How to watch NASCAR at Talladega: Schedule, TV info, drivers to watch

The NASCAR playoffs on NBC continue this weekend at Talladega Superspeedway

James Gilbert/Getty Images

The most unpredictable race of the NASCAR playoffs has arrived.

Talladega Superspeedway will play host to the second race in the Round of 12 on Sunday with 11 drivers still fighting for a spot in the Round of 8. William Byron, after his win at Texas Motor Speedway last week, is the only driver locked into the next round.

At 2.66 miles, Talladega is the longest oval track on the NASCAR circuit – a title it has held since first hosting a race in 1969. The high speeds and drafting strategy makes the track a true wild card, especially when you consider the playoff implications.

Here’s everything you need to know for the 2023 YellaWood 500 at Talladega:

What is the NASCAR at Talladega entry list?

Thirty-eight drivers will race at Talladega. The 32 full-timers will all compete, plus six others.

Two of those four are veterans who race part-time – J.J. Yeley and B.J. McLeod. Xfinity Series regulars Chandler Smith, Brennan Poole and Riley Herbst will also race, plus Truck Series driver Carson Hocevar.

Here’s the full entry list for Talladega (car numbers, driver names, team names and sponsors):

  • No. 1, Ross Chastain, Trackhouse Racing, Worldwide Express
  • No. 2, Austin Cindric, Team Penske, Discount Tire
  • No. 3, Austin Dillon, Richard Childress Racing, Bass Pro Shops
  • No. 4, Kevin Harvick, Stewart-Haas Racing, Busch Light
  • No. 5, Kyle Larson, Hendrick Motorsports,
  • No. 6, Brad Keselowski, RFK Racing, Solomon Plumbing
  • No. 7, Corey LaJoie, Spire Motorsports, Gainbridge
  • No. 8, Kyle Busch, Richard Childress Racing, X World Wallet
  • No. 9, Chase Elliott, Hendrick Motorsports, Llumar
  • No. 10, Aric Almirola, Stewart-Haas Racing, Smithfield
  • No. 11, Denny Hamlin, Joe Gibbs Racing, Mavis Tires & Brakes
  • No. 12, Ryan Blaney, Team Penske, Menards
  • No. 13, Chandler Smith, Kaulig Racing, Quick Tie Products
  • No. 14, Chase Briscoe, Stewart-Haas Racing, Old Spice
  • No. 15, Brennan Poole, Rick Ware Racing, Finance Pro Plus
  • No. 16, A.J. Allmendinger, Kaulig Racing, Action Industries
  • No. 17, Chris Buescher, RFK Racing,
  • No. 19, Martin Truex Jr., Joe Gibbs Racing, Bass Pro Shops
  • No. 20, Christopher Bell, Joe Gibbs Racing, DeWalt
  • No. 21, Harrison Burton, Wood Brothers Racing, DEX Imaging
  • No. 22, Joey Logano, Team Penske, Shell / Pennzoil
  • No. 23, Bubba Wallace, 23XI Racing, Leidos
  • No. 24, William Byron, Hendrick Motorsports, Axalta
  • No. 31, Justin Haley, Kaulig Racing, Morris-Shea Bridge Co.
  • No. 34, Michael McDowell, Front Row Motorsports, Love’s Travel Stops
  • No. 36, Riley Herbst, Front Row Motorsports, Monster Energy
  • No. 38, Todd Gilliland, Front Row Motorsports, Georgia Peanuts
  • No. 41, Ryan Preece, Stewart-Haas Racing, Wonder Bread
  • No. 42, Carson Hocevar, Legacy Motor Club, Sunseeker Resort
  • No. 43, Erik Jones, Legacy Motor Club, Allegiant
  • No. 45, Tyler Reddick, 23XI Racing, McDonald’s
  • No. 47, Ricky Stenhouse Jr., JTG Daugherty Racing, Sara Lee Artesano Bakery Bread
  • No. 48, Alex Bowman, Hendrick Motorsports, Ally Financial
  • No. 51, J.J. Yeley, Rick Ware Racing, Biohaven/Jacob Co.
  • No. 54, Ty Gibbs, Joe Gibbs Racing, Monster Energy
  • No. 77, Ty Dillon, Spire Motorsports, Ferris Commercial Mowers
  • No. 78, B.J. McLeod, Live Fast Motorsports, Gunk
  • No. 99, Daniel Suarez, Trackhouse Racing, Tootsie’s Orchid Lounge

When is the NASCAR race this weekend at Talladega?

The YellaWood 500 at Talladega is set for Sunday, Oct. 1, at 2 p.m. ET.

Before the race on Sunday, there will be a two-round qualifying session. Here’s how it works:

  • First round: Each of the 38 drivers will make a single lap around the track on their own, going out in order of the qualifying metric (found here).
  • The 10 fastest drivers advance to the second round. Starting positions 11 through 38 will be set based on speeds from the first round.
  • Second round: Each of the 10 drivers will make a single lap around the track on their own, going out in reverse order of first-round speeds (fastest driver from the first round goes out last). The top 10 starting positions are determined based on the best single-lap speed from the second round.

NASCAR TV schedule this weekend at Talladega

Saturday, Sept. 30 (USA Network and streaming online)

Sunday, Oct. 1 (NBC, Peacock and streaming online)

NASCAR playoff standings entering Talladega

The Round of 12 kicked off last weekend at Texas, where Byron was the first driver to lock up his spot in the Round of 8 with his win.

That leaves 11 title contenders still fighting for seven spots in the next round. Over the next two races (Talladega and Charlotte road course), drivers can automatically advance with a win. If they don’t win, they must avoid being among the bottom four drivers in the points standings.

Here are the playoff standings entering Talladega, with four drivers below the cut line at risk of being eliminated after the race in Charlotte next week:

1. William Byron – Clinched with win at Texas

2. Denny Hamlin, +37 points above the cut line

3. Chris Buescher, +22 points above the cut line

4. Christopher Bell, +20 points above the cut line

5. Martin Truex Jr., +19 points above the cut line

6. Ross Chastain, +12 points above the cut line

7. Brad Keselowski, +8 points above the cut line

8. Kyle Larson, +2 points above the cut line

9. Bubba Wallace, -2 points below the cut line

10. Tyler Reddick, -3 points below the cut line

11. Ryan Blaney, -11 points below the cut line

12. Kyle Busch, -17 points below the cut line

You can find a full explanation of NASCAR’s playoff format right here.

NASCAR Talladega past winners, race history

Eleven of the 38 drivers competing this weekend have won at Talladega, which is more than any track besides Daytona. These two superspeedways level the playing field for lesser-funded teams, as drivers work the draft and try to avoid accidents.

Keselowski is not only the best active driver at Talladega – he’s one of the best ever. The RFK Racing driver has six wins, which is tied with Dale Earnhardt Jr. and Jeff Gordon for the second-most ever, trailing only Dale Earnhardt Sr., who won 10 times.

Other drivers have had mixed results at Talladega, but multi-time winners include Logano (2015, 2016, 2018), Busch (2008, 2023), Hamlin (2014, 2020), Blaney (2019, 2020) and Elliott (2019, 2022). Harvick (2010), Stenhouse (2017), Almirola (2018), Wallace (2021) and Chastain (2022) each have one Talladega victory.

NASCAR at Talladega favorites, drivers to watch

Good luck trying to predict a winner at Talladega.

While some drivers are clearly more skilled at this style of racing, they can easily get wiped out in a big accident through no fault of their own. There were exactly 57 lead changes in the last two Talladega races, and both were decided with a last-lap pass for the win. In fact, six of the last seven Talladega races have featured a last-lap pass to win.

But since this is where we’re supposed to dissect the best drivers, let’s get into it. Keselowski, as aforementioned, is the driver to watch at Talladega. In addition to his six wins, he’s finished in the top-10 in 14 of 29 races – the best top-10 percentage of any active driver with at least 14 starts.

Elliott, Blaney and Stenhouse are among the others to watch on Sunday. Elliott is the defending race winner and has seven top-10s in 15 starts with just three DNFs. Blaney has the best Talladega driver rating (92.8) among Sunday’s competitors, just ahead of Elliott’s 90.7. Stenhouse, meanwhile, has nine top-10s in 20 starts with four DNFs.

If you’re looking for drivers to avoid, look no further than Truex. The 2016 champion has 13 DNFs in 37 starts with an average finish of 21.4 and no wins.

What is the weather for Talladega, Alabama, this weekend?

NBC Dallas-Fort Worth is predicting a beautiful weekend for racing in Talladega, Ala. There’s a 7% chance of rain on both Saturday and Sunday, with mostly sunny skies and temperatures in the mid-80s. Keep up to date with the latest forecast right here.

Contact Us