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Sunday Talladega Cup race: Start time, weather, lineup

Steve Letarte and Dan Beaver analyze the field for the Geico 500 at Talladega on Sunday and explain why their strategies include fading the favorites.

Points leader Denny Hamlin and former champions Brad Keselowski, Kevin Harvick and Chase Elliott are among the drivers who have yet to win a Cup race this season entering Sunday’s race at Talladega Superspeedway.

All four are former winners at the track. Keselowski has five wins at Talladega, Hamlin has two and Harvick and Elliott have one each.

Should any of them win, it will continue this season of parity in Cup. Eight different drivers have won in the first nine races of the year. The last time the series raced on a superspeedway, Michael McDowell won, claiming the checkered flag in the Daytona 500.

Details for Sunday’s Talladega Cup race:

(All times are Eastern)

START: The command to start engines will be given at 2:08 p.m. … The green flag is scheduled to wave at 2:20 p.m.

PRERACE: Cup garage opens at 7 a.m. … Drivers report to their cars at 1:40 p.m. … Driver introductions are at 1:45 p.m. … Barbara Embry of Citizen’s Baptist Medical Center will give the invocation at 2 p.m. … The 313th United States Army Band will perform the national anthem at 2:01 p.m.

DISTANCE: The race is 188 laps (500 miles) on the 2.66-mile speedway.


STAGES: Stage 1 ends at Lap 60. Stage 2 ends at Lap 120.

TV/RADIO: Fox will broadcast the race. Coverage begins at 12:30 p.m. on FS1 and switches to Fox at 1:30 p.m. … Motor Racing Network’s radio coverage begins at 1 p.m. and also will stream at; SiriusXM NASCAR Radio will carry the broadcast.


FORECAST: The forecast calls for sunny skies with a high of 68 degrees and a 1% chance of rain at race start.

LAST YEAR: Denny Hamlin won last fall’s playoff race, which featured three overtime restarts that extended the event by 12 laps. Erik Jones was second. Ty Dillon placed third. Ryan Blaney won the June race, which had one overtime restart. Ricky Stenhouse Jr. was second. Aric Almirola placed third.

TO THE REAR: Denny Hamlin (unapproved adjustments), Martin Truex Jr. (unapproved adjustments), Christopher Bell (unapproved adjustments), Bubba Wallace (unapproved adjustments), Harrison Burton (unapproved adjustments), Cody Ware (multiple inspection failures) and BJ McLeod (unapproved adjustments)

STARTING LINEUP: Talladega Cup starting lineup


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