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Aerial view of Talladega Superspeedway in 2007. The runways of the defunct Anniston Air Force Base are visible as well.
|Location||Talladega County, Alabama,
at 3366 Speedway Boulevard, Lincoln, Alabama 35096, United States
|Owner||International Speedway Corporation|
|Operator||International Speedway Corporation|
|Broke ground||May 23, 1968|
|Opened||September 13, 1969|
|Construction cost||US$4 million|
|Architect||Bill Ward and William France Sr.|
|Former names||Alabama International Motor Speedway(1969–1989)|
|Major events||NASCAR Sprint Cup Series
Aaron's 499, Good Sam Roadside Assistance 500
NASCAR Nationwide Series
NASCAR Camping World Truck Series
ARCA RE/MAX Series
Food World 250
|Length||2.66 mi (4.28 km)|
|Banking||Turns 1&2: 33°
Turn 3: 32.4°
Turn 4: 32.5°
Back straight: 3°
|Lap record||0:44.998 (Bill Elliott, Melling Racing, 1987, NASCAR Sprint Cup Series)|
Talladega Superspeedway (Formerly Alabama International Motor Speedway) is a motorsports complex located north of Talladega, Alabama, United States. It is located on the former Anniston Air Force Base just outside the small city of Lincoln. It was constructed by International Speedway Corporation, a business controlled by the France Family, in the 1960s. Talladega is most known for its steep banking and the unique location of the start/finish line - which is closer to turn one than at Daytona. The track currently hosts the NASCAR series such as the Sprint Cup Series, Nationwide Series, and the Camping World Truck Series. Talladega Superspeedway is the longest NASCAR oval with a length of 2.66 miles (4.28 km), and the track also has a seating capacity of 175,000 spectators.
During 1960s Bill France was wanting to build a track faster and longer than Daytona International Speedway. He would end up breaking ground on an old airfield on May 23, 1968. The track would be named Alabama International Motor Speedway (AIMS), but the name would not carry on and was later changed to Talladega Superspeedway. The track opened on September 13, 1969 costing $4 million. The first race at the new track was unlike any other; all the original drivers abandoned the track because of tire problems which caused Bill France to hire substitute drivers. The first finish was amazing with three cars side by side with the winner being Richard Brickhouse. After the first race, Talladega would host two Sprint Cup Series races a year, one of which would become part of the 10-race Chase for the Sprint Cup. Since the opening year Talladega has hosted many races and has been repaved four times. Talladega would also have many first time winners such as Larry Schild Sr, Richard Brickhouse, Brian Vickers, and Brad Keselowski.
During May 2006 Talladega Superspeedway started to re-surface the track and the apron. Construction started on May 1, 2006 and lasted until September 18, 2006. The first race on the resurfaced race track was the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series on October 7, 2006.
Speeds well in excess of 200 mph (320 km/h) are commonplace at Talladega. Talladega Superspeedway has the record for the fastest recorded time by a NASCAR stock car in a closed oval course, with the record of 216.309 mph set by Rusty Wallace on June 9, 2004. Wallace circled the 2.66-mile (4.28-km) trioval in 44.270 seconds, which surpassed the previous record held by Bill Elliott (212.809 mph) set in 1987, but doesn't replace the record due to the fact it was a radio test and not a NASCAR sanctioned event. Buddy Baker was the first driver to test at a speed over 200 mph, with a 200.447 mph lap during testing on March 24, 1970. Baker's record was set while driving the #88 Chrysler Engineering Charger Daytona, which is currently undergoing restoration in Detroit, after being found in the late 1990s in Iowa. The late Benny Parsons was the first driver to qualify at over 200 mph, doing so in 1982 with a speed of 200.176 mph.
In May 1987 Bobby Allison, after a blown engine, cut his right-rear tire from the debris while going through the tri-oval portion of the track. The car was vaulted airborne. His car damaged a portion of the frontstretch catch fence, but did not enter the spectator area. NASCAR imposed rule changes to slow the cars after the incident, with a 1988 rule requiring cars running there and at Daytona to use restrictor plates. The most often cited reason is a fear that the increasing speeds were exceeding the capabilities of the tires available at the time, as high-speed tire failure had led to some gruesome crashes at slightly lower speeds. The plates limit the amount of air and fuel entering the intake manifolds of the engine, greatly reducing the power of the cars and hence their speed. This has led to an extremely competitive style of racing at Talladega and Daytona.
The reduced power affects not only the maximum speed reached by the cars but the time it takes them to achieve their full speed as well, which can be nearly one full circuit of the track. The racing seen at Talladega today is extremely tight; often in rows of three or four cars, and sometimes even five lanes wide on the straightaways throughout most of the field, as the track is wide enough to permit such racing. Breaking away from the pack is very difficult as well.
Such close quarters, however, makes it extremely difficult for a driver to avoid an incident as it is unfolding in front of him, and the slightest mistake can lead to a multi-car accident – dubbed "the Big One" by fans and drivers. It is uncommon, but possible, to see 20 or more cars collected in the crashes.
Numerous strange occurrences at the track have led to rumors of Talladega Superspeedway being cursed. Stories of the origin of the curse vary. Some claim that a local Native American tribe held horse races in the valley where the track currently resides where a chief was killed when he was thrown from his horse. Others say that the site of the superspeedway was once an Indian burial ground. Still another version says that after the local tribe was driven out by the Creek nation for their collaborating with the forces of Andrew Jackson, a shaman put a curse on the valley.
Since the construction of the track, many strange happenings and untimely deaths have fueled the rumors of a curse. In 1973, Bobby Isaac left his car during the race on lap 90 because of voices he claimed to have heard which told him to park his car and get out. Earlier on lap 14 in the same race, young driver Larry Smith died in a seemingly minor wreck. In 1974, the morning before the Winston 500, drivers and crews alike found multiple cars sabotaged by cut brake lines and sand in the gas tank.
Talladega Superspeedway hosts many NASCAR events which include two Sprint Cup Series races, one Nationwide Series race, and one Camping World Truck Series race. The Sprint Cup Series races include the Aaron's 499, and the Good Sam Roadside Assistance 500 which are both 188 laps each or 500.08 miles (804.80 km). The Nationwide Series race has historically been a 500-kilometer race (117 laps) since its 1992 inception, but was cut to 300 miles (480 km) (113 laps) in 1998 because of a spectator's letter questioning the metric distance, but restored to 500 kilometers by its current sponsor. The Camping World Truck Series race is 250 miles (94 laps). The ARCA race, once a 500 kilometer affair, was shortened to 300 miles in 1998, and to 250 miles in 2006 when it was moved to Friday.
(As of 10/23/11)
|Most Wins||10||Dale Earnhardt|
|Most Top 5s||23||Dale Earnhardt|
|Most Top 10s||27||Dale Earnhardt|
|Most Laps Completed||9777||Dave Marcis|
|Most Laps Led||1377||Dale Earnhardt|
|Avg. Start*||3.6||Bobby Isaac|
|Avg. Finish*||5.6||Pete Hamilton|
* from minimum 5 starts.
|Season||Date||Winning Driver||Car #||Sponsor||Make||Avg Speed||Margin of Victory|
|1969||September 14||Richard Brickhouse||99||Nichels Engineering||’69 Dodge||153.778 mph (247.482 km/h)||7 sec|
|1970||April 12||Pete Hamilton||40||Petty Enterprises||’70 Plymouth||152.321 mph (245.137 km/h)||44 sec|
|1970||August 23||Pete Hamilton||40||Petty Enterprises||’70 Plymouth||158.517 mph (255.108 km/h)||10 sec|
|1971||May 16||Donnie Allison||21||Wood Brothers||’69 Mercury||147.419 mph (237.248 km/h)||6 cl|
|1971||August 22||Bobby Allison||12||Holman-Moody||’69 Mercury||145.945 mph (234.876 km/h)||2.1sec|
|1972||May 7||David Pearson||21||Wood Brothers||’71 Mercury||134.4 mph (216.296 km/h)||4.9 sec|
|1972||August 6||James Hylton||48||Hylton Engineering||’71 Mercury||148.728 mph (239.355 km/h)||1 cl|
|1973||May 6||David Pearson||21||Purolator||’71 Mercury||131.956 mph (212.363 km/h)||1 lap|
|1973||August 12||Dick Brooks||22||Eastern Airlines||’72 Plymouth||145.454 mph (234.086 km/h)||7.2 sec|
|1974||May 5||David Pearson||21||Purolator||’73 Mercury||130.22 mph (209.569 km/h)||0.17 sec|
|1974||August 11||Richard Petty||43||STP||’74 Dodge||148.637 mph (239.208 km/h)||UC|
|1975||May 4||Buddy Baker||15||Sunny King||’75 Ford||144.948 mph (233.271 km/h)||1 cl|
|1975||August 17||Buddy Baker||15||Sunny King||’75 Ford||130.892 mph (210.650 km/h)||5 feet|
|1976||May 2||Buddy Baker||15||Norris Industries||Ford||169.887 mph (273.407 km/h)||35 sec|
|1976||August 8||Dave Marcis||71||K&K Insurance||Dodge||157.547 mph (253.547 km/h)||29.5 sec|
|1977||May 1||Darrell Waltrip||88||Gatorade||Chevrolet||164.877 mph (265.344 km/h)||0.29 sec|
|1977||August 7||Donnie Allison||1||Hawaiian Tropic||Chevrolet||162.524 mph (261.557 km/h)||UC|
|1978||May 14||Cale Yarborough||11||First National City||Oldsmobile||155.699 mph (250.573 km/h)||2 cl|
|1978||August 6||Lennie Pond||54||W.I.N.||Oldsmobile||174.7 mph (281.15 km/h)||2 cl|
|1979||May 6||Bobby Allison||15||Hodgdon/Moore||Ford||154.77 mph (249.078 km/h)||1 lap + 50 sec|
|1979||August 5||Darrell Waltrip||88||Gatorade||Oldsmobile||161.229 mph (259.473 km/h)||62 sec|
|1980||May 4||Buddy Baker||28||NAPA||Oldsmobile||170.481 mph (274.363 km/h)||3 feet|
|1980||August 3||Neil Bonnett||21||Purolator||Mercury||166.894 mph (268.590 km/h)||6 cl|
|1981||May 3||Bobby Allison||28||The 5 Racers||Buick||149.376 mph (240.397 km/h)||0.1 sec|
|1981||August 2||Ron Bouchard||47||Race Hill Farm||Buick||156.737 mph (252.244 km/h)||2 feet|
|1982||May 2||Darrell Waltrip||11||Mountain Dew||Buick||156.597 mph (252.018 km/h)||3 cl|
|1982||August 1||Darrell Waltrip||11||Mountain Dew||Buick||168.157 mph (270.622 km/h)||1 cl|
|1983||May 1||Richard Petty||43||STP||Pontiac||153.936 mph (247.736 km/h)||2 cl|
|1983||July 31||Dale Earnhardt||15||Wrangler||Ford||170.611 mph (274.572 km/h)||4 cl|
|1984||May 6||Cale Yarborough||28||Hardee’s||Chevrolet||172.988 mph (278.397 km/h)||2 cl|
|1984||July 29||Dale Earnhardt||3||Wrangler||Chevrolet||155.485 mph (250.229 km/h)||1.66 sec|
|1985||May 5||Bill Elliott||9||Coors||Ford Thunderbird||186.288 mph (299.801 km/h)||1.72 sec|
|1985||July 28||Cale Yarborough||28||Hardee’s||Ford Thunderbird||148.772 mph (239.425 km/h)||0.66 sec|
|1986||May 4||Bobby Allison||22||Miller American||Buick Regal||157.698 mph (253.790 km/h)||0.19 sec|
|1986||July 27||Bobby Hillin Jr||8||Miller American||Buick Regal||151.522 mph (243.851 km/h)||3 cl|
|1987||May 3||Davey Allison||28||Texaco Havoline||Ford Thunderbird||154.228 mph (248.206 km/h)||0.78 sec|
|1987||July 26||Bill Elliott||9||Coors||Ford Thunderbird||171.293 mph (275.669 km/h)||0.15 sec|
|1988||May 1||Phil Parsons||55||Crown Petroleum / Skoal Classic||Oldsmobile Cutlass||156.547 mph (251.938 km/h)||0.21 sec|
|1988||July 31||Ken Schrader||25||Folgers||Chevrolet Monte Carlo||154.505 mph (248.652 km/h)||2 cl|
|1989||May 7||Davey Allison||28||Texaco Havoline||Ford Thunderbird||155.869 mph (250.847 km/h)||2 cl|
|1989||July 30||Terry Labonte||11||Budweiser||Ford Thunderbird||157.354 mph (253.237 km/h)||0.2 sec|
|1990||May 6||Dale Earnhardt||3||Goodwrench||Chevrolet Lumina||159.571 mph (256.805 km/h)||2 cl|
|1990||July 29||Dale Earnhardt||3||Goodwrench||Chevrolet Lumina||174.43 mph (280.718 km/h)||0.26 sec|
|1991||May 6||Harry Gant||33||Skoal Bandit||Oldsmobile Cutlass||165.62 mph (266.540 km/h)||11 sec|
|1991||July 28||Dale Earnhardt||3||Goodwrench||Chevrolet Lumina||147.383 mph (237.19 km/h)||1.5 cl|
|1992||May 3||Davey Allison||28||Texaco Havoline||Ford Thunderbird||167.609 mph (269.741 km/h)||2 cl|
|1992||July 26||Ernie Irvan||4||Kodak Film||Chevrolet Lumina||176.309 mph (283.742 km/h)||0.19 sec|
|1993||May 2||Ernie Irvan||4||Kodak Film||Chevrolet Lumina||155.412 mph (250.111 km/h)||2 cl|
|1993||July 25||Dale Earnhardt||3||Goodwrench||Chevrolet Lumina||153.858 mph (247.610 km/h)||0.005 sec|
|1994||May 1||Dale Earnhardt||3||Goodwrench||Chevrolet Lumina||157.478 mph (253.436 km/h)||0.06 sec|
|1994||July 24||Jimmy Spencer||27||McDonald’s||Ford Thunderbird||163.217 mph (262.672 km/h)||0.025 sec|
|1995||April 30||Mark Martin||6||Valvoline||Ford Thunderbird||178.902 mph (287.915 km/h)||0.18 sec|
|1995||July 23||Sterling Marlin||4||Kodak Film||Chevrolet Monte Carlo||173.188 mph (278.719 km/h)||0.05 sec|
|1996||April 28||Sterling Marlin||4||Kodak Film||Chevrolet Monte Carlo||149.999 mph (241.400 km/h)||0.22 sec|
|1996||July 28||Jeff Gordon||24||DuPont Refinishes||Chevrolet Monte Carlo||133.387 mph (214.666 km/h)||0.146 sec|
|1997||May 10||Mark Martin||6||Valvoline||Ford Thunderbird||188.354 mph (303.126 km/h)||0.146 sec|
|1997||October 12||Terry Labonte||5||Kellogg's||Chevrolet Monte Carlo||156.601 mph (252.025 km/h)||0.146 sec|
|1998||April 26||Bobby Labonte||18||Interstate Batteries||Pontiac Grand Prix||144.428 mph (232.434 km/h)||0.167 sec|
|1998||October 11||Dale Jarrett||88||Quality Care/Ford Credit||Ford Taurus||159.318 mph (256.397 km/h)||0.14 sec|
|1999||April 25||Dale Earnhardt||3||Goodwrench||Chevrolet Monte Carlo||163.395 mph (262.959 km/h)||0.137 sec|
|1999||October 17||Dale Earnhardt||3||Goodwrench||Chevrolet Monte Carlo||166.632 mph (268.168 km/h)||0.114 sec|
|2000||April 16||Jeff Gordon||24||DuPont||Chevrolet Monte Carlo||161.157 mph (259.357 km/h)||0.189 sec|
|2000||October 15||Dale Earnhardt||3||Goodwrench||Chevrolet Monte Carlo||165.681 mph (266.638 km/h)||0.119 sec|
|2001||April 22||Bobby Hamilton||55||Square D||Chevrolet Monte Carlo||184.003 mph (296.124 km/h)||0.163 sec|
|2001||October 21||Dale Earnhardt Jr||8||Budweiser||Chevrolet Monte Carlo||164.185 mph (264.230 km/h)||0.388 sec|
|2002||April 21||Dale Earnhardt Jr||8||Budweiser||Chevrolet Monte Carlo||159.022 mph (255.921 km/h)||0.060 sec|
|2002||October 6||Dale Earnhardt Jr||8||Budweiser||Chevrolet Monte Carlo||183.665 mph (295.580 km/h)||0.118 sec|
|2003||April 6||Dale Earnhardt Jr||8||Budweiser||Chevrolet Monte Carlo||144.625 mph (232.751 km/h)||0.125 sec|
|2003||September 28||Michael Waltrip||15||NAPA||Chevrolet Monte Carlo||156.045 mph (251.130 km/h)||0.095 sec|
|2004||April 25||Jeff Gordon||24||DuPont/Pepsi||Chevrolet Monte Carlo||129.396 mph (208.243 km/h)||UC|
|2004||October 3||Dale Earnhardt Jr||8||Budweiser||Chevrolet Monte Carlo||156.929 mph (252.55 km/h)||0.117 sec|
|2005||May 1||Jeff Gordon||24||DuPont||Chevrolet Monte Carlo||146.904 mph (236.419 km/h)||0.193 sec/GWC|
|2005||October 2||Dale Jarrett||88||UPS||Ford Taurus||143.818 mph (231.453 km/h)||UC/GWC|
|2006||May 1||Jimmie Johnson||48||Lowe’s||Chevrolet Monte Carlo||142.891 mph (229.961 km/h)||0.120 sec|
|2006||October 8||Brian Vickers||25||GMAC||Chevrolet Monte Carlo||157.602 mph (253.636 km/h)||UC|
|2007||April 29||Jeff Gordon||24||DuPont||Chevrolet Monte Carlo||154.167 mph (248.108 km/h)||UC/GWC|
|2007||October 7||Jeff Gordon||24||Pepsi||Chevrolet Impala SS||143.445 mph (230.852 km/h)||0.066|
|2008||April 27||Kyle Busch||18||M&M's||Toyota Camry||157.409 mph (253.325 km/h)||UC|
|2008||October 5||Tony Stewart||20||Home Depot / Subway||Toyota Camry||140.281 mph (225.760 km/h)||.052 sec / GWC|
|2009||April 26||Brad Keselowski||09||Miccosukee||Chevrolet Impala SS||147.565 mph (237.483 km/h)||.175 sec|
|2009||November 1||Jamie McMurray||26||IRWIN||Ford Fusion||149.759 mph (241.014 km/h)||UC/GWC|
|2010||April 25||Kevin Harvick||29||Shell / Penzoil||Chevrolet Impala||.011 sec / GWC|
|2010||October 31||Clint Bowyer||33||BB&T||Chevrolet Impala||UC|
|2011||April 17||Jimmie Johnson||48||Lowe's||Chevrolet Impala||.002 sec|
|2011||October 23||Clint Bowyer||33||Chevy 100 Year Anniversary||Chevrolet Impala||.018 seconds|
|2012||May 6||Brad Keselowski||2||Miller Lite||Dodge Charger||.304 seconds|
The circuit's infield also hosts the Birmingham Ultimate Disc Association Mud Bowl tournament in the winter.
A large number of drivers won the first race of their careers at Talladega. As of April 17, 2011, 10 drivers have won their first race at Talladega.
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to: Talladega Superspeedway|
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