By Michael Tomberlin, Alabama News Center
The owners of Talladega Superspeedway are investing at least $50 million as part of a year-long project dubbed “Transformation” that will add amenities that include a fan area in garages and a massive covered area with a bar, seating and giant video screen.
International Speedway Corporation said today it is making the investment in NASCAR’s most competitive track to “take Talladega to another level,” according to ISC Chief Operating Officer Joie Chitwood.
“We’re elevating the guest experience with unique amenities and conveniences that Talladega Superspeedway can offer and that’s going to continue the history of this facility well into the future,” Chitwood said.
Among the enhancements will be:
- Garage Fan Zone Experience, with more than 140,000 square feet of social and engagement areas, up-close access to race car bays via a garage viewing walkway in the new Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series garage. There will also be interactive attractions and enhanced amenities for fans, sponsors, teams and stakeholders in the infield. The area will also have Wi-Fi, two new concession stands, restrooms complexes, a guest services center and a fan first-aid facility.
- Open Air Club, a 35,000-square-foot covered area with lots of seating, a bar, a 41-foot video screen and views into the garage areas.
- Paddock Club will be a two-level viewing and seating area for more than 600 at the end of pit road.
- New Gatorade Victory Lane will be visible from fans in both the grandstands and the Garage Fan Zone Experience.
- Approximately 300 new RV spaces – all with power and water hookups – offering views of of the Alabama Gang Superstretch and the start-finish line.
- A new two-lane, oversized vehicle tunnel at the end of the Alabama Gang Superstretch will allow 24-hour entry/exit access for vehicular traffic, including RVs along with a tram route that will deliver fans to the entrance of the new Garage Fan Zone Experience.
The project also will include an expanded drivers meeting location, renovated media center and a Race Operations building high atop the tri-oval that will house race control, live television booths for Fox and NBC, the Motor Racing Network and public address.
The improvements are coming in 2019, the year Talladega Superspeedway marks its 50thanniversary.
“We have had nearly 50 years of incredible history in motorsports and have been a tourist destination for so many,” said Grant Lynch, chairman of Talladega Superspeedway. “The investment that we are making shows a commitment today, tomorrow and beyond. Fans, both current and future, have a lot to look forward to in the next 50 years. There’s only one Talladega.”
Construction will start following the Oct. 12-14 NASCAR Playoff doubleheader this year, featuring the 1000Bulbs.com 500 and Talladega 250.
The new RV spaces and Race Operations improvements will be ready in time for the spring 2019 race while the other infield enhancements will be ready in time for the fall 2019 race.
NASCAR and International Motorsports Hall of Famer Richard Childress raced in the first NASCAR race at Talladega in 1969 and has run many races there with his Richard Childress Racing team of drivers.
“Talladega Superspeedway is where my career began as a driver, so it holds a special place in my heart,” Childress said. “Over the years we have met so many fans that love our sport here, and with this new endeavor, Talladega and ISC are taking this place to next level. Fans have loved it for nearly 50 years, but this is going to take it to new heights.”
The improvements are expected to add to the economic impact the Talladega Superspeedway has on the state by bringing in more than 100,000 race fans to the state for two races each year.
“In 2017, Talladega had a $435 million impact on our state, including $167 million in payroll supporting nearly 8,300 jobs,” Alabama Gov. Kay Ivey said. “We simply cannot overstate the positive impact that NASCAR, (ISC), and the Talladega Superspeedway have on Alabama. Attractions like Talladega are essential to a healthy industry of tourism and it has a positive effect on Alabama’s economy.”
“We are excited to be involved in the redevelopment of the Talladega Superspeedway,” said Turner Burton, vice president at Hoar. “It is an honor to work with International Speedway Corporation on one of the most famous racetracks in the world. We are building a strong team of local partners that will make sure the project is a success and has a significant economic impact for our home state. We are looking forward to breaking ground this fall.”
Transformation comes at a fitting time in the racetrack’s history, Ivey said.
“Since ground was broken at this site 50 years ago, Alabama has proudly been the home of the biggest and baddest racetrack in NASCAR,” she said.