A Look Back In Talladega History: Bill Venturini Shares Memories of Talladega
Bill Venturini’s memories of Talladega Superspeedway revolve around one theme…speed. And when it comes to speed in the ARCA RE/MAX Series nobody did it better than him.
Venturini holds the ARCA RE/MAX Series qualifying record at Talladega Superspeedway with a blistering 205.432 mph lap, set in 1987.
“My best memories of Talladega are from qualifying,” said Venturini. “You probably don’t know this, but I actually wrecked the car we set the qualifying record in during Happy Hour. We didn’t have a backup. So Phil Barkdoll & Helen Rae Smith had a show car in Talladega that was being used for appearances. They gave me that car to start the race. The morning of the race, we were still putting in my seat and getting the car ready. So the all-time record holder ends up starting the race last, in 41st place. We actually ran pretty good and got up to sixth when the motor broke.
“My favorite off-track memories are going over to the Alabama Institute for Deaf and Blind. We used to go over there and have dinner with the kids. Talladega has always been a fun place for me.”
However, while most of Venturini’s memories are of taming the 2.66 mile tri-oval’s high banks, his earliest memory of Talladega is a bit more mysterious.
“My first time here, the first thing I thought about when we drove through the tunnel was an Indian burial ground. Because supposedly, the track was built on an old Indian burial ground.”
This weekend, Venturini hopes to add a couple more special memories to his Talladega scrapbook. His team, Venturini Motorsports, is hoping to find its way to Gatorade Victory Lane with driver Mark Thompson behind the wheel. And while Bill won’t be behind the wheel, he will be in a unique position, giving the driver’s command as Grand Marshal.
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.
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