Every day leading into the 2019 GEICO 500 at Talladega Superspeedway, the 100th race in track history, contributing writer Mark McCarter counts down the top 100 Talladega drivers of all time. Today: 50-41.
50. Benny Parsons. Should have bet Benny to place and show — twice a runner-up, four times in third.
49. Neil Bonnett. He DNF’d 11 of his first 12 starts before winning in ’79 on his home track. When he was running at the end, he had a respectable 13.25th place average finish.
48. Kyle Petty. Victory eluded him, but in his younger days he was a factor, with four top 10s in his first five tries.
47. Al Unser, Jr. NASCAR drivers were relieved he stuck to IndyCars. Little Al had two firsts and a runner-up in seven IROC starts.
46. Ryan Newman. Ironically, a driver who built a reputation as a pole-sitter has never done so at Talladega — but he has rung up six top 5 finishes
45. Frank Kimmel. Two of 80 ARCA wins came at Talladega, where his average finish was 9.8.
44. Ken Schrader. Only 11 drivers have more Talladega laps than the racer who earned his first Cup win there in 1988 — also the first ’Dega win for owner Rick Hendrick.
43. Bobby Gerhart. A 30-year fixture in ARCA, he earned three poles and one win at Talladega — and finished eighth last year at age 59.
42. Matt Kenseth. It took him 26 times, but he finally broke the Talladega schneid in 2012.
41. Dick Brooks. His lone NASCAR Cup win was August 1973 at Talladega, and was impressive other times when his equipment — nine DNFs in 24 starts — didn’t fail him.