Best All Time NASCAR Venue
Talladega SuperSpeedway. Even the name evokes memories of hot and loud afternoons at the track. Located in Talladega, Alabama, the track holds a lot of history. This is part of what makes it the best all time NASCAR venue.
SAerial view of Talladega Superspeedway in 2007. Thanks to wikipedia.org for the picture.
Talladega SuperSpeedway started out as an empty couple of airport runways in 1969. It was called Alabama International Motor Speedway for much of its early history. It got off to a rocky start with some drivers, led by Richard Petty, leaving the track saying it was unsafe. The race went on anyway.
In later years, Dale Earnhardt enjoyed racing at Talladega, in fact he posted an all time record of 10 Winston Cup wins at the track. People still talk about a race finish in 1981 when Ron Bouchard passed in the last 500 yards to beat Darrell Waltrip by one foot and Terry Labonte by two feet. What an exciting 1-2-3 finish that was. This is the kind of exciting history that makes Talladega the top NASCAR venue in the history of the sport.
The grandstands at Talladega hold over 143,000 fans and the infield can give thousands more a place to watch the race. Talladega’s oval track is 2.66 miles long and very highly banked. The track’s design can lead to overly fast speeds so NASCAR requires restrictor plates to slow the cars. The crowded track can lead to multiple-car crashes called “the big one.”
2008 Aaron's 499 at Talladega Superspeedway. Thanks to ÇP at flickr.com for the picture.
Have you heard of the Talladega Jinx? After a lot of crashes and other incidents, the track was said to be cursed by Native Americans who were displaced by the track. One driver even left a race because he said he heard voices that told him to park his car and get out. Nine drivers have not won again after winning their first race at the Talladega Track.
The barriers at Talladega are made of SAFER (steel and foam energy reduction). These barriers reduce the risk to the driver in an impact. This was one of the safety improvements in the sport that took place after Dale Earnhardt’s death at the Daytona 500. When the track is not holding racing events, it serves as a venue for driving schools and a location for movie shoots. The garage at Talladega has 68 bays.
So the 3,000 acres that Talladega covers are part of the culture and integral to the economy of the area. Racing has been a part of the history of the country. The best all time NASCAR venue is the oval that is the centerpiece of Talladega SuperSpeedway outside of Birmingham, Alabama.
Before the start of a race in 2006. Thanks to Jimmy_Joe at flickr.com for the picture.
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