Since 2010, the spring NASCAR Cup Series races at Talladega Superspeedway, celebrating its 50th anniversary this year, have shown what the world’s largest and greatest track is all about – 200 mph speeds, 3 and 4-wide, 10 rows deep competition and nail-biting, close finishes by a matter of feet, sometimes even inches.
In seven of the nine races (two races ended under caution) conducted up through ’18, the average margin of victory by a driver is an incredible .129 second, with the best a NASCAR premier series record of .002 by Jimmie Johnson in 2011.
The following shows just how close the competition has been at each of the springtime races at the 2.66-mile venue during the 2010s:
2010: Driving for Richard Childress Racing, Kevin Harvick, with a last-lap pass coming out of the tri-oval, beats Jamie McMurray by just .011 second to claim his first – and only win to this point – at Talladega.
2011: Johnson comes from fifth coming out of Turn 4 on the final lap to nip Clint Bowyer by .002 second. In addition, the event holds a NASCAR record-tying 88 lead changes.
2012: Brad Keselowski holds on to outduel Kyle Busch by .304 second to capture his second Talladega Superspeedway triumph.
2013: Driving for an underfunded team, David Ragan stuns the racing world, with drafting help from his teammate, David Gilliland, and comes out of nowhere to win the spring event, passing leader Carl Edwards on the final lap.
2014: Danica Patrick becomes the first female racer to lead laps at TSS, while Denny Hamlin goes to Victory Lane, giving Joe Gibbs Racing its fourth ‘Dega win.
2015: Fan favorite Dale Earnhardt Jr. wins after being absent from Talladega’s Victory Lane for 11 years. He edges teammate Johnson by .158 second.
2016: In his first Cup start at TSS, rookie Chase Elliott, driving the No. 24 Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet that Jeff Gordon made famous at the 2.66-mile venue, claims the pole position, but it’s Keselowski scoring his fourth TSS Cup Victory.
2017: Ricky Stenhouse Jr. becomes the 11th driver in history to capture his first career triumph at Talladega, with a .095 second victory over McMurray. In two races in the 2010s, McMurray finishes runner-up twice by a mere average of 0.53 second.
2018: Joey Logano picks up his third Cup Series win a Talladega, his first to come in the spring, over Kurt Busch. The win locks him into the season-ending NASCAR Playoffs that eventually leads him to the championship.
During the nine-race stretch of spring events at Talladega, Ford claims four wins, followed by Chevy with three, Toyota with one, and Dodge with one. Gordon leads the way with three top-starting spots.