moody (1 & 2), Mike Bagley (Backstretch) and Kyle Rickey (3 & 4)

Jeff Gordon won the pole for the race, the 80th of his career and fourth at the track. He led 47 laps before getting caught in a last lap wreck on his way to a 31st-place finish. Teammate Dale Earnhardt Jr. led a race high of 67 laps. The race had 27 lead changes among 15 different drivers, as well as six cautions for 23 laps. There was one red flag period for eleven minutes and 32 seconds.

This was the 24th career victory for Dale Earnhardt Jr., sixth at Talladega Superspeedway and twelfth at the track for Hendrick Motorsports. The win moved Junior up to fifth in the points standings. Chevrolet left Talladega with a 37-point lead over Ford in the manufacturer standings.

The GEICO 500 was carried by Fox Sports on the broadcast Fox network for the American television audience. The radio broadcast for the race was carried by the Motor Racing Network and Sirius XM NASCAR Radio.

Contents

ReportEdit

BackgroundEdit

 
Talladega Superspeedway, the track where the race was held.

Talladega Superspeedway, originally known as Alabama International Motor Superspeedway (AIMS), is a motorsports complex located north of Talladega, Alabama. It is located on the former Anniston Air Force Base in the small city of Lincoln. The track is a Tri-oval and was constructed by International Speedway Corporation, a business controlled by the France Family, in the 1960s. Talladega is most known for its steep banking and the unique location of the start/finish line - located just past the exit to pit road. The track currently hosts the NASCAR series such as the Sprint Cup Series, Xfinity Series, and the Camping World Truck Series. Talladega Superspeedway is the longest NASCAR oval with a length of 2.66 miles (4.28 km), and the track at its peak had a seating capacity of 175,000 spectators,[12] although the current capacity is 80,000 seats.[13]

Kevin Harvick entered Talladega with a 33-point lead over Joey Logano following his runner-up finish the week before at Richmond. Martin Truex Jr. entered 42 back. Jimmie Johnson entered 58 back. Brad Keselowski entered 74 back.

Changes to qualifyingEdit

On March 30, 2015, in response to a series of accidents that happened during pole qualifying at the Daytona 500, NASCAR made changes to the qualifying format for all three national series at the restrictor plate tracks.[14] Qualifying for both the spring and fall Talladega races, as well as the July events at Daytona International Speedway, will consist of the following:

* Two rounds of qualifying, with the top twelve posted lap speeds advancing to the second round[14]
* Race vehicles taking one, timed lap in each round of qualifying[14]
* Each race vehicle will be released in a predetermined timed interval as determined by NASCAR, with the sanctioning body reserving the right to have more than one vehicle engaging in qualifying runs at the same time[14]
* Qualifying order for the first round will be determined by a random draw; final round qualifying order is determined by slowest to fastest speeds from the first round[14]
* A ten-minute break will occur between the first qualifying round and the final round[14]
* Upon completion of the first qualifying round, the field will be set with positions 13 and beyond determined from first round qualifying speed[14]
* The twelve fastest vehicles from the first round will have their speeds reset for the final round with starting positions 1-12 determined by the fastest laps in the final round[14]
* NASCAR will impound race vehicles following each qualifying lap; vehicles advancing to the final round will be allowed to adjust tape and utilize a cool-down unit during the ten minute break only[14]

“When you look at superspeedway racing, when we had conversations with the garage area, and you really determined that through no fault of a driver, there’s potential that an accident could take place – they could have the fastest car on the track and really through no fault of their own through an accident could fail to qualify for a race,’’ O’Donnell said. When we looked at that, especially in Daytona, that’s a circumstance we wanted to try to avoid if we could. We’re able to put this together, which is a little combination of (single-car and group qualifying) and puts it more in the driver’s hand for a superspeedway, which we like to see.’’

NASCAR Executive Vice-President Steve O'Donnell speaking on Sirius XM NASCAR Radio.[15]

While no official announcement was made on how many cars would be on track at once, Steve O'Donnell, NASCAR's executive vice president and chief racing development officer, said they would likely do two cars at a time to Mike Bagley and Pete Pistone in his weekly Monday appearance on the Sirius XM NASCAR Radio program "The Morning Drive."[15] He also discussed with the show's hosts why NASCAR made the change.[15]

Entry listEdit

The entry list for the GEICO 500 was released on Sunday, April 26, 2015 at 2:35 p.m. Eastern time. Forty-five cars were entered for the race. David Ragan drove his final race in the No. 18 Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota. He took over the No. 55 Toyota at Michael Waltrip Racing as a season replacement for Brian Vickers the following race at Kansas Speedway.[16] The No. 21 Wood Brothers Racing Ford, driven by Ryan Blaney, entered its first race since the Duck Commander 500 at Texas Motor Speedway. After giving his seat to Jeb Burton the previous race at Richmond International Raceway, J. J. Yeley returned to the No. 23 BK Racing Toyota. Bobby Labonte made his second start of the season driving the No. 32 Go FAS Racing Ford. The No. 33 Hillman-Circle Sport LLC that had been driven by Alex Kennedy was driven by Brian Scott. Chris Buescher returned to the No. 34 Front Row Motorsports Ford that had been driven by Reed Sorenson. Michael Waltrip drove the No. 55 Michael Waltrip Racing Toyota that had been driven by Brett Moffitt. The No. 95 Leavine Family Racing Ford, driven by Michael McDowell, entered its first race since the Food City 500 at Bristol Motor Speedway.

No. Driver Team Manufacturer
1 Jamie McMurray Chip Ganassi Racing Chevrolet
2 Brad Keselowski (PC3) Team Penske Ford
3 Austin Dillon Richard Childress Racing Chevrolet
4 Kevin Harvick (PC1) Stewart-Haas Racing Chevrolet
5 Kasey Kahne Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet
6 Trevor Bayne Roush Fenway Racing Ford
7 Regan Smith Tommy Baldwin Racing Chevrolet
9 Sam Hornish Jr. Richard Petty Motorsports Ford
10 Danica Patrick Stewart-Haas Racing Chevrolet
11 Denny Hamlin Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota
13 Casey Mears Germain Racing Chevrolet
14 Tony Stewart (PC4) Stewart-Haas Racing Chevrolet
15 Clint Bowyer Michael Waltrip Racing Toyota
16 Greg Biffle Roush Fenway Racing Ford
17 Ricky Stenhouse Jr. Roush Fenway Racing Ford
18 David Ragan Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota
19 Carl Edwards Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota
20 Matt Kenseth (PC6) Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota
21 Ryan Blaney (i) Wood Brothers Racing Ford
22 Joey Logano Team Penske Ford
23 David Ragan (i) BK Racing Toyota
24 Jeff Gordon Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet
26 Jeb Burton (R) BK Racing Toyota
27 Paul Menard Richard Childress Racing Chevrolet
31 Ryan Newman Richard Childress Racing Chevrolet
32 Bobby Labonte (PC8) Go FAS Racing Ford
33 Brian Scott (i) Hillman-Circle Sport LLC Chevrolet
34 Chris Buescher (i) Front Row Motorsports Ford
35 Cole Whitt Front Row Motorsports Ford
38 David Gilliland Front Row Motorsports Ford
40 Landon Cassill (i) Hillman-Circle Sport LLC Chevrolet
41 Kurt Busch (PC5) Stewart-Haas Racing Chevrolet
42 Kyle Larson Chip Ganassi Racing Chevrolet
43 Aric Almirola Richard Petty Motorsports Ford
46 Michael Annett HScott Motorsports Chevrolet
47 A. J. Allmendinger JTG Daugherty Racing Chevrolet
48 Alex Bowman (PC2) Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet
51 Justin Allgaier HScott Motorsports Chevrolet
55 Michael Waltrip Michael Waltrip Racing Toyota
62 Brendan Gaughan (i) Premium Motorsports Chevrolet
78 Martin Truex Jr. Furniture Row Racing Chevrolet
83 Matt DiBenedetto (R) BK Racing Toyota
88 Dale Earnhardt Jr. Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet
95 Michael McDowell Leavine Family Racing Ford
98 Josh Wise Phil Parsons Racing Ford
Official entry list
Key Meaning
(R) Rookie
(i) Ineligible for points
(PC#) Past champions provisional

PracticeEdit

First practiceEdit

Ricky Stenhouse Jr. was the fastest in the first practice session with a time of 47.694 and a speed of 200.780 mph (323.124 km/h).[17]

Pos No. Driver Team Manufacturer Time Speed
1 17 Ricky Stenhouse Jr. Roush Fenway Racing Ford 47.694 200.780
2 55 Michael Waltrip Michael Waltrip Racing Toyota 47.703 200.742
3 34 Chris Buescher (i) Front Row Motorsports Ford 47.816 200.268
Official first practice results

Final practiceEdit

Greg Biffle was the fastest in the final practice session with a time of 48.381 and a speed of 197.929 mph (318.536 km/h).[18]

Pos No. Driver Team Manufacturer Time Speed
1 16 Greg Biffle Roush Fenway Racing Ford 48.381 197.929
2 14 Tony Stewart Stewart-Haas Racing Chevrolet 48.398 197.859
3 43 Aric Almirola Richard Petty Motorsports Ford 48.438 197.696
Official final practice results

QualifyingEdit

 
Jeff Gordon, seen here at the 2015 Daytona 500, scored the 80th pole of his career at Talladega.

Jeff Gordon won the pole with a time of 49.160 and a speed of 194.793 mph (313.489 km/h).[19] This was the 80th pole in Gordon's career.[19] "I am so proud of this pole because we got the pole in Daytona, but it was a totally different format," Gordon said. "I knew the car was fast there. For this team to bring another car, a different car here, and all the hard work from the engine shop and what they do with the bodies, and chassis and prep."[19] "The Hendrick cars are really strong, and the engines are running great," Kasey Kahne said after qualifying second. "Our Farmers Insurance Chevy was fast right there. I told Jeff I was coming to the front row. I knew I wouldn't beat him because he is really quick, but I knew we could get up to second. I was really happy with that. It is a good starting spot. Hopefully tomorrow we stay out of trouble and we are there at the end and have a shot."[19] "We’ve got pretty good speed in our Ford and it’s just nice to be back with this Wood Brothers team," Ryan Blaney said after qualifying third. "I’ve definitely been itching to get back to the track and it’s cool to finally be back here and have a good car, too. This team really needs a good finish. After having a good car at Texas and blowing up early that really kind of brought us down, so we’ll try to run all the laps tomorrow and see if we can pick this team up a little bit before Charlotte.”[19] Defending race winner Denny Hamlin qualified 17th. “I think it’s good. It goes faster," Hamlin said. "Definitely rewards the guys that worked hard in the shop. I think that we’re a little faster than what we usually are, but definitely disappointed. I thought we would have made it to the final round, but some of our teammates did, some of them didn’t. It’s just all on what you’ve got, but I think we’ll be okay in the race.”[19] Jeb Burton and Michael McDowell failed to qualify for the race.

Qualifying resultsEdit

Pos No. Driver Team Manufacturer R1 R2
1 24 Jeff Gordon Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet 49.171 49.160
2 5 Kasey Kahne Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet 49.577 49.441
3 21 Ryan Blaney Wood Brothers Racing Ford 49.508 49.460
4 88 Dale Earnhardt Jr. Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet 49.587 49.463
5 48 Jimmie Johnson Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet 49.601 49.507
6 14 Tony Stewart Stewart-Haas Racing Chevrolet 49.634 49.509
7 27 Paul Menard Richard Childress Racing Chevrolet 49.496 49.511
8 20 Matt Kenseth Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota 49.508 49.525
9 18 David Ragan Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota 49.591 49.615
10 15 Clint Bowyer Michael Waltrip Racing Toyota 49.667 49.666
11 13 Casey Mears Germain Racing Chevrolet 49.654 49.693
12 9 Sam Hornish Jr. Richard Petty Motorsports Ford 49.623 49.786
13 42 Kyle Larson Chip Ganassi Racing Chevrolet 49.670
14 3 Austin Dillon Richard Childress Racing Chevrolet 49.671
15 2 Brad Keselowski Team Penske Ford 49.674
16 33 Brian Scott (i) Hillman-Circle Sport LLC Chevrolet 49.677
17 11 Denny Hamlin Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota 49.684
18 31 Ryan Newman Richard Childress Racing Chevrolet 49.690
19 41 Kurt Busch Stewart-Haas Racing Chevrolet 49.699
20 16 Greg Biffle Roush Fenway Racing Ford 49.701
21 22 Joey Logano Team Penske Ford 49.714
22 19 Carl Edwards Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota 49.723
23 55 Michael Waltrip Michael Waltrip Racing Toyota 49.828
24 4 Kevin Harvick Stewart-Haas Racing Chevrolet 49.862
25 10 Danica Patrick Stewart-Haas Racing Chevrolet 49.918
26 6 Trevor Bayne Roush Fenway Racing Ford 49.946
27 1 Jamie McMurray Chip Ganassi Racing Chevrolet 49.972
28 43 Aric Almirola Richard Petty Motorsports Ford 49.975
29 17 Ricky Stenhouse Jr. Roush Fenway Racing Ford 49.984
30 40 Landon Cassill (i) Hillman-Circle Sport LLC Chevrolet 50.006
31 47 A. J. Allmendinger JTG Daugherty Racing Chevrolet 50.070
32 32 Bobby Labonte Go FAS Racing Ford 50.090
33 62 Brendan Gaughan (i) Premium Motorsports Chevrolet 50.132
34 98 Josh Wise Phil Parsons Racing Ford 50.200
35 51 Justin Allgaier HScott Motorsports Chevrolet 50.205
36 78 Martin Truex Jr. Furniture Row Racing Chevrolet 50.211
37 7 Alex Bowman Tommy Baldwin Racing Chevrolet 50.235
38 34 Chris Buescher (i) Front Row Motorsports Ford 50.292
39 38 David Gilliland Front Row Motorsports Ford 50.327
40 46 Michael Annett HScott Motorsports Chevrolet 50.361
41 35 Cole Whitt Front Row Motorsports Ford 50.466
42 23 J.J. Yeley (i) BK Racing Toyota 50.602
43 83 Matt DiBenedetto BK Racing Toyota 50.707
Failed to qualify
44 95 Michael McDowell Leavine Family Racing Ford 50.548
45 26 Jeb Burton (R) BK Racing Toyota 50.672
Official qualifying results

RaceEdit

First halfEdit

StartEdit

The race was scheduled to start at 1:20 p.m., but started a minute late at 1:21 p.m. when Jeff Gordon led the field to the green flag. He led the first three laps before giving the lead to teammate Kasey Kahne on the fourth circuit. Tony Stewart pulled out on front of Kahne take the lead 8. Dale Earnhardt Jr. used the outside lane to pass Stewart for the lead on lap 13. Going down the Alabama Gang Superstretch (backstretch), Jeff Gordon used a slingshot move to pass his teammate for the lead on lap 17. The first caution of the race flew on lap 19 for a two car wreck in turn 1 involving Brian Scott and Michael Waltrip. Coming across the start/finish line, Scott's engine expired and spun out in turn 1. Joey Logano was able to avoid t-boning the No. 33 car, but Waltrip was not so lucky.[20] Kevin Harvick opted not to pit and took over the lead. He would end up pitting the next lap and Justin Allgaier assumed the lead. He too would pit and Bobby Labonte took the lead. Finally, Labonte pitted and Jeff Gordon cycled back to the lead.[21]

First restart and the "Big One"Edit

The race restarted on lap 25. Gordon got a push from teammate Jimmie Johnson to jump ahead of teammate Dale Earnhardt, Jr. After five laps, the field bunched up to form a single file train riding the top line around the track. That didn't last for long as all the cars behind fifth place Ricky Stenhouse Jr. formed a second line on the bottom, That grew a third line in the middle lane. The second caution of the race flew on lap 47 for a huge crash that began in turn 2 and continued down the backstretch.[22] Paul Menard and Kurt Busch went to the outside and inside of Trevor Bayne that got his car aero loose exiting turn 2 and turned up into the wall. Joey Logano, trying to avoid hitting Bayne, got rear-ended and turned by Kasey Kahne. He turned down into Landon Cassill who came up right in front of Kyle Larson and destroyed the front of the No. 42 car. He hit him again going backwards riding the wall. Ricky Stenhouse Jr. hooked Larson into the wall turning down the track trying to avoid him. Greg Biffle turned down onto the apron to avoid hitting Logano, but he overcorrected and turned up into the outside wall. He came across the nose of Kevin Harvick and dented the nose of his car. Biffle's car turned back down towards the runoff area and got t-boned by David Ragan. Danica Patrick was hit by the unyielding Almirola No. 43 car and spun out at the start of the wreck trying to avoid Bayne. She suffered minimal if any damage due to her incredible car control and continued onward.[22] Matt DiBenedetto drove through the center of the wreck and spun out trying to avoid hitting Larson. He too suffered minimal if any damage and continued the race. The 15 cars caught up were Justin Allgaier, Aric Almirola, Trevor Bayne, Greg Biffle, Alex Bowman, Kurt Busch, Landon Cassill, Matt DiBenedetto, Brendan Gaughan, Kevin Harvick, Kasey Kahne, Joey Logano, Danica Patrick, David Ragan, Ricky Stenhouse Jr., Tony Stewart and Josh Wise. "It felt like the 27 (Menard) was really tight on our door and it sucked us around," Bayne said. "Our car was a little loose, but we had a fast racecar today. I hate that a lot of cars got torn up. Maybe I could have got down a little bit before the 27 (Menard) came by, but it all happened so fast."[23] "I didn't see a whole lot," said Larson. "I saw the No. 6 (Bayne) get sideways in front of me. I don't know if somebody got in to him or not, or if he just got the air taken off of him. From there just trying to miss the wrecks and I thought I was going to clear it all then the No. 40 (Cassill) started coming back up the track and I clipped him. It's tough. We haven't had many very good runs this year and then I missed that race in Martinsville, so these bad finishes aren't really helping us out for points."[23] "Just one of those things at Talladega – if you’re not up in the top-two or three or if you’re not running 38th to 40th then you’re very subject to being involved in some accidents like that," Ragan said. "Just in the wrong place at the wrong time, but had a good run with the 18 guys. Have to thank everybody at Joe Gibbs Racing for the opportunity and wish it would have worked out a little bit better.”[23] David Gilliland opted not to pit under the caution, The field was stopped down the back stretch as the race was red-flagged.[21]

Green flag runEdit

After an 11-minute 15 second delay, the field was running 4 laps under caution, The race restarted on lap 52. The field formed up three lines of racing. A piece of sheet metal on the backstretch brought out the third caution of the race on lap 55.[21]

The race restarted on lap 59. By lap 70, the first seven cars broke away from the rest of the field. This didn't last for long as the field reeled in the breakaway group and formed a line on the outside to pull up to the leader. Despite most of the cars running the outer line, they couldn't pull up past the seventh place car of Denny Hamlin. Eventually though, the outside line led by Matt Kenseth started pulling up towards the fourth place car of Brad Keselowski. Jimmie Johnson and the first three jumped up to the top line and the bottom lane eventually began breaking up. The fourth caution of the race flew on lap 91 when Brendan Gaughan slammed the wall in turn 2. He had a right-front tire blowout that sent his car straight into the wall. The leaders then came to the pits and Jeff Gordon exited pit road in the lead.[24] Casey Mears was penalized for an uncontrolled tire and restarted the race from the tail-end of the field.[21]

Second halfEdit

HalfwayEdit

 
Dale Earnhardt Jr., seen here at the 2015 Daytona 500, scored the victory at Talladega.

The race restarted on lap 96. Jimmie Johnson used the outside line to take the lead on lap 97. Gordon used the inside line to take the lead on lap 98. Exiting turn 4, Dale Earnhardt Jr. left teammate Gordon hanging, moved to the top line and pushed other teammate Johnson to the lead on lap 99. He was left hanging when Denny Hamlin and Dale Earnhardt Jr. went to both sides and sent him backwards. Hamlin would take the lead on lap 105. Going underneath Hamlin in turn 2, Dale Earnhardt Jr. took the lead on lap 108. J. J. Yeley was blacked flagged for his window net being down. Compounding this, he was tagged for speeding on pit road and forced to serve a drive-through penalty. Jeff Gordon went outside of Earnhardt in the tri-oval and took the lead on lap 111. Debris in turn 3 brought out the fifth caution of the race on lap 115. Kevin Harvick was tagged for his crew being over the wall too soon and restarted from the tail-end of the field.[21]

The race restarted on lap 119. The field fanned out and formed three lanes of racing. Dale Earnhardt Jr. went underneath Jeff Gordon exiting turn 4 and took the lead with 64 laps to go. Tony Stewart went under Earnhardt in turn 4 to take the lead with 40 laps to go. Dale powered ahead to take it back with 39 laps to go. He gave up the lead to make his final stop with 33 laps to go and handed the lead to Denny Hamlin. The sixth caution of the race flew with 31 laps to go when Austin Dillon's car caught fire in the tri-oval. The fire was coming from the right-front tire area and he brought his car to a stop near the start/finish line. Jeff Gordon and Josh Wise were tagged for speeding on pit road and restarted the race from the tail-end of the field. Greg Biffle was tagged for speeding and restarted the race from the tail-end of the field. Cole Whitt opted not to pit and restarted the race as the leader.[21]

Final lapsEdit

The race restarted with 26 laps to go. Whitt was no match for Dale Earnhardt Jr. who passed him with ease and took the lead with 25 laps to go. In the closing 20 laps, the top ten cars broke away from the rest of the field. With two laps to go, Denny Hamlin broke out of line to go for the win. Carl Edwards got bumped in turn 1. The race stayed green after that and a wreck on the backstretch that collected Jeff Gordon, Casey Mears, Ricky Stenhouse Jr. and J.J. Yeley. Dale Earnhardt Jr. took home the checked flag.[25] "I didn't know what he had up his sleeve,” Earnhardt Jr. said. “Maybe they got busy behind him and he couldn't form a charge. We had a real strong car. I didn't know if the engine was going to last. I had faith in it that it would because we build fast cars and they are tough. Just real emotional man. Everything is just so good for me now. My personal life. My racing. The team I am with. I don't know why. I don't feel like I deserve it. I just feel overcome with a lot of emotion. It has been a long time since I won here. I've run so good here, and not to win here in so many races has bothered me.”[25]

Post-raceEdit

“It’s going to be a judgment call. We’ve stated that we’re going to make every effort to try to finish under green-flag conditions. That’s what the fans want to see. We’ve got to be obviously mindful of what’s occurring on the racetrack. It’s a split-second decision. I think yesterday if you look at the circumstances that played out with Carl, when we initially saw him get loose, he was down on the apron. As we made that quick decision, it was ‘OK, he’s clear we can go.’ Just as you make that, his car slides up across the track. That’s something you don’t want to see green- or yellow-flag conditions, but, at the time, if we would have thrown the yellow, then it’s too late because he’s already up and across the track. We elected to let it play out. We certainly didn’t like to see how Carl came across the track but ultimately we were able to come back under green-flag conditions. People want to point to who’s leading, who’s not leading, what could have happened, what didn’t happen. I know it’s hard to believe for some folks, we don’t look at that. We look at the circumstances of the incident. We’ve got to make that call. We’re not always going to be right. We know with each decision we open it up for debate. That’s sports. We’ll talk to Carl and the competitors about that but did like seeing us being able to finish under green.’’

NASCAR executive vice-president Steve O'Donnell speaking on Sirius XM NASCAR Radio.[26]

Following the race, Carl Edwards and Matt Kenseth expressed their displeasure over NASCAR not throwing a caution on the final lap.[27] "There's people going by at 100-plus miles per hour," Edwards said of the accident scene. "They never checked up. I think that's the most dangerous thing in the sport right now at these places. When there's a wreck, guys got to get on the brake, or we're going to have a lot of problems. That's not the way I try to race these guys when there's a wreck. That's very frustrating. I guess some people would say, 'Well, hell, your job is to stay on the throttle and go race,' but we're all out there and are human beings. You get a guy wrecking — you can't just lay into his door. That's pretty dangerous."[27] "There was that wreck at the end, and I had to lift so I didn't send Carl to the hospital," Kenseth said. "I'm just dumbfounded NASCAR didn't throw a caution. We were driving past wrecked cars for half a lap at 180 miles per hour."[27]

In his weekly Monday appearance on the Sirius XM NASCAR Radio program The Morning Drive, Steve O'Donnell - NASCAR executive vice-president and chief racing development officer - explained to Mike Bagley and Pete Pistone on why NASCAR made the call to not throw the caution flag on the final lap.

Race resultsEdit

Pos Grid No. Driver Team Manufacturer Laps Points
1 4 88 Dale Earnhardt Jr. Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet 188 48
2 5 48 Jimmie Johnson Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet 188 43
3 7 27 Paul Menard Richard Childress Racing Chevrolet 188 41
4 3 21 Ryan Blaney (i) Wood Brothers Racing Ford 188 0
5 36 78 Martin Truex Jr. Furniture Row Racing Chevrolet 188 39
6 12 9 Sam Hornish Jr. Richard Petty Motorsports Ford 188 38
7 18 31 Ryan Newman Richard Childress Racing Chevrolet 188 37
8 24 4 Kevin Harvick Stewart-Haas Racing Chevrolet 188 37
9 17 11 Denny Hamlin Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota 188 36
10 34 98 Josh Wise Phil Parsons Racing Ford 188 35
11 27 1 Jamie McMurray Chip Ganassi Racing Chevrolet 188 33
12 19 41 Kurt Busch Stewart-Haas Racing Chevrolet 188 33
13 41 35 Cole Whitt Front Row Motorsports Ford 188 32
14 42 23 J. J. Yeley (i) BK Racing Toyota 188 0
15 28 43 Aric Almirola Richard Petty Motorsports Ford 188 29
16 37 7 Alex Bowman Tommy Baldwin Racing Chevrolet 188 28
17 31 47 A. J. Allmendinger JTG Daugherty Racing Chevrolet 188 27
18 43 83 Matt DiBenedetto (R) BK Racing Toyota 188 26
19 6 14 Tony Stewart Stewart-Haas Racing Chevrolet 188 26
20 39 38 David Gilliland Front Row Motorsports Ford 188 25
21 25 10 Danica Patrick Stewart-Haas Racing Chevrolet 188 23
22 15 2 Brad Keselowski Team Penske Ford 188 22
23 35 51 Justin Allgaier HScott Motorsports Chevrolet 188 22
24 38 34 Chris Buescher (i) Front Row Motorsports Ford 188 0
25 8 20 Matt Kenseth Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota 188 19
26 29 17 Ricky Stenhouse Jr. Roush Fenway Racing Ford 188 19
27 32 32 Bobby Labonte Go FAS Racing Ford 188 18
28 11 13 Casey Mears Germain Racing Chevrolet 188 17
29 40 46 Michael Annett HScott Motorsports Chevrolet 188 15
30 10 15 Clint Bowyer Michael Waltrip Racing Toyota 188 14
31 1 24 Jeff Gordon Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet 188 14
32 22 19 Carl Edwards Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota 188 12
33 21 22 Joey Logano Team Penske Ford 186 11
34 2 5 Kasey Kahne Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet 158 11
35 14 3 Austin Dillon Richard Childress Racing Chevrolet 157 9
36 23 55 Michael Waltrip Michael Waltrip Racing Toyota 151 8
37 20 16 Greg Biffle Roush Fenway Racing Ford 147 7
38 9 18 David Ragan Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota 123 6
39 30 40 Landon Cassill (i) Hillman-Circle Sport LLC Chevrolet 91 0
40 33 62 Brendan Gaughan (i) Premium Motorsports Chevrolet 90 0
41 26 6 Trevor Bayne Roush Fenway Racing Ford 46 3
42 13 42 Kyle Larson Chip Ganassi Racing Chevrolet 46 2
43 16 33 Brian Scott (i) Hillman-Circle Sport LLC Chevrolet 18 0
Official GEICO 500 results

Race statisticsEdit

  • 27 lead changes among 15 different drivers
  • 6 cautions for 23 laps; 1 red flag for 11 minutes 15 seconds
  • Time of race: 3 hours, 08 minutes, 08 seconds
  • Average speed: 159.487 mph (256.669 km/h)
  • Dale Earnhardt Jr. took home $311,665 in winnings
Lap Leaders
Laps Leader
1-3 Jeff Gordon
4-6 Kasey Kahne
7-11 Tony Stewart
12-15 Dale Earnhardt Jr.
16-19 Jeff Gordon
20 Kevin Harvick
21 Justin Allgaier
22 Bobby Labonte
23-48 Jeff Gordon
49 Kurt Busch
50-91 Jimmie Johnson
92 David Gilliland
93 Josh Wise
94-95 Jeff Gordon
96-103 Jimmie Johnson
104 Dale Earnhardt Jr.
105-106 Denny Hamlin
107-110 Dale Earnhardt Jr.
111-115 Jeff Gordon
116 Casey Mears
117-123 Jeff Gordon
124-147 Dale Earnhardt Jr.
148 Tony Stewart
149-155 Dale Earnhardt Jr.
156-158 Denny Hamlin
159 Ricky Stenhouse Jr.
160-161 Cole Whitt
162-188 Dale Earnhardt Jr.
Total laps led
Leader Laps
Dale Earnhardt Jr. 67
Jimmie Johnson 50
Jeff Gordon 47
Tony Stewart 6
Denny Hamlin 5
Kasey Kahne 3
Cole Whitt 2
Kevin Harvick 1
Josh Wise 1
Kurt Busch 1
David Gilliland 1
Justin Allgaier 1
Ricky Stenhouse Jr. 1
Bobby Labonte 1
Casey Mears 1

Race awardsEdit

MediaEdit

TelevisionEdit

Fox Sports covered their 15th race at Talladega Superspeedway. Mike Joy, Larry McReynolds and four-time Talladega winner Darrell Waltrip had the call in the booth for the race. Jamie Little, Chris Neville, Vince Welch and Matt Yocum handled the pit road duties for the television side. Fox NASCAR rules analyst Andy Petree was also involved in coverage.

Fox
Booth announcers Pit reporters
Lap-by-lap: Mike Joy
Color-commentator: Larry McReynolds
Color commentator: Darrell Waltrip
Jamie Little
Chris Neville
Vince Welch
Matt Yocum

RadioEdit

MRN had the radio call for the race, which was simulcasted on Sirius XM NASCAR Radio. Joe Moore, Jeff Striegle and Rusty Wallace called the race in the booth when the field was racing through the tri-oval. Dave Moody called the race from the Sunoco tower outside of turn 2 when the field was racing through turns 1 and 2. Mike Bagley called the race from a platform on the inside of the track over towards turn 3 when the field was racing down the Alabama Gang Superstretch (backstretch). Kyle Rickey called the race from the fan deck area outside of turn 4 when the field was racing through turns 3 and 4. Alex Hayden, Winston Kelley and Steve Post worked pit road for MRN.

MRN
Booth announcers Turn announcers Pit reporters
Lead announcer: Joe Moore
Announcer: Jeff Striegle
Announcer: Rusty Wallace
Turns 1 & 2: Dave Moody
Backstretch: Mike Bagley
Turns 3 & 4: Kyle Rickey
Alex Hayden
Winston Kelley
Steve Post

Standings after the raceEdit

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ "2015 NASCAR Schedule" (PDF). NASCAR.com. NASCAR Media Group, LLC. August 26, 2014. Retrieved April 27, 2015.
  2. ^ "Talladega Superspeedway". NASCAR.com. NASCAR Media Group, LLC. January 3, 2013. Retrieved April 27, 2015.
  3. ^ "Entry List". MRN.com. Motor Racing Network. April 27, 2015. Retrieved April 27, 2015.
  4. ^ "First Practice Results". MRN.com. Motor Racing Network. May 1, 2015. Retrieved May 1, 2015.
  5. ^ "Final Practice Results". MRN.com. Motor Racing Network. May 1, 2015. Retrieved May 1, 2015.
  6. ^ "Qualifying Results". MRN.com. Motor Racing Network. May 2, 2015. Retrieved May 2, 2015.
  7. ^ "GEICO 500 Results". MRN.com. Motor Racing Network. May 3, 2015. Retrieved May 3, 2015.
  8. ^ "Points standings" (PDF). Jayski.com. NASCAR Statistics. May 3, 2015. Retrieved May 3, 2015.
  9. ^ "Manufacturer standings" (PDF). Jayski.com. NASCAR Integrated Marketing Communications. May 4, 2015. Retrieved May 4, 2015.
  10. ^ Paulsen (May 4, 2015). "For Third Straight Year, Talladega Overnights Lowest Since At Least 1998". SportsMediaWatch.com. Sports Media Watch. Retrieved May 4, 2015.
  11. ^ a b Paulsen (May 8, 2015). "NASCAR From Talladega Earns Lowest Rating Since 1997". SportsMediaWatch.com. Sports Media Watch. Retrieved May 8, 2015.
  12. ^ "Track Facts". talladegasuperspeedway.com. Talladega Superspeedway. November 1, 2012. Archived from the original on November 1, 2012. Retrieved April 27, 2015.
  13. ^ Utter, Jim (November 27, 2013). "Talladega Superspeedway to reduce seating to 80,000". The Charlotte Observer. Archived from the original on December 3, 2013. Retrieved April 27, 2015.
  14. ^ a b c d e f g h i Pistone, Pete (March 30, 2015). "Qualifying Format Updated for Talladega, Daytona". MRN.com. Motor Racing Network. Retrieved April 27, 2015.
  15. ^ a b c Long, Dustin (April 27, 2015). "NASCAR executive says Talladega qualifying likely will feature two cars on track at same time". nascartalk.nbcsports.com. NBC Sports. Retrieved April 27, 2015.
  16. ^ Gluck, Jeff (April 28, 2015). "David Ragan to drive No. 55 car for Michael Waltrip Racing". USA Today. Charlotte, North Carolina: Gannett Satellite Information Network, Inc. Retrieved April 28, 2015.
  17. ^ Bonkowski, Jerry (May 1, 2015). "Ricky Stenhouse Jr., Michael Waltrip pace first Sprint Cup practice at Talladega". nascartalk.nbcsports.com. NBC Sports. Retrieved May 1, 2015.
  18. ^ Ryan, Nate (May 1, 2015). "Greg Biffle leads final Sprint Cup practice at Talladega". nascartalk.nbcsports.com. NBC Sports. Retrieved May 1, 2015.
  19. ^ a b c d e f Wackerlin, Jeff (May 2, 2015). "Gordon Wins 80th Career Pole". MRN.com. Lincoln, Alabama: Motor Racing Network. Retrieved May 2, 2015.
  20. ^ Bonkowski, Jerry (May 3, 2015). "Brian Scott, Michael Waltrip involved in first wreck of day at 'Dega". nascartalk.nbcsports.com. NBC Sports. Retrieved May 3, 2015.
  21. ^ a b c d e f "2015 GEICO 500". Sprint Cup Series. Season 67. Lincoln, Alabama. May 3, 2015. Event occurs at 1:21 p.m. Fox Sports. Fox. Retrieved July 18, 2015.
  22. ^ a b Bonkowski, Jerry (May 3, 2015). "First 'Big One' of Sunday's race at Talladega involves at least 15 cars". nascartalk.nbcsports.com. NBC Sports. Retrieved May 3, 2015.
  23. ^ a b c Wackerlin, Jeff (May 3, 2015). "Bayne Spin Starts Big Crash". MRN.com. Lincoln, Alabama: Motor Racing Network. Retrieved May 3, 2015.
  24. ^ Bonkowski, Jerry (May 3, 2015). "Jeff Gordon leads Jimmie Johnson at halfway point of Geico 500 at Talladega". nascartalk.nbcsports.com. NBC Sports. Retrieved May 3, 2015.
  25. ^ a b Wackerlin, Jeff (May 3, 2015). "Talladega Six Pack for Dale Jr". MRN.com. Lincoln, Alabama: Motor Racing Network. Retrieved May 3, 2015.
  26. ^ Long, Dustin (May 4, 2015). "NASCAR executive explains why no caution for Carl Edwards' spin and more". nascartalk.nbcsports.com. NBC Sports. Retrieved May 4, 2015.
  27. ^ a b c Hembree, Mike (May 3, 2015). "Carl Edwards, Matt Kenseth upset with lack of caution flag". USA Today. Lincoln, Alabama: Gannett Satellite Information Network, Inc. Retrieved May 3, 2015.


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