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Talladega offers $100K prize for lead changes
Talladega Superspeedway is putting up a $100,000 reward for the driver who leads the most laps in the Good Sam Club 500 if there are at least 100 lead changes in the Oct. 23 Sprint Cup race.
The current track record stands at 88 lead changes, the most of any venue on the Sprint Cup circuit. The mark was set in the spring race at Talladega in 2010 and matched in April 2011. So what are 12 more lead changes?
“There’s a real excitement and buzz going into our race weekend,” said Grant Lynch, chairman of Talladega Superspeedway. “Our fans look forward to seeing a lot of passing and a lot of lead changes. It makes sense to put an extra incentive on giving our fans what they want.
“The new rules package — that includes a larger restrictor plate opening — should give drivers the opportunity to really mix it up and pass even more in traffic. This is going to be an exciting race on Oct. 23, and we look forward to potentially setting another NASCAR record.”
Talladega also holds NASCAR records for most lap leaders (29) and fastest average race speed (188.354 mph), both set in spring 997, and fastest qualifying speed (212.809), established by Bill Elliott in spring 1987. NASCAR went to restrictor plates the following year.
Brad Keselowski, who won the spring Talladega race in 2009, believes the prize money will encourage non-champion contenders to go all out.
“I think you’re going to see more of your mid-pack cars really run hard and some of the cars that aren't in the Chase really looking for something cool to do,” Keselowski said. “I think you’ll see them run really, really hard, where otherwise they might not have.”