Talladega Walk of Fame Inducting Newman and Thompson
The fans have spoken... and Ryan Newman and Speedy Thompson will be the next drivers enshrined to the Talladega-Texaco Walk of Fame on Saturday, Oct. 22.
The Talladega-Texaco Walk of Fame in downtown Talladega is both a focal point saluting NASCAR’s greatest names and a tribute to one of racing’s brightest stars – the late Davey Allison. Developed in 1994, the Talladega-Texaco Walk of Fame has inducted one active driver and up to two inactive drivers since 1995 based on the fans’ vote chosen from a ballot of nominees selected by strict guidelines.
This year’s active driver honoree, Newman, 33, is not your ordinary NASCAR driver. A graduate of Purdue University, Newman not only has immense talent behind the wheel, he also has an in-depth understanding of what a car is designed and built to do on the racetrack. It is that combination that has made him one of the most successful and respected figures in modern motorsports. After graduating from Purdue in 2001 with a degree in vehicle structure engineering, the South Bend, Ind., native followed his heart and his talent to the racetrack and NASCAR’s premiere division – the Sprint Cup Series. Known for his ability to qualify at the head of the class, Newman has scored at least one pole position in 11 consecutive seasons. His biggest career victory came in February 2008 when he won the 50th Running of the Daytona 500 while driving for Penske Racing. Now driving the No. 39 for Stewart-Haas Racing, Newman has collected 47 poles and 15 victories. When not on track, the avid outdoorsman focuses his attention on the efforts of the Ryan Newman Foundation.
Inactive driver nominee, Alfred “Speedy" Thompson was one of the most successful drivers of the late 1950's. He made 198 starts from 1950 – 1971, winning 20 races along with scoring 78 top-fives, 106 top-tens, and 20 poles.
Thompson passed away April 2, 1972.
Past active driver inductees have included Dale Earnhardt, Dale Earnhardt, Jr., Ernie Irvan, Dale Jarrett, Bill Elliott, Jeff Gordon, Tony Stewart, Bobby Hamilton, Ricky Rudd, Mark Martin, Kyle Petty, Darrell Waltrip, Kevin Harvick, Matt Kenseth, Bobby Labonte, Morgan Shepherd and Kasey Kahne. Richard Petty and Benny Parsons were the first inactive drivers to be inducted, later joined by Alan Kulwicki, Cale Yarborough, Ned Jarrett, Buddy Baker, David Pearson, Junior Johnson, Harry Gant, Lee Petty, Tim Flock, Fireball Roberts, Buck Baker, Joe Weatherly, Red Byron, Bobby Isaac, Fred Lorenzen, Fonty Flock, Herb Thomas, Terry Labonte, Rex White, Jack Smith and Jim Paschal.
The first inductees – “ Alabama Gang” drivers Bobby Allison, Donnie Allison, Red Farmer and Neil Bonnett – were inducted by decree of the board.
In the park, Davey Allison is remembered with a large marble monument, while drivers inducted into the Talladega-Texaco Walk of Fame have bronze plaques placed around the park, accessible by walkways that form the shape of Talladega Superspeedway. For additional information, visit www.talladegawalk.com.
Race fans that want to experience true southern hospitality combined with the most competitive racing in NASCAR should call the Talladega Superspeedway Ticket Office today at 1-877-Go2-DEGA. Guests that purchase their tickets in advance have the opportunity to save over those who purchase during race week. Tickets are available online at www.talladegasuperspeedway.com.
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