OCTOBER 23, 2016


Chevrolet Only Manufacturer with Teams Locked into Round of 8 in the Chase

DETROIT – (October 19, 2016) – Treacherous, unpredictable, chaotic – all adjectives that drivers use to describe the bumper-to-bumper, door-to-door, edge-of-the-seat, heart-pounding action at Talladega Superspeedway, the sixth race of the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Chase playoff. Increasing the stakes substantially for the 12 drivers currently in championship contention is the most unpredictable race in the Chase which is also an elimination race that will whittle the Chase field down to eight drivers with a shot at the coveted championship trophy.

Ten Chase teams head into Talladega Superspeedway this weekend sweating their position in the point standings. Only one manufacturer has two drivers already locked-in to advance to the Round of 8 – Chevrolet.

Chevy is the most successful manufacturer at Talladega Superspeedway, with 40 victories in 94 races at the 2.66-mile superspeedway.

Why has Chevrolet been so successful at a track that is so unpredictable?

“I think our teams have always focused really hard on restrictor plate racing,” said Chevrolet’s Group Manager of NASCAR Programs Pat Suhy. “It starts with the Daytona 500 being huge – it’s the Superbowl of NASCAR and a huge point of pride for our teams and I really think that mentality that they apply to the Daytona 500 they take to every other restrictor plate race that they go to. They have a lot of significance. The Chase race at Talladega makes it a key race. Kind of taking the momentum you build hopefully at Daytona and carrying it through the season to that superspeedway race at Talladega inside the Chase is something that they see as very important.”
Chevrolet SS drivers Jimmie Johnson and Kevin Harvick are assured advancement into the Chase Round of 8 via a win by Johnson at Charlotte Motor Speedway and Harvick punched his ticket at Kansas Speedway with a victory. With the unpredictability of restrictor-plate style racing seen at Talladega, the other 10 Chasers will not know if they will still be in contention for this year’s championship until the checkered flag flies after 188 laps of racing in the ‘Wild Card’ race of the Chase.

Fortunately for the three remaining Chevrolet Chase competitors, they enjoy an advantage of driving a brand that knows how to get to Victory Lane at the famed speedway. Chase Elliott and Austin Dillon, who are both below the cut line for advancement in the Chase heading into Talladega, drive for the two most successful owners to have ever entered cars at ‘Dega. Both Rick Hendrick, leader of Hendrick Motorsports and Richard Childress, patriarch of Richard Childress Racing have 12 wins at Talladega Superspeedway on their organizations’ racing resumes.

Elliott is essentially in a must win situation in order to advance to the next round in the Chase after two poor finishes at Charlotte and Kansas, but Dillon only needs a strong finish if other competitors have trouble to move on to the next bracket of races in his first career appearance in the Chase.

As the season comes to a close, Chevrolet is full steam ahead and looking to sweep the races in the Chase Round of 12 with a victory this weekend at Talladega. It all comes down to avoiding the on-track mayhem and doing whatever it takes to not be part of the carnage. Kurt Busch who just needs to finish 17th or better in his No. 41 Chevrolet SS in order to advance himself and his Stewart-Haas Racing team to the Round of 8, believes strategy at Talladega it all comes down to lady luck.

“It’s a matter of just trying to understand your surroundings early in the race,” said Busch. “If people are getting crazy, you’ve got to get out of there, or you’ve got to get up front and be in that top-three. Where the congestion point is, it’s about fourth to eighth. Everybody wants to get out of that box and go forward, but that is where the guys are blocking really hard. It’s a tough balance. If there is a ‘big one’ and you are not in it, then that helps with understanding there are going to be fewer cars that are going to be competitive up toward the front. Honestly, though, lady luck is really the dictator of how well you are going to do at Talladega.”

The sixth race of the 10-race Chase playoff from Talladega Superspeedway is scheduled to begin Sunday, October 23 at 2 p.m. Live coverage of the 188-lap/500-mile contest will be available on NBCSN, MRN, Sirius NASCAR Radio Channel 90 and NASCAR.com.