The winner of Sunday’s GEICO 500 at Talladega Superspeedway will take home the incredible Vulcan Trophy, introduced last fall as the track’s depiction of the Roman god of fire and forge from the famous cast-iron statue that overlooks nearby Birmingham. And now, the Vulcan’s hammer & anvil that he used to make weapons and armor for all the gods as part of Ancient Roman myth, will be featured on a new trophy - the Hammer & Anvil Trophy - that will be awarded to the winner of both the General Tire 200 race Friday and Sparks Energy 300 Saturday.
While the Vulcan Trophy is given to all Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series winners at the 2.66-mile venue, the Hammer & Anvil Trophy will be presented to the victors of all other companion events at the biggest and baddest race track on the planet. Vulcan’s hammer and anvil, which were used in his forge (shop where metal is heated and hammered into useful items), are part of the Vulcan, the colossal 56-foot statue that is the world’s largest, and looms tall over Birmingham, paying homage to the city’s roots in the iron and steel industry.
The Hammer & Anvil Trophy, like the Vulcan Trophy, is a unique, one-of-a-kind, handmade work of art created out of solid iron. It stands nearly 30 inches tall and weighs more than 50 pounds, while the Vulcan Trophy is 36 inches tall and nearly 100 pounds. The Sparks Energy 300 Hammer & Anvil Trophy has its own uniqueness in the fact that a lineman is affixed to the hammer in honor of Sparks Energy, an electrical operations & restoration company based in Decatur, AL.
All three trophies are the conception of Marshall Christie, the Director of Metal Arts at Sloss Furnaces in Birmingham, and Lead Sculptor/Artist in Residence Ajene Williams. Josh Coker of Technical Metalworks, created the stainless plinths for the bases. Sloss Furnaces, with its web of furnaces, pipes and tall smokestacks, serves as an interpretive museum of industry and hosts the nationally recognized Metal Arts program. It is a National Historic Landmark, operating as a pig iron-producing blast furnace from 1882 to 1971. After closing it became one of the first industrial sites (and the only blast furnace) in the U.S. to be preserved and restored for public use.
The main attraction at Vulcan® Park and Museum, the Vulcan statue stands on a 124-foot sandstone pedestal, bringing the height of the entire structure to 180 feet, and weighs more than 100,000 pounds. The statue was produced with local iron and was Birmingham’s entry at the 1904 World’s Fair in St. Louis.
Talladega Superspeedway’s history with Vulcan dates to 1969, the year the iconic venue opened. A month after the first NASCAR race was held at the track, the ARCA Racing series came to TSS for the Vulcan 500, which was won by Jim Vandiver. A year later, Ramo Stott was victorious in the second Vulcan 500 ARCA event at TSS.
Talladega Superspeedway’s spring race weekend roars into town tomorrow with the General Tire 200 ARCA Racing Series Presented by Menards event. The weekend also includes the Sparks Energy 300 NASCAR XFINITY Series race on Saturday at 12 p.m. CDT and concludes with the GEICO 500 Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series event, set for 1 p.m. Sunday.
For more information on this weekend’s action, visit www.talladegasuperspeedway.com or call 855-518-RACE (7223). A Sunday GEICO 500 ticket gets fans into the traditional Saturday Night Concert, which will feature The Charlie Daniels Band. A host of ticket upgrades are still available, including Pit Pass Upgrades, where fans have access to some special festivities like a Q&A Session featuring MENCS drivers Kyle Larson, Joey Logano, Danica Patrick, Clint Bowyer and Chris Buescher, along with many other exciting opportunities race morning.