What Is The Geico 500?

What Is The Geico 500

The Geico 500 is the fastest race on the NASCAR schedule and also one of the most important. Held at historic Talladega Superspeedway, the Geico 500 is a favorite of fans and drivers alike. Keep reading to learn more about this iconic American race.

  • Venue: Talladega Superspeedway
  • Location: Lincoln, Talladega, Alabama
  • First Race: 1970
  • Distance: 500.08 miles (804.8km)
  • Laps: 188
  • Most Driver Wins: Jeff Gordon and Brad Keselowski (4 wins each)
  • Most Team Wins: Hendrick Motorsports
  • Most Manufacturer Wins: Chevrolet (21)
  • Prize Pool: Around $8 million

What Is the Geico 500?

The Geico 500 is a 500-mile-long NASCAR Cup Series race held at Talladega Superspeedway in Lincoln, Alabama. The race is one of the longest races of the year and holds the distinction of being one of NASCAR’s traditional “Crown Jewel” races. Talladega is one of NASCAR’s fastest tracks, and it is the largest oval on the schedule. The Geico 500 is held each year in April or May and is the first of two Cup Series races at Talladega. (The second is the YellaWood 500 in October.)

Geico 500 History

The Geico 500 started in 1970, then called the Alabama 500, as a second yearly race at Talladega Superspeedway. NASCAR founder Bill France Sr. constructed the track in 1969 to serve as a bigger, better version of the existing Daytona International Speedway in Florida. The first race at the track, the 1969 Alabama 500, was a success, and the following season France added a second race to the schedule to capitalize on his returns from the new track.  Since then, the Geico 500 has continued to be a highlight of the NASCAR season.

The race made history in 1997 when it set a still-standing record for the fastest NASCAR race ever, with an average speed of 188.354 miles per hour. Although it has been called the Geico 500 since 2015, the race has had several other names throughout its history, including the Winston 500, the DieHard 500, and the Aaron’s 499.


Qualifying Procedure

The Geico 500 uses the standard NASCAR qualifying procedure for oval tracks. The field is split into two groups, and drivers take turns taking two laps around the track. The fastest five drivers from each group advance to a final qualifying session, in which they each take two more laps. The results from final qualifying determine the top 10 starting positions for the race, with the remaining drivers slotted into the lower starting positions based on the times they set during initial qualifying.

Geico 500 Format

The Geico 500 is a three-stage points-paying Cup Series race. The first two stages are each 60 laps (160 miles), and the final lap is 68 laps (181 miles). At the end of the first two stages, racing pauses for a scheduled caution, and driver points are awarded to the top ten finishers, with the top finisher getting 10 points and the 10th-place finisher getting one point. At the end of the race, the winner gets 40 driver points, and all other finishers get points based on a descending scale.


Teams and Drivers

Typically, 17 or more teams and around 40 drivers compete in the Geico 500. There are 17 full-time teams competing in the Cup Series, but smaller teams often attempt to qualify for the race. The biggest teams are Hendrick Motorsports, Stewart-Haas Racing, and Joe Gibbs Racing, which each own four chartered cars.

NASCAR Cup Series drivers are the most elite stock car racers in the world. It is a dream of many young drivers to one day compete at the historic Talladega Superspeedway. There is a maximum of 40 starting positions and 36 chartered drivers, so only four part-time drivers are able to qualify. Two of the most successful drivers in Geico 500 history are Jeff Gordon (retired) and Brad Keselowski, who have both won the race four times.


Why is the Geico 500 important?

The Geico 500 is important because it is one of the longest and most prestigious races of the season. It was one of NASCAR’s original “Crown Jewel” races and is still highly regarded by fans and drivers today. It holds the distinction of being the fastest race on the schedule, with average speeds of well over 180 miles per hour.

How many cars are in the Geico 500?

There are 40 cars in the Geico 500. The field consists of 36 chartered cars and up to four additional non-chartered cars that may start based on lap times set in qualifying sessions.

How long is the Geico 500?

The Geico 500 is 500 miles long and usually takes just over three hours to complete. Held at the iconic Talladega Superspeedway, the race consists of 188 laps around the 2.66-mile track. The first two stages are 60 laps long, and the final stage is 68 laps.