A Look Back In TSS History - Speed Rules
Simply put, Talladega Superspeedway is now, and always has been the king of speed. From qualifying speeds by some of NASCAR’s greatest legends, to world record attempts, Talladega’s history is full of daring drivers and fast cars.
Take Mark Donohue for example, a man known for holding many records throughout his career. His final record breaking ride occurred on Aug. 9, 1975 at Talladega Superspeedway behind the wheel of Roger Penske’s Can-Am style 12-cylinder Porsche 917/30. He powered his way to a blistering speed of 221.120 mph, a new closed course world record.
In 2005, nearly 30-years after his father’s record breaking lap, David Donohue went back to Talladega to set some records of his own. Accompanied by NBC’s host of “The Tonight Show” Jay Leno, the duo set numerous Grand American records including a flying closed course speed record at 196.301 mph and a standing-start speed record at 156.603 mph in a Porsche Carrera GT production car.
Before the elder Donohue could shatter the closed course speed record in 1975 however, someone had to set one. On Aug. 3, 1974, in his first appearance at Talladega Superspeedway, A.J. Foyt blazed around the 2.66-mile tri-oval with a lap of 217.854 mph in his Gilmer Coyote Ford.
Several NASCAR drivers have set speed marks at Talladega as well.
Buddy Baker, son of NASCAR legend Buck Baker, was the first driver to officially break the 200 mph barrier in a stock car at Talladega on March 24, 1970. He narrowly slid by the mark with a speed of 200.096 mph in his Dodge Charger Daytona.
Benny Parsons went one better, becoming the first Sprint Cup Series driver to break the 200 mph mark in a qualifying attempt with a speed of 200.176 mph on April 29, 1982. While Parsons was the first, Bill Elliott is likely to be the last NASCAR driver to set a qualifying record. Elliott’s qualifying speed of 212.809 mph on May 1, 1987, at Talladega still stands today and is likely to never be broken because of NASCAR’s use of restrictor plates.
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.