126_Anthem Annual 2017 February Edition.p1

2017 Anthem Annual February

There is no other track on the planet that TALLADEGA provides race fans of all ages the biggest and baddest experience that is called Talladega Superspeedway. With breathtaking three- and four-wide racing at heart-pounding speeds that exceed 200 mph, Talladega Superspeedway is NASCAR’s most competitive track. Talladega will once again play a pivotal role in the 2017 Championship Chase battle with both of its traditional weekends. The winner of May’s GEICO 500 will secure a spot in the Chase, just as Brad Keselowski did a year ago by capturing his fourth triumph at the unrivaled venue. The October Hellmann’s 500 will be the second race in the Round of 12 in the Chase, and, as usual, it will be the focal point of all the races in the Chase by drivers, media and fans alike. Talladega will, yet again, play the role of the “Wild Card” in the Chase. While the racing is second to none, enhancing the fan experience has been an important endeavor for Talladega Superspeedway since the beginning. The past decade has brought upgrades throughout the facility, including installation of comfortable 21- and 22-inch foldback seating across the entire frontstretch grandstands, as well as the construction of an all-new concourse social area in the tri-oval, outfitted with a full-service bar. Five high-definition video screens (four of which are permanent) line the frontstretch, giving fans an incredible, crisp view of all the action on the track. There’s not a bad seat in the house, and there are countless VIP upgrade options available. The “fan-fun track,” also known as NASCAR’s “Party Capital,” will feature its legendary Saturday night infield concert along with its newest tradition – Friday night’s “Big One on the Boulevard” – an infield Mardi Gras-style parade and unique fan competitions, featuring NASCAR stars such as Clint Bowyer, Keselowski, Denny Hamlin, Kurt Busch, Kyle Larson, Austin Dillon, Ricky Stenhouse Jr. and Ryan Blaney. The track is for fans both young and old alike, hosting programs for college students and military members, as well as VIP opportunities for kids 12 and under. Talladega is steeped in tradition. On an unassuming stretch of land suited for soybean farming located next to a couple of abandoned airport runways, crews constructed the biggest, fastest and most competitive superspeedway in the world – Talladega Superspeedway. When Alabama International Motor Speedway (as it was called until 1989) first opened its doors in September 1969, the sheer size and speed of this brand new “superspeedway” nearly scared the drivers away. Due to the high speeds reached during practice and qualifying, several drivers left the track Saturday afternoon. Organizers were able to wrangle up some of the brave drivers who stuck around from the race the day before, though, and Superspeedway the first Talladega 500 was completed without a major incident on September 14, 1969 as Richard Brickhouse came away victorious. It was not long before the track came into its own with unprecedented speeds and unparalleled competition. The combination of the two also played a major role in the development of many drivers’ careers as they built reputations for setting records and taking victories at the largest, fastest and most competitive track on the circuit. Two of the greatest NASCAR drivers who hold important records at the mammoth 2.66-mile tri-oval are named Earnhardt. Dale Earnhardt set the record for most victories at Talladega with 10 Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series trophies over the years, while his son, Dale Earnhardt Jr., has picked up six. Four of Earnhardt Jr.’s victories were consecutive, setting the record for the longest winning streak in Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series competition at Talladega. Another dominating family that is tied to Talladega tradition is the Allisons. Brothers Donnie and Bobby were the first hometown stars of the track who formed the legendary “Alabama Gang.” Over the years, the Allison family scored nine victories at NASCAR’s biggest and baddest track – four for Bobby, two for Donnie and three for Bobby’s son, Davey. The Allisons, along with Red Farmer and Neil Bonnett – both Alabamians and winners at Talladega, as well – were together known as “The Alabama Gang.” In tribute to them, the speedway’s backstretch is known as “The Alabama Gang Superstretch.” Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series winners at Talladega receive the coveted and traditional “Freedom Trophy,” a five-sided work of art that represents each branch of the U.S. Military – Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines and Coast Guard. It is always presented by military members. The all-new Vulcan Trophy is sure to become a tradition, as well. Joey Logano was awarded the first Vulcan Trophy, made out of solid cast iron, after his victory in the Hellmann’s 500. The one-of-a-kind handmade trophy, which weighs 80 pounds and stands nearly three feet tall, depicts Birmingham’s Colossal Vulcan – the largest Cast Iron Statue in the world. The Vulcan trophy will be presented to each Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series winner at Talladega, in addition to the Freedom Trophy. For tickets and information, visit www.talladegasuperspeedway.com or call 877.Go2.DEGA (462.3342). 126 ANTHEM MOTORSPORTS ANNUAL Photo courtesy of Talladega Superspeedway


2017 Anthem Annual February
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