Sights & Sounds: Avoiding elimination at Talladega Superspeedway

Joe Gibbs Racing's Kyle Busch will have to come from the back during Sunday's race at Talladega Superspeedway after qualifying 41st. 

Tom Pennington

Editor’s note: Scroll down for updates… 

11:30 a.m. ET — Sunday marks the end of the Contender Round of the Chase for the Sprint Cup, and at the end of the day four drivers’ title hopes will have gone up in smoke. The weekend has already started out on the wild side, so there is no telling what the GEICO 500 has in store. 

Like most weekends, the drivers are out and about doing pre-race hospitality visits, sponsorship appearances and fan autograph signings. 

While the drivers are working the crowds, the teams are hard at work in the Sprint Cup garage running through their pre-race checklists. 

After winning last week’s race at Charlotte Motor Speedway, Kevin Harvick offered his Talladega ride to wife DeLana, it appears Sunday morning Kevin’s son Keelan was ready to fill in for his dad for Sunday’s race. 

11:50 a.m. ET — The drivers are now walking the red carpet in the infield headed to the weekly driver-crew chief meeting before the race.

Despite not qualifying for Sunday’s race, Ricky Stenhouse Jr. is still at Talladega Superspeedway to take care of sponsor appearances and to cheer on girlfriend Danica Patrick. 

12:10 p.m. ET With so much on the line in Sunday’s race, NASCAR president Mike Helton reminded drivers in today’s pre-race meeting to let the race play out naturally. 

1:15 p.m. ET — As the pre-race activities continue, skywriters are putting on a pretty good show and drawing a lot of attention in the skies above Talladega Superspeedway. 

1:30 p.m. ET — The competitors are now heading to the driver introduction stage to meet the fans before climbing in their cars for Sunday’s race. 

2:05 p.m. ET — All the pre-race activities are in the books! It’s time to go racing at Talladega Superspeedway! Be sure to follow all the action with’s RaceTrax.