Stewart looking for Talladega win No. 50

Although he’s been eliminated from the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup, Tony Stewart still has at least one milestone he’d like to achieve.

With 49 career wins, the Columbus native is just one away from joining an exclusive 50-victory club. He hopes to get that today at Talladega (Alabama) Superspeedway.

“I still wish we were in the middle of the Chase, but since we aren’t, I guess the most positive thing is to go have fun these last five weeks and do everything we can to win a race, or as many as we can, before it’s over,” Stewart said in a news release. “We have everything to gain and nothing to lose.”

Today’s event likely will be the final restrictor-plate race in Stewart’s career. Stewart, who has announced his retirement from the Sprint Cup circuit following the 2016 season, has never been a big fan of the restrictor plates.

Still, Stewart has an Xfinity Series win and a Sprint Cup victory at Talladega, which is one of the restrictor-plate tracks. Both of those wins came in 2008.

In his 34 career Sprint Cup starts at Talladega, Stewart also has six second-place finishes, tying him with Buddy Baker for the most runner-up finishes at the track. Stewart has nine top-five finishes, 14 top-10s and 328 laps led and has a lap-completion rate of 97.2 percent.

At a glance

TODAY’S RACE

Hellman’s 500, 2 p.m. (NBCSN)

Starting position: (qualifying Saturday)

LAST RACE

Finished 16th in Hollywood Casino 400

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Ted Schultz is sports editor for The Republic. He can be reached at tschultz@therepublic.com or 812-379-5628.