The 1000bulbs.com 500 is set for 1 p.m. today at Talladega Superspeedway. WVTM-13 will carry NBC's television broadcast. Check back often for race commentary and updates from The Anniston Star's Joe Medley.
12:45 p.m.: Greetings from Talladega. I'm hearing strange, foreign accents talking about beer. Tip your favorite beverage every time somebody says "unpredictable." Boogity boogity boogity!
1 p.m.: On a serious note, they called for a moment of silence for James Hylton and Davey Allison. Also, the flyover by four Navy/Marines F-18 Hornets was worth the price of admission.
Who's your race favorite? Give me Brad Kesolowski. He's one of the best here, and the "Blue Deuce" is my favorite car. I'm a sports-uniform purist, and I love the clean look of that car. It's, like, the Penn State car.
Command given: "Gentlemen, start your engines, and get lit!"
1:15 p.m.: On a personal note, I believe this is my 40th Talladega race since I started at The Star. I've missed a few because of football-season travel but seen most of them. My favorite will always be the 2000 fall race I watched from the then-new Allison Grandstand, which no longer exists. That was the day Dale Earnhardt charged from 18th place to win in the final laps.
1:30 p.m.: 10 laps in and first caution as Jeffrey Earnhardt spins. Looks like he has four flats. Went to pit road and got four new tires, with four new pink wheels. No contact with any other cars. Other cars make stops for fuel. Stewart-Haas cars strong early, with Kurt Busch at the point.
1:45 p.m.: About midway through stage 1, and we see three packs. Top 10 are 41, 14, 4, 10, 22, 2, 12, 18, 9, 11.
2 p.m.: i enjoy hearing Dale Jr. on the broadcast. They were talking about handling problems, and Dale told the rest of the crew to be quiet and listen to the throttle of the car on screen. Nice illustration. He's showing chops like Tony Romo on NFL broadcasts. ... On Lap 41, Keso comes for unscheduled pit stop, takes four tires and fuel. He'll go a lap down. Had loose left-rear wheel. ... Lap 46, and top 10 are 41, 14, 4, 10, 22, 12, 9, 11, 17.
2:05 p.m.: End stage 1: Four Stewart-Haas cars well out in front. Top 10, broken down in packs: 41, 14, 4, 10 ... 22, 12, 9 ... 11 ... 88, 13 leading mass pack. ... Elliott ran out of fuel before getting to pit road, which is why he came in a lap early. He'll have to go to the rear. Chastain will have to go to the back for pitting early, too.
2:15 p.m.: Johnson spins on tri-oval, misses other cars, but left front makes contact with the inside wall. Got loose trying to turn on tri-oval and corrected, which took him down, off the track. Caution lap 63. ... Lap 64, Johnson back out on the track after taping on front-left.
2:30 p.m.: Coming out of stage break and a caution, the Stewart-Haas drivers getting reorganized up front ... 4, 14, 10, 41 the top four, followed by 11, 22, 12, 19, 88, 20.
2:45 p.m.: Kesolowski briefly back in the top 10 after going a lap down because of a loose wheel. ... Top 10 a Lap 91 are 4, 14, 10, 41, 11, 22, 12, 88, 17, 19. Top eight in a lead pack.
3 p.m.: Just had another one-car caution as Larson blows out a rear tire, causing him to spin. Now 104 laps in, we've not seen an incident where one car makes contact with another. Narrative not changing. Stewart-Haas cars are top four. What track is this, and where has Talladega gone?
3:05 p.m.: End stage 2, top 10 are 4, 14, 41, 10, 11, 12, 18, 3, 22, 2. MRN poll question: Will winner come from Stewart-Haas or field?
3:15 p.m.: More bad day for Jimmie Johnson ... too many crew members over the wall. Oh well, file everything behind Stewart-Haas cars as FYI. Jamie McMurray penalized for forcing Paul Menard below the double-yellow line. Passthrough for J-Mac.
3:25 p.m.: Stewart-Haas drivers got separated after stage 2 pits. They're trying to get back together, and the field trying to block them. 41 and 4 back into top 5, 10 and 14 in top 10, trying to work their way back to the front. Kesolowski leads in lap 132.
3:30 p.m.: McMurray spins coming out of turn 4, down on the infield. Left-rear tire went flat. Again, no-contact caution.
3:40 p.m.: Lap 141 restart, and Stewart-Haas cars got back organized. Top 10 are 41, 4, 10, 14, 2, 12, 21, 22, 95, 19.
3:55 p.m.: Caution on lap 159 as a stray tire crosses pit road and into the infield. Another no-contact caution. Let's see who comes to pit road, and let's see how Stewart-Haas drivers restart. Free pass to 48. What, they don't call it "lucky dog" any more?
4 p.m.: Top 14 drivers did not pit during caution. Your top 10 are 41, 4, 10, 14, 21, 9, 2, 12, 22, 19.
4:05 p.m.: Boyer passes on chance to take lead to tuck behind Stewart-Haas Kurt Busch on the restart. All four drivers in line, up front: 41, 14, 4, 10.
4:10 p.m.: Stewart-Haas racing today = Alabama with Tua.
4:15 p.m.: No change ... 41, 14, 4, 10 up front. Others trying to organize and make a move, but SHR cars lead by 5-6 car lengths at lap 181.
4:20 p.m.: SHR cars going bye-bye ... 20 car lengths. Just hopin for no wreck behind them.
4:21 p.m.: Wreck in turn 3 ... Bowman, Yeley, others. We'll go to OT. Bowman came down and got loose, spun. Question now is fuel. SHR cars last on pit road at lap 138, burning fuel now on caution laps.
4:25 p.m.: Word is, SHR cars have enough fuel for one green-white-checker. This just in: even SHR cars need gas.
4:31 p.m.: Harvick to pit road. SHR partners go on without him.
4:33 p.m. SHR driver Aric Almirola wins, took lead right after Kurt Busch ran out of gas. Busch ran out of gas coming out of turn 4. NASCAR opted not to throw caution when DiBenedetto lost it.
4:35 p.m.: Final top 10 for the 1000bulbs.com 500 at Talladega are 10, 14, 17, 11, 22, 47, 48, 20, 21, 95. The two other SHR cars, 4 and 41, ran out of gas, 41 coming out of the final turn. 4 dropped to pit road after the restart.
4:45 p.m.: Thanks for joining me for the race today. Time to write some words for AnnistonStar.com.