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Starting line (April 28): This week’s auto racing

NASCAR Sprint Cup

Event: Geico 500 (188 laps, 500.08 miles), Talladega Superspeedway; Talladega, Alabama.

TV: Sunday, 1 p.m.. FOX.

Then and now: After three of the last four races being on short tracks, NASCAR moves to its biggest track now. This will be the 94th NASCAR Sprint Cup race held at the largest and longest racetrack on the circuit. ... Dale Earnhardt Jr. is the defending champion of this race, driving “Amelia,” which has been his go-to car at Talladega and Daytona for the last five years. ... Earnhardt’s win last spring was his first at Talladega in over a decade (last time being fall of 2004), but was also the sixth win overall of his career there. ... Joey Logano won last year’s fall Chase for the Sprint Cup race at Talladega. ... Carl Edwards comes into Sunday’s race riding a two-race winning streak, having won at Bristol and again this past Sunday at Richmond. ... Earlier this week, NASCAR reinstated a controversial rule that had previously allowed teams to use as many or as few lug nuts as they wanted. Now, the old rule is back in place where all teams must have five lug nuts on each wheel, and all must be tight and secured. ... Winners thus far this season have been Denny Hamlin (Daytona), Jimmie Johnson (Atlanta, Fontana), Brad Keselowski (Las Vegas), Kevin Harvick (Phoenix), Kyle Busch (Martinsville, Texas) and Edwards (Bristol, Richmond). ... The Sprint Cup standings saw changes after Richmond. Carl Edwards took over the points lead while Kevin Harvick dropped to second place.


Event: Sparks Energy 300 (113 laps, 300.58 miles), Talladega Superspeedway.

TV: Saturday, 3 p.m., FOX.

Then and now: Saturday marks a milestone of sorts for the Xfinity Series, as it races for the 25th time at Talladega. The series returns to regular racing, per se, as there will not be any heat races this weekend as there have been the last two weeks at Bristol and Richmond. ... Joey Logano is the defending champion of this race, having won last spring’s Xfinity race at ‘Dega. In fact, Logano has won two of the last four at the monstrous restrictor plate track. ... Winners of the first nine Xfinity Series races this season have been Chase Elliott (Daytona), Kyle Busch (Atlanta, Las Vegas, Phoenix and Texas), Austin Dillon (Fontana), Erik Jones (Bristol) and Dale Earnhardt Jr. (Richmond). Earnhardt’s victory was a milestone: It’s the first time he’s won an Xfinity Series race in his career that was produced by JR Motorsports, which Earnhardt is a co-owner of. ... Daniel Suarez remains in the lead in the Xfinity Series point standings after Richmond with 279 points.

Camping World Truck

Next Event: Next Event: Toyota Tundra 250, May 6, Kansas Speedway.

Verizon IndyCar

Next Event: Angie’s List Grand Prix of Indianapolis, May 14, Indianapolis Motor Speedway.

Then and now: Simon Pagenaud is really feeling his oats these days. After winning two weeks ago at Long Beach, the French driver made it two wins in a row this past Sunday at Birmingham, Alabama. Pagenaud has opened up a sizeable lead in the Verizon IndyCar Series point standings. He has 188 points, while defending series champ Scott Dixon is a distant second with 140 points.

Formula One

Event: Russian Grand Prix, Sochi Autodrom,

TV: Sunday, 4 p.m., NBCSN (tape delay).

Then and now: Nico Rosberg won his third race in three starts this season at the Chinese Grand Prix in Shanghai on April 17.

NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing

Event: NHRA Springnationals, Royal Purple Raceway; Baytown, Texas.

TV: Sunday, 5 p.m.-8 p.m., Fox Sports 1. Qualifying Friday, 8-9 p.m. and Saturday, 12 a.m.-1 a.m., FS1.

Then and now: After the usual spectacular show it has in last weekend’s 4-Wide Nationals in Concord, North Carolina, the NHRA heads west to suburban Houston this weekend for the 29th SpringNationals. ... Brittany Force powered to her second win of the season (and second of her career) to win the Top Fuel class in the 4-Wide Nationals. Tim Wilkerson won his second race of the year in Funny Car, while Jason Line won his third race of 2016 in Pro Stock and defending Pro Stock Motorcycle series champ and five-time overall champ Andrew Hines won, as well. ... In the NHRA point standings, Brittany Force continues to lead Top Fuel (428 points). ... In Funny Car, Robert Hight continues to lead all drivers with 369 points. ... In Pro Stock, Jason Line remains atop the standings (583 points). ... In Pro Stock Motorcycle, Eddie Krawiec leads the standings with 232 points.

Western New York

Lancaster National: Stock Car Season Opener, Saturday, 2 p.m.; IHRA Drag Racing Test & Tune, Tuesday, 6 p.m.

Holland Speedway: Eastern Hills Mall Car Show, April 30-May 5.

Ransomville Speedway: Test, Tune & Time Trial Night, Friday, 7:15 p.m.

Genesee Speedway: Open Practice plus Enduro 100, Saturday, Noon.

Empire Dragway: IHRA Drag Racing Season Opener, Saturday, 3 p.m.

Merrittville Speedway: 65th Lucas Oil Weekly Racing Series Season Opener, Saturday, 7 p.m.

Humberstone Speedway: 67th Season Opener, Sunday, 6:30 p.m.

New Stateline Speedway: 60th Season Opener, Saturday, 7 p.m.