A Look Back In Talladega History - What's In A Name
The first proposed name for what is now known as Talladega Superspeedway was Alabama International Motorsports and Testing Facility at Talladega. While that name was shortened to Alabama International Motor Speedway and “Testing Facility” was removed from the title, tests have played a significant role in the track’s storied history.
Perhaps the most well-known test at Talladega Superspeedway was performed by Buddy Baker on March 24, 1970. While Baker had agreed to test the durability of transmission components, he had other goals in mind. The winged Dodge Charger Daytona’s of the day had been flirting with 200 mph laps at Talladega since the track opened, starting with Charlie Glotzbach’s pole winning lap of 199.466 mph for the 1969 Talladega 500. Yet, despite coming close, no driver had managed to complete a 200 mph circuit around the closed course. Baker was determined to become the first. After several test laps and stops for adjustments, Baker drove his No.88 into the record books with a lap of 200.096 mph. Before the day was done, he managed to move the bar even higher to 200.447 mph. While Baker was the first to record breathtaking speeds at Talladega during testing events, he wouldn’t be the last.
Fast forward to 2004. Rusty Wallace is at Talladega Superspeedway to perform radio quality tests for NEXTEL and Racing Radios. His goal: Monitor the clarity of radio transmissions while driving as fast as possible; sans restrictor plate. Under the watchful eye of NASCAR, Wallace ran a lap of 216.309 mph, with speeds reaching 228 mph on the straightaway. It was an experience that Wallace called “one helluva deal”.
In 2007, 51 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series teams tested NASCAR’s new Car of Tomorrow (COT) at Talladega a month prior to the track’s fall race (now the AMP Energy 500). The teams gathered critical information about the car, as prior to Talladega the COT hadn’t seen action on the circuit’s superspeedways.
The ARCA RE/MAX Series values testing at Talladega Superspeedway so much that it schedules an annual test session at Talladega prior to the ARCA RE/MAX Series 250. In 2007, 41 teams attended the open test.
Today, more than race cars can be found testing at Talladega. Auto manufacturers and even motorcycle manufacturers use the mammoth 2.66 mile track to perform high-speed tests.style="margin: 0in 0in 0pt; line-height: 150%">
Race fans can experience part of Talladega’s history this fall, during the 40th running of the AMP Energy 500 weekend, Oct. 3-5. Visit www.talladegasuperspeedway.com or call 1-877-Go2-DEGA. For our hearing impaired guests, please call TDD 1-866-ISC-TRAK (1-866-472-8725). Tickets also are available in person by visiting the Talladega Superspeedway Ticket Office from 8 a.m. - 4 p.m. CDT, Monday- Friday.
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- Dale Earnhardt Jr. First Driver Named for Talladega Superspeedway’s Pre-Race Question & Answer Session Sunday, Oct. 25
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