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Soggy Talladega qualifying slots Hendrick Motorsports teammates in top 12

TALLADEGA, Ala. – Jimmie Johnson, Jeff Gordon, Kasey Kahne and Dale Earnhardt Jr. will line up inside the top 12 for Sunday’s NASCAR Sprint Cup event at Talladega Superspeedway after rain officially washed out Saturday’s qualifying session. The race is scheduled to begin at 1 p.m. ET on FOX.

The Hendrick Motorsports teammates scored lap times inside the top 12 during the first practice session on Friday, and that is how NASCAR determined Sunday’s starting lineup.  Johnson will start eighth, Gordon in ninth, Kahne in 10th and Earnhardt in 12th.

RESTRICTOR-PLATE WINS ALL-TIME: Hendrick Motorsports teammates Gordon, Earnhardt and Johnson rank inside the top 10 for all-time race winners at restrictor-plate tracks. Gordon ranks first with 12 victories, Earnhardt holds third with seven wins and Johnson is eighth with four.

TALLADEGA SUCCESS: Gordon and Earnhardt rank in the top three for all-time wins at Talladega. Gordon has recorded six wins, including a season sweep in 2007, ranking him second all-time. Earnhardt’s five wins, including a record four straight from 2001 to 2003, rank him third on the all-time list. Both drivers trail Dale Earnhardt Sr., who has 10 victories at the Alabama oval.

SEASON-TO-DATE: Earnhardt and Johnson headline two categories apiece inside NASCAR’s season-to-date loop data. Earnhardt is the league’s best closer right now with an average improvement of 2.9 positions in the last 10 percent of each race (26 total), and he also has a league-best 478 quality passes, which tallies the times he has passed a car inside the top 15. Johnson owns a series-best 7.2 average finish and has posted 234 fastest laps to rank first in that category.

BONUS SEASON-TO-DATE: In the first nine races this season, Kahne ranks second with 230 of the fastest laps run and an average ranking of 6.889 while running in traffic. He ranks third in green-flag speed with an average ranking of 5.5. Kahne’s 101.6 driver rating is fourth-best as are his 223 laps led. The driver of the No. 5 Chevrolet SS has scored five top-10 results in the last seven Sprint Cup races. His average start in nine starts is 8.9, and his average finish is 11.7.

TOP 10 LOOP: The Hendrick Motorsports quartet of Cup drivers ranks inside the top eight for average running position after the first nine events of the 2013 season. With a 7.1 average running position, Johnson ranks second. Kahne ranks third with 11.9, Earnhardt is seventh with 12.5, and Jeff Gordon is eighth with 12.7.

HENDRICK AT TALLADEGA: In 58 events (186 starts) at Talladega, Hendrick Motorsports has 11 wins, 47 top-five finishes and 70 top-10s. Seven of the organization’s wins have happened after its drivers started the race ninth or better. In the team’s most recent Talladega win, Earnhardt pushed Johnson to Victory Lane in April 2011. Johnson, the outside pole sitter, matched the closest margin of victory recorded—.002 seconds—since the use of electronic scoring.

HELMET OF HOPE: For the fourth weekend in a row, Johnson will be drawing for two charities that will be included on his helmet for the Helmet of Hope campaign.  The program runs through May 26 and at the completion, 13 charities will find their names on Johnson’s helmet. Beginning in 2008, Helmet of Hope awards a selected charity with a $10,000 grant and more. To date, the program has contributed more than $430,000 to 61 different charities. Click here for more information.

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