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Talladega’s fall Sprint Cup race rescheduled for ’09

TALLADEGA – The fall race at Talladega Superspeedway will move a little deeper into both the Sprint Cup chase and the Southeastern Conference football season next year.

The event will move from early October to Nov. 1 for the 2009 Sprint Cup race as part of a three-track schedule shakeup, NASCAR and track officials said Tuesday.

The Talladega race will become the seventh event in the 10-race chase for the Sprint Cup championship.

“Since we moved the second race of our season to October back in 1997, we’ve been a big part of the championship battle,” Talladega Superspeedway President Rick Humphrey said. “We believe that moving even deeper into the chase makes Talladega even more significant to the championship.”

The schedule switch also means Atlanta will get an evening Labor Day race now run at Auto Club Speedway in Fontana, Calif. Fontana will receive Talladega Superspeedway’s fall race and Atlanta’s October race will move to Talladega.

Humphrey said the new dates for Atlanta and Talladega also give a little more time between races at the tracks that draw fans from both states.

Talladega’s second race moved from July to the fall in 1997, taking it out of the summer heat but also moving it into competition with Auburn and Alabama football.

Humphrey said there’s room for SEC football and NASCAR to coexist in the state.

“We’ve gone everywhere from late September to the third weekend of October based on how we fell into the schedule,” he said. “We’ve discovered that every weekend from Labor Day to Thanksgiving is a big weekend in the Southeastern Conference from a football standpoint, especially when you’ve got Auburn and Alabama here.

“What we have found is that the opportunity for those folks who are coming into town to watch those football games, we’re able to market to them and to provide them the opportunity to stay in our state and watch the race.”