The NASCAR Cup Series returns to Talladega for the Geico 500 but first Mother Nature has to have her say and has brought rain and lightening to the area.

After inviting members of Homestead Air Force base to the race at Miami-Homestead Speedway last week, NASCAR is allowing up to 5,000 fans at the Cup race as they work their way toward a goal of 30,000 fans in the stands for the All Star race in Bristol next month.

While NASCAR is allowing fans to watch the race from the stands, the drivers are still not allowed to practice or make a qualifying run.  NASCAR is using car owner points and a random draw to set the starting lineup with Martin Truex Jr sitting on the pole.  Team mate Denny Hamlin will start alongside on the front row.

The starting lineup for the Geico 500:
Martin Truex Jr
Denny Hamlin
Kyle Busch
Jimmie Johnson
Kevin Harvick
Brad Keselowski
Kurt Busch
Alex Bowman
Joey Lagano
Clint Bowyer
Chase Elliott
Ryan Blaney
Mat Kenseth
Ryan Newman
Aric Almirola
Tyler Reddick
Austin Dillon
Erik Jones
William Byron
Ricky Stenhouse Jr
Chris Buescher
John Hunter Nemechek
Matt DiBenedetto
Bubba Wallace
Corey LaJoie
Michael McDowell
Brennan Poole
Cole Custer
Gray Gaulding
BJ McLeod
Ryan Preece
Quin Houff
Ty Dillon
JJ Yeley
Christopher Bell
Joey Gase
Daniel Suarez
Timmy Hill
Brendan Gaughan
Garrett Smithley

Brendan Gaughan is making his final NASCAR Cup Series start.

NASCAR has called for a competition caution at lap 25.

Stages one and two of the race are 60 laps each with stage three lasting 68 laps for a total of 188 laps around the 2.66 mile track.

After a delay of nearly two hours, the rains and lightening have returned and NASCAR has lost the track; as a result, NASCAR has postponed the start of the Geico 500 until Monday, June 22 at 3pm EDT.

 

After a 24 hour delay, NASCAR returns to the track at Talladega Speedway to race the Geico 500 on a hot Alabama afternoon with an air temperature of 83 and a het index of 100.

After the news broke last night that while the drivers were waiting out the rain, someone placed a noose in the garage stall of Richard Petty Motorsports, Bubba Wallace’s car owner.  Bubba Wallace, who is the sport’s only biracial NASCAR Cup driver and an Alabama native, drives the number 43 RPM car.

As a part of the pre-race festivities, the entire group of drivers pushed Bubba Wallace’s number 43 car down pit road and stood with him during the playing of the National Anthem.  And in this age of social distancing, the drivers each hugged Wallace.  Car owner 82 year old Richard Petty is at the track.

NASCAR allowed RPM to come in early to inspect the number 43 car to ensure that there was no tampering or damage done to the car.  Bubba will start the race in 24th place after the random draw.

The command to start the engines came from the International Space Station 250 miles above the earth.

William Byron, Garrett Smithley, and Joey Gase will have to start the race from the back of the field after failing the inspection process twice.  Gase will also have to serve a drive through penalty once the race starts.

Martin Truex Jr brings the field down for the green flag from the bottom lane and edges out Denny Hamlin for the lead.

Lap two, Martin Truex Jr is in the lead with Denny Hamlin behind him; Kyle Busch, Kurt Busch and Joey Logano round out the top five.

Lap three, Kevin Harvick takes the fifth place spot from Joey Logano.

The drivers are getting three and four wide across the track.

Lap four, Martin Truex Jr holds on to the lad with Denny Hamlin, Kevin Harvick, Jimmie Johnson, and Kyle Busch rounding out the top five.

Lap five, Denny Hamlin takes the lead with Kyle Busch in second; Kurt Busch, Joey Logano, and Jimmie Johnson round out the top five.

Lap seven, Denny Hamlin is in the lead with Joey Logano and Kyle Busch swapping second back and forth; Kurt Busch and Martin Truex Jr round out the top five.

Leader Denny Hamlin is sporting a special paint scheme for today’s race – the National Civil Rights Museum.

Lap nine, Joey Logano becomes the new leader; Denny Hamlin, Martin Truex Jr, Ricky Stenhouse Jr, and Kevin Harvick round out the top five.

Lap 10, Joey Logano is the leader with Martin Truex Jr on his bumper; Ricky Stenhouse Jr, Denny Hamlin, and Kevin Harvick round out the top five.

Lap 12, Denny Hamlin retakes the lead after getting a push from Ricky Stenhouse Jr.

Lap 14,Denny Hamlin has the lead with Joey Logano in second; Ricky Stenhouse Jr Brad Keselowski,and Kyle Busch round out the top five.

Chase Elliott is reporting some handling issues.

Lap 16, Joey Logano retakes the lead with a little help from Brad Keselowski; Denny Hamlin, Ricky Stenhouse Jr, and Ryan Blaney round out the top five.

Martin Truex Jr has fallen to 25th place reporting a loose condition and a possible tire issue.

Lap 17, Denny Hamlin is back in the lead.

Lap 18, Joey Logano takes the top spot briefly before Denny Hamlin retakes the lead.

Lap 20, Denny Hamlin is in the lead with Ricky Stenouse Jr in second: Kyle Busch, Kurt Busch, and Joey Logano round out the top five.

Lap 22, Denny Hamlin and Joey Logano battle back and forth for the lead.  Driver positions change quickly as the lanes move up and back.

Lap 23, Joey Logano has the lead with Brad Keselowski in second; Ryan Blaney, Denny Hamlin and Ricky Stenhouse Jr rounding out the top five.

At the end of lap 25, NASCAR throws the yellow flag for the competition caution.  Teams have the option to come down pit road for service and adjustments.

Once pit road opens most of the cars on the lead lap come down pit road for service.  Taking only two tires, Joey Logano wins the race off of pit road.

Joey Logano brings the field down for the green flag restart on lap 30 gets out in front of Denny Hamlin for the lead after a push from team mates Ryan Blaney and Brad Keselwoski.

Lap 32, Cole Custer takes the lead briefly from Joey Logano.

Lap 34, Joey Logano and Denny Hamlin battle for the lead with Denny Hamlin getting out in front.
Lap 36, Kyle Busch and Joey Logano battle for the lead with Logano getting out in front.

Lap 37 Kyle Busch takes the lead with William Byron in second after starting the race from the back of the field.

Joey Logano takes the lead with Ryan Blaney in second; Brad Keselowski, Jimmie Johnson, and Kyle Busch round out the top five.

Lap 40, William Byron takes the lead from Joey Logano; Denny Hamlin, Ryan Blaney, and Christopher Bell round out the top five.

Lap 42, Denny Hamlin takes the lead with Christopher Bell in second; William Byron, Joey Logano, and Ryan Blaney round out the top five.

Lap 43, Joey Logano retakes the lead with some help fomr his team mates.

Lap 44, Denny Hamlin is back out in front for the lead with Matt DeBenedetto in second; Ricky Stenhouse Jr, Joey Logano, and Ryan Blaney round out the top five.

With all 40 drivers still on the track, there are 34 cars on the lead lap.

Ricky Stenhouse Jr takes the lead briefly before Denny Hamlin retakes the top spot.

Lap 45, Denny Hamlin has the lead with Joey Logano in second.

Lap 47, Tyler Reddick takes the lead briefly before Joey Logano takes the lead.

Lap 50, Joey Logano is in the lead with Ryan Blaney in second as the skies above begin the darken.

Lap 51, Alex Bowman takes the lead with Joey Logano in second; Jimmie Johnson, Tyler Reddick and Kyle Busch round out the top five.

Lap 51, Joey Logano retakes the lead with Ryan Blaney in second.

Joey Logano is reporting a stiff headwind on the front stretch.

Lap 53, Joey Logano retakes the lead from Tyler Reddick.

Along the back stretch the drivers are topping 200 mile per hour speeds with the help of a tailwind.

Denny Hamlin has brushed the wall and is falling through the field.  He has to bring his car down pit road with a flat tire.

Lap 55, Tyler Reddick takes the lead with Alex Bowman in second: Jimmie Johnson, Kyle Busch, and Joey Logano round out the top five.

Lap 56, NASCAR has put out the caution flag for rain.

Joey Logano has been reporting a vibration in his car.

With three laps remaining in stage one, NASCAR brings the drivers down pit road and puts out the red flag.  Lightening has joined the rain at Talladega Speedway.

After a break of nearly an hour, the drivers return to the cars and prepare to go racing once again.

At 5:19pm EDT NASCAR pulls the red flag to display the yellow as the drivers get moving again.  At 2.66 miles around, there is over a mile from one end to the other.

Tyler Reddick leads the race with Alex Bowman alongside on the front row.

Stage one will end under caution, giving Tyler Reddick his first stage win.

The top 10 at the end of stage one:
Tyler Reddick
Alex Bowman
Joey Logano
Jimmie Johnson
Kyle Busch
Ryan Blaney
Brad Keselowski
Kurt Busch
Chase Elliott
William Byron

This race marks the halfway point for the regular season in the NASCAR Cup Series.

Drivers bring their cars down pit road for service.  Alex Bowman wins the race off of pit road with team mate Jimmie Johnson out second.

Alex Bowman brings the field down for the green flag start of stage two on lap 65 with team mate Jimmie Johnson starting alongside on the front row.  Bowman gets out in front for the lead with Ryan Blaney  in second.  The drivers are three wide across the track.

Alex Bowman and Ryan Blaney are side by side with a third lane of traffic coming on.

Lap 66, Ryan Blaney has the lead with Jimmie Johnson in second.

Jimmie Johnson takes the lead.

After starting the race from the back of the field, Ricky Stenhouse Jr is in the top 10.

Lap 67, Ryan Blaney takes the lead with Kyle Busch in second.

Kyle Busch takes the lead with Matt DiBenedetto in the lead.

The top 25 cars are separated by just one second.

Lap 69, Ryan Blaney takes the lead with Joey Logano in second; Brad Keselowski, Matt DiBenedetto, and Alex Bowman round out the top five.

Lap 70, Kyle Busch takes the lead with brother Kurt in second; William Byron, Cole Custer, and Ryan Blaney round out the top five.

Lap 71, Ryan Blaney retakes the lead with Kyle Busch in second.

Lap 72, Kyle Busch is the leader.

Lap 73 Ryan Blaney retakes the lead after getting a push from team mate Joey Logano.

Lap 74, Kyle Busch is back in the lead with Ryan Blaney in second.

Ta; 76, Ryan Blaney has retaken the lead with Joey Logano in second and team mate Brad Keselowski in third.

With the drivers getting four wide across the track, Ryan Blaney leads the pack with Joey Logano in second: Brad Keselowski, Matt DiBenedetto, and Aric Almirola round out the top five.

Lap 79, Ryan Blaney continues to lead the race with Penske team mates Joey Logano and Brad Keselowski behind; Matt DiBenedetto and Kyle Busch round out the top five.

Lap 82, only 13 laps to the halfway point, Ryan Blaney continues to lead the race with Joey Logano and Brad Keselowski right behind him; Matt DiBenedetto and Cole Custer round out the top five.

Lap 87, Ryan Blaney leads the way with Joey Logano and Brad Keselowski right behind; Matt DiBenedetto and Cole Custer round out the top five.

the drivers cannot complete the stage without making a pit stop.

Lap 91, Bubba Wallace is in the top 10 and getting some help from candy man Kyle Busch.

FOX Sports reports that there is more rain in the distance.

Ryan Blaney leads the race and Penske team mates Joey Logano and Brad Keselowski; Matt DiBenedetto, and Cole Custer round out the top five.  Bubba Wallace is in sixth place on the outside lane.

Lap 94, all 40 cars are still on the track with 34 cars on the lead lap.

Lap 95, halfway, Ryan Blaney leads the race; Joey Logano, Brad Keselowski, Matt DiBenedetto, and Cole Custer round out the top five.

The caution flag comes out on lap 94 when John Hunter Nemechek gets loose and spins out, making a run through the grass with a flat tire.

Taking only two tires, Ryan Blaney wins the race off of pit road with team mate Brad Keselowski out second.

Ryan Blaney brings the field down for the green flag restart on lap 100 and holds on to the lead with Brad Keselowski and Joey Logano right behind; Matt DiBenedetto and Jimmie Johnson round out the top five.  Bubba Wallace is in eighth place with Kyle Busch right on his bumper.

Lap 102, the top five are Ryan Blaney, Brad Keselowski, Joey Logano, Matt DiBenedetto, and Christopher Bell.

Lap 105, Ryan Blaney continues to lead the race; Brad Keselowski, Ricky Stenhouse Jr, Joey Logano and Kyle Busch round out the top five.

Lap 106, Ricky Stenhouse Jr gets out in front after a push from Kyle Busch but Ryan Blaney gets some help from his team mates and begins to challenge Stenhouse for the lead.

Lap 107, Ryan Blaney retakes the lead after a push from Brad Keselowski.

The drivers are three wide across the track.

Lap 109, Ricky Stenhouse gets a push from Kyle Busch and challenges Ryan Blaney for the lead.

Lap 110, Ricky Stenhouse Jr and Ryan Blaney continue to battle for the lead.  So far there has been 35 recorded lead changes at the start/finish line.

Ten to go in stage two, Ryan Blaney is the leader with Brad Keselowski and Joey Logano; Ricky Stenhouse and Christopher Bell round out the top five.

Lap 112, getting a push from Kyle Busch, Ricky Stenhouse Jr is the new leader; Ryan Blaney, Brad Keselowski, and Joey Logano round out the top five.

Lap 113, after getting loose, Ryan Blaney takes the lead from Stenhouse.

Lap 114, the top five are Ryan Blaney, Ricky Stenhouse Jr, Brad Keselowski, Kyle Busch, and Joey Logano.

Lap 114, the caution flag comes out for debris on the track – a large piece of metal.

With only two laps remaining in stage two, Ryan Blaney brings the field down for the green flag restart and edges out Ricky Stenhouse Jr for the lead but Stenhouse gets a big push from Kyle Busch to battle Blaney for the lead.

It’s a three wide battle for the lead with William Byron getting out in front for the lead briefly before Ryan Blaney takes the lead.  Ricky Stenhouse Jr wins stage two in a photo finish.

The top 10 at the end of stage two:
Ricky Stenhouse Jr
Ryan Blaney
Kyle Busch
Brad Keselowski
Christopher Bell
Joey Logano
Bubba Wallace
Cole Custer
Chris Buescher
William Byron

Taking fuel only, Alex Bowman wins the race off of pit road.

After staying out on the track, Chris Buescher brings the field down for the green flag start of stage three on lap 124 and edges out Denny Hamlin for the lead after getting a push from Kevin Harvick.

Chris Buescher leads the race; Kevin Harvick, Chase Elliott, Denny Hamlin, and Ryan Preece round out the top five.

Kevin Harvick takes the lead with Denny Hamlin in second.

Matt Kenseth gets slowed on the track with a flat tire.

With 62 laps remaining in the race, Chase Elliott takes the lead.

Chase Elliott leads the race with Kevin Harvick right behind.

Lap 128, Ryan Blaney retakes the lead after getting some help from his team mates.

Chase Elliott and Ryan Blaney battle back and forth for the lead.

Chase Elliott leads the race as positions shift frequently behind him.

Lap 131, Denny Hamlin takes the lead with Ryan Blaney in second; Joey Logano, William Byron, and Kevin Harvick round out the top five.

Lap 133, Ryan Blaney retakes the lead.

Chase Elliott brings out the caution flag when he gets loose after a push from Brad Keselowski and hits the wall, spinning out.  The drivers scatter and no one else is involved.

Drivers bring their cars down pit road for service.  Kevin Harvick wins the race off of pit road after taking only fuel.  Denny Hamlin comes out second, also taking only fuel.

Ryan Blaney brings the field down for the green flag restart on lap 138 with team mate Joey Logano alongside on the front row.  Ryan Blaney edges out for the lead.

Matt Kenseth and Austin Dillon are out of the race with mechanical issues.

The top five are Ryan Blaney, Joey Logano, Kyle Busch Brad Keselowski, and Ricky Stenhouse Jr.

The Penske cars have once again lined up with Ryan Blaney leading the way.

Chase Elliott takes his car to the garage after hitting the wall.

With a push from Ricky Stenhouse Jr, Kyle Busch is working his way forward to challenge Ryan Blaney for the lead.

The caution flag comes out with 47 laps to go when Brennan Poole and Joey Gase make contact.  Gase gets into the wall and takes his car to the garage.

Drivers come down pit road for service.  Taking fuel only, Ricky Stenhouse Jr wins the race off of pit road with Kevin Harvick out second.

Matt DiBenedetto was caught speeding on pit road.

Joey Gase takes his car to the garage.

After staying out on the track, Christopher Bell brings the field down for the green flag restart on lap 146 with Erik Jones starting alongside on the front row.  Kevin Harvick gets out in front for the lead.

Denny Hamlin challenged Kevin Harvick for the lead but Harvick held him off.

Lap 147, Denny Hamlin comes back to take the lead.

Joey Logano takes the lead.

Christopher Bell has been posted by NASCAR for violating the double yellow line policy.  He forced Erik Jones below the line and will have to serve a penalty – a pass through penalty.

Kyle Busch gets loose on the track with a flat tire.

With 39 laps remaining in the race, Joey Logano is in the lead with Denny Hamlin in second; Kevin Harvick, William Byron, and Ryan Preece round out the top five.

William Byron takes the lead with 38 laps to go; Joey Logano, Ryan Preece, Denny Hamlin, and Bubba Wallace round out the top five.

Lap 155, William Byron leads the race with Joey Logano, Kevin Harvick, Denny Hamlin, and Jimmie Johnson rounding out the top five.

Lap 157, William Byron has his number 24 car in the lead with Joey Logano in second; Denny Hamlin, Kevin Harvick, and Jimmie Johnson round out the top five.

Bubba Wallace’s team reports that he is five to six laps short of fuel to make it to the end of the race.  Wallace is currently in sixth place.

Bubba Wallace’s team is not the only one short on fuel; several other drivers are also laps short of fuel to make it to the end of the race.

Lap 160, Denny Hamlin takes the lead briefly before Bubba Wallace puts his number 43 car in the lead with Joey Logano pushing from behind in second.

Lap 161, Joey Logano passes Bubba Wallace for the lead with Kevin Harvick in second; Denny Hamlin, Ryan Preece, and Alex Bowman round out the top five.

Lap 163, Alex Bowman takes the lead with Tyler Reddick in second place.

Lap 164, Ryan Preece and Alex Bowman battle for the lead with Preece putting his damaged car out in front.  There are 30 cars on the lead lap.

Twenty to go, Alex Bowman leads the race with Tyler Reddick in second and Joey Logano in third; Denny Hamlin and Ryan Preece round out the top five.

Lap 170, Alex Bowman holds on to the lead with Tyler Reddick in second; Denny Hamlin, Bubba Wallace, and Joey Logano round out the top five.

Lap 171, Tyler Reddick takes the lead with Denny Hamlin in second; Alex Bowman, Bubba Wallace, and Jimmie Johnson round out the top five.

While several drivers are short on fuel, Ricky Stenhouse Jr has been told that he is good to go to the end.

Lap 175, Tyler Reddick leads the race with Denny Hamlin in second: Bubba Wallace, Alex Bowman, and Joey Logano round out the top five.

Ten to go, Tyler Reddick continues to lead the race with Joey Logano in second; Denny Hamlin, Ryan Preece, and Kurt Busch round out the top five.

There are 27 cars on the lead lap with four drivers out of the race.

Eight to go, Tyler Reddick holds on to the lead with Denny Hamlin in second; Joey Logano, Bubba Wallace, and Ryan Preece round out the top five.

Erik Jones brings his car down pit road for fuel.

The drivers are getting four wide across the track.

Drivers that have enough fuel to complete the race are beginning to make their move and are coming up through the field.

Six to go, Tyler Reddick holds on to the lead with Denny Hamlin on his bumper; Bubba Wallace, Ryan Blaney, and Kurt Busch round out the top five.

Four to go, Ryan Blaney is the new leader with Ricky Stenhouse Jr in second.

The caution flag comes out with just three laps to go when Jimmie Johnson gets turned around and after making contact with Kevin Harvick.

Ryan Blaney is the leader with Kevin Harvick in second; Ricky Stenhouse Jr, Chris Buescher, and Tyler Reddick round out the top five.

The race goes into overtime…

Some of the drivers come down pit road for fuel…and tires for a few; but other drivers are staying out on the track and trying to save fuel.

Clint Bowyer and Ryan Newman come down pit road with the pace car.

Ryan Blaney brings the field down for the green/white/checker finish.  Kevin Harvick gets out in front for the lead with Chris Buescher in second on his bumper.

The drivers are four wide across the track.

Kevin Harvick takes the white flag.

cars are wrecking as Kevin Harvick and Ryan Blaney battle for the lead.  In a four wide finish as drivers wreck crossing the finish line, Ryan Blaney is named the winner of the race for his first win of the 2020 racing season.

Bubba Wallace walks across the track to thank fans at the fence for their support.

The unofficial results of the Geico 500:
Ryan Blaney
Ricky Stenhouse Jr
Aric Almirola
Denny Hamlin
Erik Jones
Chris Buescher
Alex Bowman
John Hunter Nemechek
Kurt Busch
Kevin Harvick
William Byron
Ty Dillon
Jimmie Johnson
Bubba Wallace
Ryan Preece
Joey Logano
Corey LaJoie
Michael McDowell
Brad Keselowski
Tyler Reddick
Brendan Gaughan
Cole Custer
Ryan Newman
Marin Truex Jr
Clint Bowyer
Mat DiBenedetto
Quin Houff
Daniel Suarez
Christopher Bell
Gray Gaulding
BJ McLeod
Kyle Busch
Timmy Hill
Garret Smithley
Brennan Poole
JJ Yeley
Joey Gase
Chase Elliott
Austin Dillon
Matt Kenseth