Talladega Superspeedway

Extreme Engineering

Inducted in 2013

Talladega Superspeedway, NASCAR’s longest, fastest, steepest and most competitive racetrack, provides the ultimate racing experience. Records for speed and competition have been established at Talladega. If stock-car racing is an extreme sport, Talladega Superspeedway is undoubtedly its most extreme venue. After more than 40 years, the engineering at the Superspeedway is still considered extraordinary and is the ruler in which all other racetracks are measured.

In 1967, William H. France partnered with William W. Moss, a University of Alabama College of Engineering graduate, and his company to design and build a big brother to France’s speedway in Daytona Beach. Talladega, Ala., emerged as the top choice among several possible sites in the Southeast, with the main criteria for selection being availability of land, access to the interstate and a population base of at least 20 million people within 300 miles. The $4-million project was opened in 1969 as Alabama International Motor Speedway and renamed Talladega Superspeedway in 1989. The first event held was the ‘BAMA 400 Grand Touring Race on Sept. 13, 1969.

The track is 2.66 miles long, four lanes wide and banked 33 degrees on each end, with 18-degree banking in the tri-oval. The backstretch is nearly 4,000 feet long and stock cars have reached speeds in excess of 220 mph in competition. The grandstands seat 112,000 and the 240-acre infield holds many thousands more.

The speed at Talladega Superspeedway is so high that it is one of only two racetracks on the NASCAR circuit that force teams to use a restrictor plate limiting the engine’s horsepower to restrict their top speeds. There is an interesting aerodynamic side effect of this restriction; it allows two cars running together to go much faster than a single car. As a result, Talladega Superspeedway races frequently have a large pack of cars running just inches away from each other.

Safety at Talladega Superspeedway is enhanced by steel and foam energy reduction barriers on all four turns, the tri-oval and the inside retaining wall of the backstretch. Because of its excellent driving conditions, the Superspeedway is used for automotive testing and photo shoots for films and television.

Talladega Superspeedway holds the NASCAR records for number of lead changes, number of different leaders and number of passes on the track during an event, as well as fastest qualifying speed and fastest average race speed.

According to an economic impact study, Talladega Superspeedway’s total economic impact is $407 million annually for the state and region. Races and other activities at the track result in $149 million of labor income for workers throughout Alabama each year, benefiting workers in all sectors of the state’s economy. The Superspeedway accounts for 11 percent of all tourism revenue in the state. During the two race weekends each year, 83 percent of a 2-cent rural sales tax in Talladega County is collected.

The track currently hosts NASCAR’s Sprint Cup Series, Nationwide Series and the Camping World Truck Series.

The Hall of Fame is overseen by engineering colleges and schools at Auburn University, Alabama A&M University, The University of Alabama, Tuskegee University, University of Alabama at Birmingham, University of Alabama in Huntsville and University of South Alabama. It is administratively managed through the UA College of Engineering.

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