Talladega Superspeedway, formerly known as Alabama International Motor Speedway, is a motorsports complex located north of Talladega, Alabama. It is located on the former Anniston Air Force Base in the city of Lincoln. A tri-oval, the track was constructed in 1969 by the International Speedway Corporation, the track currently hosts the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series, NASCAR Xfinity Series, and Camping World Truck Series. Talladega is the longest NASCAR oval with a length of 2.66 miles like the Daytona International Speedway, at its peak, Talladega had a seating capacity of 175,000 spectators, although its current capacity is 80,000 spectators. During the 1960s, William Bill France, Sr. wanted to build a faster and longer than Daytona International Speedway. After failed attempts to reason with local government in Orange County, North Carolina with the Occoneechee Speedway, he attempted to find a new spot for a race track and make his idea a reality. After failing to secure a location near the research triangle around Raleigh and he would end up breaking ground on an old airfield on May 23,1968. The track was named the Alabama International Motor Speedway, the name would remain for twenty years until 1989 when the facilitys name was changed to Talladega Superspeedway. The track opened on September 13,1969 at a cost of $4 million, after the first race, Talladega hosted two Cup Series races a year, one of which would become part of the 10-race NASCAR Cup Series Chase for the Championship. Since its opening year, Talladega has hosted many races and has been repaved four times, Talladega also has had many first-time winners, such as Larry Schild, Sr. Richard Brickhouse, Brian Vickers, and Brad Keselowski. A 4-mile infield road course was in operation from the founding until 1983. In the 1970s, six IMSA GT Championship races were held at the speedway, in May 2006, Talladega started to re-surface the track and the apron. Construction started on May 1 and lasted until September 18, the first race on the resurfaced race track was a NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series race on October 7. In December 2013, the ISC announced removal of the 18, 000-seat Allison Grandstand on the backstretch, the 4, 000-ft backstraightway was renamed the Alabama Gang Superstretch in time for the 2014 Aarons 499 held in the spring. Speeds in excess of 200 mph are commonplace at Talladega, Talladega has the record for the fastest recorded time by a NASCAR vehicle on a closed oval course, with the record of 216.309 mph set by Rusty Wallace on June 9,2004. Buddy Baker was the first driver to run at a speed over 200 mph, Bill France himself invited Chrysler to come on down to run a 200 lap for publicity for the April race. The car was fully Nascar inspected and certified, Nascar sanctioned the event and Bill Gazaway was there with the official timing equipment. Bakers 200mph lap was set while driving the No.88 Chrysler Engineering Charger Daytona and it is currently undergoing restoration in Detroit, after being found in the late 1990s in Iowa
Richard Petty Motorsports
Richard Petty Motorsports is an American professional stock car racing team that currently competes in the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series. The team is owned by seven-time NASCAR champion Richard Petty and New York businessman Andrew M. Murstein, known for its factory backing from Dodge since its inception, the team switched to Ford in late 2009 and merged with Yates Racing for 2010. The team has the odd distinction of being the result of three successful teams merging after falling on hard times, Petty, Murstein, and Medallion Financial are the current owners of the team, while Evernham, Gillett, and Bergeron are no longer involved with the team. Funding issues may persist under the current Murstein-led ownership group, regulatory filings show that the company does not pay cash interest to creditors, choosing to roll over the interest into the loan balance as it comes due. The team currently fields the No.43 Ford Fusion full-time for Aric Almirola, RPM drivers including Almirola, Jeb Burton, and Ryan Truex also run part-time Xfinity schedules in the No.98 Ford Mustang for Biagi-DenBeste Racing. RPM also has a partnership with Empire Racing, fielding the No.43 Ford F-150 in the Camping World Truck Series, the cars are known for having a swoosh left on their numbers, started in 2012. Evernham Motorsports was founded in the year 2000 by former crew chief Ray Evernham, Evernham was named a team manager and owner for Diamler Chryslers return to NASCARs top level through their Dodge brand, leading the development of the Intrepid R/T race car that debuted in 2001. The team also operated with direct factory backing and sponsorship from Dodge, the team originally operated out of the former facility of Bill Elliott Racing. In August 2007, then Montreal Canadiens and Liverpool F. C. owner George N. Gillett, the operation was renamed Gillett Evernham Motorsports, with Ray Evernham retaining substantial ownership and the role of CEO. Evernham stated the partnership would allow him to focus on racing operations and team performance, GEM proceeded to hire several financial executives to assist with corporate marketing, including former chairman of LendingTree Tom Reddin to replace Evernham as CEO. At the beginning of the 2008 season, GEM signed a technical and marketing agreement with independent driver Robby Gordon, with plans to eventually absorb Robby Gordon Motorsports into the GEM stable. Under the terms of the merger, Gordon would sell his one-car-operation to GEM for $23.5 million. The deal fell through, with GEM suing Gordon for violating the terms of the agreement, in the midst of a struggling economy, in January 2009 GEM merged with fellow Dodge team Petty Enterprises, expanding the team to four cars. The organization was renamed Richard Petty Motorsports in the process, Ray Evernham was not involved in the merger negotiations, and both he and Richard Petty only maintained minority shares in the new team. Near the end of the season, the announced its departure from the Dodge banner after being its flagship team since 2001. By 2010, RPMs continued operation was put into question when lead driver Kasey Kahne announced his departure by the end of the season for Red Bull Racing Team. Kahne would be released by the team before the second Martinsville race with five events left in the season, the situation was resolved in November, when Richard Petty partnered with Medallion Financial and DGB investments to purchase the team for less than $50 million. Petty once again was at the helm of a race team, Murstein had been seeking a sports investment since 2008 when he formed a special purpose acquisition company together with Hank Aaron, a Medallion board member, and others worth $215 million
Jimmie Kenneth Johnson is an American professional stock car racing driver and a seven-time champion in the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series. He currently drives the No.48 Chevrolet SS for Hendrick Motorsports, Johnson was born in El Cajon, California, and began racing motorcycles at the age of four. After graduating from Granite Hills High School he competed in off-road series and he raced in Mickey Thompson Entertainment Group, Short-course Off-road Drivers Association and SCORE International, winning rookie of the year in each series. In 1998, Johnson and his team, Herzog Motorsports, began stock car racing and he moved to the national American Speed Association series for late model touring cars, and won another rookie of the year title. In 2000, he switched to the NASCAR Busch Series and he moved to Hendrick Motorsports in the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series in 2002. After finishing fifth in the points in his first full season, he was second in 2003 and 2004 and fifth in 2005. Johnson won his first Cup Series championship in 2006 and with wins in 2007,2008,2009. Johnson finished sixth in the standings in the 2011 season. In 2016, Johnson won his championship, tying Richard Petty. Johnson is also a winner of the Daytona 500, winning in 2006 and 2013. Between 2002 and 2016, Johnson has recorded seven championships,80 career race wins,219 top fives,330 top tens, Johnson started racing motorcycles in 1980 when he was four. Three years later, he won the 60cc class championship, despite having an injured knee, afterward, he moved to the Mickey Thompson Entertainment Group Stadium Racing Series where he won several more awards. In 1993, Johnson was given the opportunity to drive for Herb Fishel and he refused the deal and continued racing buggies and trucks in off-road stadium and desert races. He also reported for ESPN in the Short Course Off-Road Drivers Association, three years later, Johnson drove for Herzog Motorsports in the off-road truck series in 1996. By 1997, Johnson had progressed to SODAs Class 8, Class 8 is short-course off-road racings class of two-wheel-drive Trophy Trucks which generate about 800 horsepower and he battled Scott Taylor and Brendan Gaughan for the championship. That year, Johnson won both races at Lake Geneva Raceways first race weekend in May and he also won the seasons third event at Antigo before finishing second to Gaughan at Antigos second race. Johnson returned to Lake Geneva in July, winning the Saturday race, Taylor ended up winning the championship with Gaughan second and Johnson third. During his time in the SODA, SCORE and MTEG series, he accumulated over 25 wins,100 top-three finishes, six championships, in 1998, he began racing on asphalt ovals when he entered the American Speed Association as well as part-time in the NASCAR Busch Series
Dale Earnhardt Jr.
Ralph Dale Earnhardt Jr. known professionally as Dale Earnhardt Jr. Dale Jr. or just Junior, is an American professional stock car racing driver and champion team owner. He is the son of NASCAR Hall of Fame member Dale Earnhardt Sr. Earnhardts success at Daytona International Speedway throughout his career has earned him the nickname Pied Piper of Daytona. He is a two-time Daytona 500 winner, having won the races exactly 10 years apart and he has an estimated net worth of $300 million. He had previously driven the No.8 Chevrolet for Dale Earnhardt, Earnhardt was born and raised in Kannapolis, North Carolina, the son of Brenda Lorraine and Dale Earnhardt Sr. His maternal grandfather, Robert Gee Sr. was a NASCAR car builder and his first race car was a 1979 Monte Carlo that he co-owned with his older half-brother, Kerry Earnhardt. By age 19 after two seasons of driving Street Stock Division, Earnhardt had honed his abilities to the point of joining the Late Model Stock Car Division. He competed on the North and South Carolina short tracks driving a No.3 Chevrolet, there he developed an in-depth knowledge of chassis setup and car preparation, while racing against his older brother Kerry and his sister Kelley. He worked at his fathers dealership as a mechanic while he went to Mitchell Community College to earn a degree in automotive technology. Earnhardt ran nine Busch Series races between 1996 and 1997 for Dale Earnhardt, Inc, Earnhardt won consecutive NASCAR Busch Series Championships in 1998 and 1999 barely edging Matt Kenseth. In 1998, he made his first start in the Winston Cup Series, at the race held in Motegi. Also in 1999, he drove in 5 Winston Cup races in the No.8 Budweiser-sponsored Chevrolet for Dale Earnhardt, Inc. and then in 2000,2000 was Earnhardts breakout year in the Cup Series. He competed for the Raybestos NASCAR Rookie of the Year Award in 2000 and his primary competitor for the award was Matt Kenseth. Kenseth outran Earnhardt in the season-opening Daytona 500 and he became the first rookie to win the All-Star exhibition race. Earnhardt played a part in recreating one Winston Cup milestone in 2000 when he competed with his father and half-brother Kerry in the Pepsi 400 at Michigan International Speedway. That occasion was only the time that a father had raced against two sons – Lee Petty and his two sons Richard and Maurice had previously accomplished the feat. Earnhardt ended the year with two wins, three top-5s, five top-10s, and two poles, in 2001, the major event of the season occurred on February 18, in the final corner of the final lap of the 2001 Daytona 500. As Earnhardt and his teammate Michael Waltrip raced to the finish line and his father had crashed in turn 4 after Sterling Marlin made contact with his left rear bumper. Earnhardt Sr. shot up the track into the wall behind Waltrip and his son
Dale Earnhardt, Inc.
From 1998 to 2009, Dale Earnhardt, Inc. operated as a NASCAR-related organization in Mooresville, North Carolina, United States. The company was founded by Dale Earnhardt and his wife, Teresa Earnhardt, Earnhardt was a seven-time Winston Cup champion. He died in a crash on the lap of the 2001 Daytona 500. Despite his ownership of the DEI racing team, Earnhardt never drove for his team in the Winston Cup, instead, he raced for his long-time mentor, DEI maintains a showroom where fans can purchase memorabilia and other goods and pursues partnerships which bring tribute to Earnhardts memory. The DEI campus is open to visitors from Wednesday to Saturday from 10am to 2pm, drivers for DEI included Dale Earnhardt Jr. Michael Waltrip, Steve Park, Martin Truex Jr. Mark Martin, Kenny Wallace, and Darrell Waltrip. The No.01 car began in 1997 as the No.36 MB2 Motorsports Pontiac with Skittles sponsorship, derrike Cope was the driver and he finished 27th in the final point standings. In 1998, Ernie Irvan, a driver, took over from Cope. The season was highlighted by Irvans pole win at the Brickyard 400, M&Ms replaced Skittles as the teams sponsor in 1999. Irvan retired from racing in September 1999, following a crash at the Michigan International Speedway, dick Trickle temporarily replaced Irvan before the journeyman, Jerry Nadeau coming over from Melling Racing became the driver of the 36 team. Nadeau left MB2 due to a commitment to drive for Hendrick Motorsports to drive the 25 in 2000. MB2 then signed four-time winner Ken Schrader, Schrader drove the No.36 for three seasons including 2 Top 20 seasons, before leaving for BAM Racing. In 2003, the United States Army replaced M&Ms as the teams sponsor, the car number switched from No.36 to No.01 to support the Armys slogan, An Army of One. Nadeau agreed to return to MB2 as the driver of the No.01 car, in May 2003, Nadeau was seriously injured in an accident while practicing at Richmond International Raceway. Nadeau has never returned to motorsports as a driver and is not expected to do so, the team employed several temporary substitutes before signing Joe Nemechek to drive the No.01 car. Nemechek won the Banquet 400 at Kansas Speedway in 2004 and signed an agreement to remain with MB2. Nemechek finished 19th in points in 2004, then improved to 16th in points in 2005,2006 was a struggle for Nemechek and the 01 team, with the team not scoring a top 10 until finishing 9th at Charlotte in October, the 31st race of the season. Nemechek went winless again, with no starts, only two top 10s, and a dismal 27th-place points finish. In 2007, Nemechek moved over to the now-Ginn Racings new 13 Car, veteran Mark Martin, coming off his final year with Roush Racing, was signed drive the car for 23 races in 2007, with Joe Nemechek moving over to the teams new 13 team
Darrell Lee Waltrip is an American motorsports analyst, author, national television broadcaster, and former racing driver. He is also a three-time NASCAR Cup Series champion and a three-time NASCAR Cup Series runner-up and those victories tie him with Bobby Allison for fourth on the NASCARs all-time wins list in the Cup Series and place him second to Jeff Gordon for the most wins in NASCARs modern era. He is ranked second for all-time pole positions with 59, including all-time highs with 35 on short tracks, competing in 809 Cup starts over four decades and 29 years, he has scored 271 Top 5s and 390 Top 10s. Winning $19,886,666.00 in posted earnings, he became the first NASCAR driver to be awarded over $10 million in race winnings, more than $26 million in todays currency. Waltrip also holds the track record 67 wins the Fairgrounds Speedway in Nashville, Tennessee, including NASCAR, USAC, ASA. He still holds many NASCAR records, more than a decade after his retirement as an active driver and he competed in the 24 Hours of Daytona. He has also won awards in NASCAR. He has been inducted in numorous halls of fame, including the Motorsports Hall of Fame of America for 2003 the International Motorsports Hall of Fame for 2005, after being nominated for the inaugural 2010 and 2011 classes, he was inducted into the NASCAR Hall of Fames 2012 class. Waltrip currently serves as a color analyst for Fox Sports alongside Mike Joy, and Jeff Gordon, a columnist at Foxsports. com, and he is the older brother of NASCAR driver and MWR team owner Michael Waltrip. Waltrip was born in Owensboro, Kentucky, February 5,1947, starting his driving career in Go-karts at age 12, Waltrip entered his first stock car race just four years later. Waltrip and his father built a 1936 Chevrolet coupe and headed to a dirt track near their Owensboro home. The first night out was far from a success as the youngster, barely old enough to drive on the street, Waltrip slammed the wall and heavily damaged the coupe. Waltrip soon left the dirt and found his niche on asphalt where the smoothness he learned in the karts proved a valuable asset. C and his success gained the attention of Nashville owner/driver P. B. Crowell, who urged Waltrip to move to the area to race at the Fairgrounds Speedway, at the Tennessee State Fairgrounds in Nashville, Waltrip drove the #48 P. B. Some of the notorious on air trash-talking included making fun of some of the local drivers such as Coo Coo Marlin and James Flookie Buford. It pleased track management that he was helping sell tickets, leading to packed grandstands and he became a Christian in 1983 but it was years later before God came first in his life. One of the charities he supports is the Motor Racing Outreach providing spiritual support to racers, Waltrip finished 38th in his first NASCAR Winston Cup race after retiring on lap 69 due to engine failure. Waltrip paid $12,500 for the car, an engine and some spare parts