Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series’ drivers are all set to run at Talladega this weekend. The spring’s GEICO 500 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race will be live televised on DSport at 11:00pm on Sunday.
Talladega Superspeedway has witnessed Earnhardts major career wins. Both Dale Earnhardt and Earnhardt Jr. have won total 16 Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series races at the high-banked 2.66-mile Alabama track.
Nobody won more races at Talladega than the late Dale Earnhardt, who won 10 of them. Dale’s 10 wins are the most among all drivers, whereas Dale Jr.’s six wins have him tied for second and are the most among active drivers. Since the beginning of the 2015 season, Earnhardt owns the highest driver rating (100.9) at the often unpredictable Talladega and has finished in the top 10 on 16 occasions. Earnhardt Jr.’s fans are eagerly waiting for his one last win at Talladega in his final season.
Here’s a look back at Earnhardts’ successes at the biggest track on the NASCAR circuit.
July 31, 1983: Dale Earnhardt posts his firsts Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series win at Talladega in Talladega 500. He marked his last victory driving for Bud Moore behind the wheel of the No. 15 Wrangler Ford. Earnhardt had the momentum, led 41 laps and traded the lead with Darrell Waltrip and Tim Richmond over the closing 30 laps of the race. He darted to the inside coming to Turn 3 with Bobby Allison to make a last-lap pass of Waltrip to score the win.
July 29, 1984: This was the first win for Earnhardt with the Childress team and tenth career win. Earnhardt also became the first driver to win the Talladega 500 in back to back seasons. Earnhardt got his first of 67 wins with NASCAR Hall of Fame car owner Richard Childress. Earnhardt led 40 laps on the day and again needed a last-lap pass — this time on Terry Labonte — to take the checkered flag. This time, he went to the high side in Turn 3 to grab the lead on the final circuit.
May 6, 1990: Dale Earnhardt grabbed his first Talladega win since 1984, holding off a wildcard bid by Greg Sacks. He led 107 laps, including the final 22 of the race, for his third Talladega victory.
July 29, 1990: Dale Earnhardt with Richard Childress Racing was crowned the Winston Cup champion for the fourth time, edging out Martin by 26 points. Earnhardt led more than two-thirds of the 188 laps — 134 to be exact — to top Bill Elliott and Sterling Marlin for the season sweep at the 2.66-mile track.
July 28, 1991: Just as he did in the summer a year earlier, Earnhardt led triple-digit laps — 101 this time — in topping Bill Elliott at Talladega. Earnhardt of Richard Childress Racing was crowned champion at the end of the season. It was his fifth championship. The Intimidator led 47 of the final 57 laps for his fourth summer win at the Alabama track.
July 25, 1993: Earnhardt’s sixth Talladega win was much like his first two, where he led some laps but had to stalk down the lead late in the race. This time, Kyle Petty was his prey as the driver of the No. 3 GM Goodwrench Chevrolet took the lead for good with four to go but had to hold off Ernie Irvan in a nail-biting finish.
May 1, 1994: Earnhardt hunted down Jimmy Spencer late in the race, taking the lead for good with five laps to go. For the second straight Talladega race, Ernie Irvan was second. Earnhardt’s seventh and final championship would come later that season.
April 25, 1999: Earnhardt’s first win since his long-awaited Daytona 500 victory in 1998 came on this date. In a battle of the Dales, Earnhardt held off Dale Jarrett for the victory. Earnhardt took the lead from Jarrett for good with 14 laps to go.
October 17, 1999: Again, Earnhardt got the better of Dale Jarrett for the victory at Talladega, with one Hall of Famer edging the other by 0.114 seconds. Earnhardt got past Jarrett with four to go for the victory. The 18 laps led by Earnhardt were the fewest for one of his Talladega victories — and the laps out front came in the race’s second half.
October 15, 2000: Dale Earnhardt won the race, his second victory of the season and 76th and final one in his career, beating Kenny Wallace by .119 seconds in front of about 170,000 fans. The last five laps saw Earnhardt come from 18th place to first to win a feat NASCAR fans continue to regard as a memorable moment. Earnhardt stunningly drove from 18th to first in the final five laps of the race.
October 21, 2001: Driving for his dad’s company, Dale Earnhardt Inc., Dale Jr. on the last lap, saw a huge 16-car crash on the backstretch in his rear-view mirror and then held off Tony Stewart and Jeff Burton to win NASCAR’s EA Sports 500 at the Talladega Superspeedway. Junior led 67 laps and had to hold off Tony Stewart and Jeff Burton for the victory.
April 21, 2002: In a dominating performance that was reminiscent of his dad’s win in the summer of 1990, Junior led 133 laps to get the better of Michael Waltrip for the race win.
October 6, 2002: Dale Earnhardt, Jr. won his third consecutive Talladega race after leading the last 39 laps, making him the first driver to win both Talladega races since his father accomplished the feat in 1999.
April 6, 2003: Earnhardt, Jr. won the race, his first win of the season and fourth consecutive at Talladega, while Kevin Harvick finished second. This was also the fifth consecutive restrictor plate race win for Dale Earnhardt. Inc. stretching back to the previous year’s spring Talladega race. In a race that saw 43 lead changes, including eight over the final 13 laps, Dale Jr., Matt Kenseth and a host of others battled in the closing laps of this high-speed chess match. With four laps to go, Junior used a big run on the inside to take the point position from that year’s eventual champion. Kenseth took the lead back with three to go, but then Junior came back to the lead with two to go and then put on a clinic in holding the lead for his fourth win in a row at ‘Dega. More remarkable: An engine change after qualifying forced Junior to start from the rear and he still won.
October 3, 2004: Dale Jr. led 78 laps in this one and had to hold off a host of stars such as Kevin Harvick, Dale Jarrett and Tony Stewart to capture this one. Harvick held the lead with four to go, but Junior made a big run from fourth to the lead with three remaining — using some drafting help from Ricky Rudd.
May 3, 2015: Dale Earnhardt Jr. won his sixth Sprint Cup race at Talladega Superspeedway. Earnhardt Jr. led a single-file parade around the 2.66-mile after the final green-flag pit stop, with Hendrick Motorsports teammate Jimmie Johnson behind him. Earnhardt Jr., 40, gets his first win here since 2004. Earnhardt Jr. ties Hendrick Motorsports teammate Jeff Gordon with his sixth win, and now trails only his late father, who had 10.