Are you ready for SPEED? Talladega, NASCAR and SPEED! The racetrack in central Alabama known as Talladega Super Speedway, originally named Alabama International Motor Speedway, was built on the site of a World War II–era Air Force base in the heart of Alabama. Now the history of the famed track is told in the new book, Talladega Speedway, by author Kent Whitaker.

The book starts with NASCAR founder Bill France and his family as they envisioned a race track that would be faster, larger, and more exciting than any track built to date. The family sent out feelers and soon were looking at an old airbase in central Alabama as a possible site for the new track.

Construction began on May 23, 1968, and was completed on September 13, 1969. The end result is the most modern speedway ever built. Often simply referred to as “Dega,” the track is 2.66 miles long, its high-banked turns are nearly three stories tall, and race cars have reached speeds over 200 miles per hour. It is so popular that it is said to become one of the largest “temporary” cities in the state every race weekend. 

Author Kent Whitaker tells the visual story of Talladega Superspeedway, from its origins as farmland and then a military base to it becoming the most thrilling race track in motorsports. The images are from the collection of the International Motorsports Hall of Fame and Talladega Superspeedway. That's not the only place pictures and information came from.

"Many of the pictures came from race teams and former drivers, crew chiefs, fans, other museums and more," Kent Whitaker said in an interview. "It was amazing being able to work with a driver from the first few years of Talladega in the morning, then be working with one of the largest teams in NASCAR today only a few minutes later."

Racing meets History

  • The track was built on the location of a World War Two Airbase.
  • The WWII Era runways, and one hanger, are still on-site. Many of the roads around the track are from the airstrip.
  • If you look at an overhead picture of the track the runways serving as infeild parking are clearly visible.
  • The facility is said to become on of the "Largest Cities in the state of Alabama" during every race weekend.
  • Cranes held paving equipment in place when paving the high banked turns of the speedway.
  • The track is adjacent to the International Motorsports Hall of Fame.
  • Several women drivers have set records at Talladega Superspeedway.
  • Talladega Superspeedway hosts two NASCAR sanctioned Weekend a year as well as races sanctioned by the ARCA Racing Series.
  • Talladega Superspeedway was one of the first tracks to embrace the SAFER barrier system to improve driver safety.
  • There are too many famous names in racing that have driven at Talladega Superspeedway to list here.


Category: Books
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