NASCAR racing has always been a family affair at Talladega Superspeedway, from the father and son combinations of the Bakers and Earnhardts to the sibling rivalries of the Allisons and Labontes. In Talladega’s 40-year history, however, there have been two families to have three generations race at the famed 2.66-mile tri-oval. They are the Marlin family, with Coo Coo, Sterling and Steadman Marlin and NASCAR’s Royal Family of Richard, Kyle and Adam Petty.
The Marlins have combined for 78 starts in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series (NSCS) and NASCAR Nationwide Series (NNS) dating back to the inaugural race at the, then called, Alabama International Motor Speedway. Among the three, they have lead 501 laps of competition and driven to an average finish of 21st.
Coo Coo started his family’s tradition by finishing 10th in the first race held at Talladega Superspeedway, the 1969 Talladega 500 (now AMP Energy 500). He would go on to finish his career with two top-5 finishes and a best start of second in the 1976 Talladega 500.
The third generation Marlin, Steadman, has only one start, a 29th place finish after starting 31st in the 2006 Aaron’s 312 NNS race.
Steadman’s father, Sterling, has had the most success of the three. His NASCAR career at Talladega Superspeedway started in the 1983 Winston 500 (now Aaron’s 499). In his 50 career starts in NSCS and 5 in NNS competition, he claimed back-to-back wins in the 1995 Diehard 500 (now AMP Energy 500) and the 1996 Winston Select 500 NSCS races. To go with his wins, Sterling also has three pole awards and has led 455 laps.
The only other family that has competed for three generations at Talladega Superspeedway is one of NASCAR’s most famous; the Pettys. The Pettys have combined to lead 338 laps of competition and have an average finish of 17th place.
Richard has 46 starts, all in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series, on the 2.66-mile superspeedway. His best start was second in the 1976 Winston 500. Despite never winning a pole, two of The King’s 200 career wins came at Talladega Superspeedway, the first in the 1974 Talladega 500 and the other in the 1983 Winston 500. He also led 273 laps at the famous track.
Richard’s son, Kyle, carried on his father’s racing tradition by starting 53 races in the NSCS and one in the NNS. He has an average finish of 18th position. His second place finish in the 1985 Winston 500 is his career best at Talladega Superspeedway. His career best starting position at the superspeedway is third, once in the 1990 Diehard 500 and again in the 1991 Winston 500. He has led 65 laps at Talladega.
Kyle’s late son, Adam, was the third generation of NASCAR’s Royal Family to race at Talladega Superspeedway. In his two NNS starts he raced 195 laps driving to an average finishing position of 18th. His best career finish was 12th place in the 2000 Touchstone Energy 300 (now Aaron’s 312) after starting 31st. His best career start was 26th spot the previous year before handling problems parked him for the day.
In 2009, Talladega Superspeedway proudly celebrates forty years of the most competitive racing in NASCAR. While the track has seen changes made to the cars that circle its high-banks, the surface that they race on and the grandstands that thousands of fans fill twice a year, one constant remains; Talladega Superspeedway is authentic NASCAR racing at its finest.
Race fans should make plans now to experience part of Talladega’s history in 2009 during the triple-header, Aaron’s Dream Weekend, April 24-26, featuring the ARCA RE/MAX Series, the NASCAR Nationwide Series and the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series. For tickets, 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.