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definition - Talladega_Superspeedway

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Talladega Superspeedway

Talladega Superspeedway
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[1]
Time zone GMT-6
Coordinates 33°34′01.06″N 86°03′57.85″W / 33.5669611°N 86.0660694°W / 33.5669611; -86.0660694Coordinates: 33°34′01.06″N 86°03′57.85″W / 33.5669611°N 86.0660694°W / 33.5669611; -86.0660694
Capacity 175,000
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
Aaron's 312
NASCAR Camping World Truck Series
Coca-Cola 250
Food World 250
Surface Asphalt
Length 2.66 mi (4.28 km)
Turns 4
Banking Turns 1&2: 33°
Turn 3: 32.4°
Turn 4: 32.5°
Tri-oval: 16.5°
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.[1] 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.[2]



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.[3]

A 4-mile (6.4 km) infield road course was in operation from the track's founding until 1983.[4] Six IMSA GT Championship races were held in the 1970s, including a six hour race in 1978.[5]

  Talladega Superspeedway after the repaving of the track.

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.[6]

  The "Big One"

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.[7] 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.

  Racing at Talladega Superspeedway in 2008.

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.

  The Talladega jinx

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.[8]

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.[8]

To some, Bobby Allison's 1987 wreck described above was yet another reminder of the curse. In 1993, Bobby's son, Davey Allison, died in a helicopter crash in the infield of Talladega.[8]

The Legend of Hallowdega, a comedic short film about the Talladega jinx, was directed by Terry Gilliam and released in 2010.

  Scheduled races

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.

  NASCAR Sprint Cup Series records

(As of 10/23/11)

Most Wins 10 Dale Earnhardt
Most Top 5s 23 Dale Earnhardt
Most Top 10s 27 Dale Earnhardt
Starts 61 Dave Marcis
Poles 8 Bill Elliott
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.

  NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race winners

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


  • 2008 AMP Energy 500: Regan Smith (#01 The Principal Financial Group Chevrolet Impala SS) crossed the start/finish line first, but was penalized for passing Tony Stewart below the yellow line to prevent contact with Stewart; thus was sent to the tail end of the lead lap.[9] Margin of victory is related to official second-place finisher Paul Menard.
  • 2009 Aaron's 499: The caution waved and race scoring stopped after the top three drivers had crossed the finish line. An official margin of victory was scored before the caution was given.
  • Starting in 1993, timing has been scored by electronic sensors.

  Current races

The circuit's infield also hosts the Birmingham Ultimate Disc Association Mud Bowl tournament in the winter.


  • March 24, 1970: Buddy Baker, driving the Chrysler Engineering #88 Dodge Charger Daytona, officially becomes the first driver in NASCAR history to break the 200 mph barrier by turning a lap of 200.447 mph (322.588 km/h). This was also a World Record at the time for any vehicle on a closed course. It was achieved using official NASCAR Scoring and Timing equipment.
  • August 20, 1971: Paula Murphy, "Miss STP" made a record closed course run for a female at 171.499 mph (276.001 km/h).
  • August, 1974: A.J. Foyt tests an Indy car at a speed of 217.854 mph (350.602 km/h).
  • August 9, 1975: Mark Donohue sets a closed-course world record in a Porsche 917-30 at 221.160 mph. It would stand as a world record for four years, and as a United States record until 1986.
  • May 6, 1984: The Winston 500 set a motorsports record with 75 lead changes in a single race.
  • May 5, 1985: Bill Elliott sets a 500-mile race record, winning the Winston 500 at an average speed of 186.288 mph. Elliott won the race despite losing nearly two laps during a lengthy early pit stop to fix a broken oil line, and despite the race only having two caution flags. Elliott made up the entire distance he lost under one lengthy, green-flag period. The record stood as the fastest 500-mile race of any kind until 1990, when Al Unser, Jr. broke it by winning the CART Michigan 500 at Michigan International Speedway at an average speed of 189.727 mph (305.336 km/h). Mark Martin later broke the record for fastest 500-mile NASCAR race (see below).
  • November 26, 1985: Lyn St. James sets a record closed course run for a female, at over 200 mph (320 km/h).
  • March 24, 1986: Bobby Unser sets a closed-course speed record for four-wheel drive vehicles with an Audi 5000CS Turbo Quattro at 206.825 mph (332.853 km/h) with a top speed over 350 km/h (over 219 mph) the car was complying with NASCAR rules.
  • 1986: The Saab Long Run – set of 2 world and 21 international records with three series SAAB 9000 Turbo – 100,000 km with an average speed of 213.299 km/h and 50,000 miles with an average speed of 213.686 km/h.
  Bill Elliott's car that set the record for the fastest qualifying speed in a stock car – 212.809 mph (342.483 km/h)
  • April 30, 1987: Bill Elliott sets the all-time NASCAR qualifying record, winning the pole for the Winston 500 at a speed of 212.809 mph (342.483 km/h) (44.998 seconds). The record still stands due strictly to the use of the carburetor restrictor plate, mandated after the 1987 season.
  • October 11, 1988: Lyn St. James sets a record closed course run for a female at 212.577 mph (342.110 km/h), driving a Ford Thunderbird.
  • December 14, 1989: Patty Moise sets a record closed course run for a female at 216.607 mph (348.595 km/h), driving a Buick.
  • January 23, 1990: Patty Moise sets a record closed course run for a female at 217.498 mph (350.029 km/h), driving a Buick.
  • 1996: Saab set endurance and speed record-breaking runs in their 900 Talladega.
  • May 10, 1997: Mark Martin wins the Winston Select 500, a race which had no caution flags, at a NASCAR 500-mile record speed of 188.354 mph (303.126 km/h), nearly ten years after the introduction of restrictor plates.
  • October 15, 2000: Dale Earnhardt sets a record for the most wins at the track, 10. This was also his last win before his death at the 2001 Daytona 500.
  • June 10, 2004: Rusty Wallace tests a stock car without a restrictor plate for series sponsor Nextel to test communication capabilities, gets an overall lap time of 44.27 seconds (216.309 mph), beating Elliott's old record by more than seven-tenths of a second.[7]
  • April 25, 2010: The Aaron's 499 broke the 1984 mark of 75 lead changes with 88; it also set a new motorsports record with 29 different leaders.

  First-time winners

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.

  • * As of 2011, this is/was their only career win in the series.

  Racing schools

  See also


  Further reading

  • Bolton, Mike and Jim Nunn (October 7, 2006) "Talladega doesn't measure up." Birmingham News. – Updates previously published track dimensions with new measurements taken during 2006 repaving.
  • Fielden, Greg. NASCAR Chronicle. Lincolnwood, IL: Publications International, Ltd., 2004.

  External links



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