How Big Is Talladega International Speedway? [Facts!]

You’ve probably heard of Talladega International Speedway, the famous 1.5-mile tri-oval motorsport track located in Talladega, Alabama. If you’re a race car fan, you’ve probably heard of it too because it’s one of the most famous speedways in the nation. Now, it’s your turn to discover how big is Talladega International Speedway and what is it like to visit such a legendary motorsport venue? Let’s take a look.

The History Of Talladega International Speedway

It’s been over 90 years since Talladega International Speedway first welcomed motor vehicles to its racing grounds back in October of 1928. The track was originally constructed in 1919 and featured weekly races from its opening until the Great Depression. After years of not being used, the track was bought by a group of businessmen who wanted to make it a motorsport destination. The first Indy car race at Talladega was held in August of 1948 and has been a regular part of the motorsport schedule ever since. In fact, only the Indianapolis 500 is considered a bigger event in the state of Alabama.

The Venue

Located in northern Alabama, just south of Birmingham, Talladega is best known for its annual fall racing season. That’s when the famous tri-oval track really comes to life with the hustle and bustle of the racing season. The grandstands are thrown open and the tourists and locals come together to catch a glimpse of real-life dramas taking place on the track. The majority of the races are on Thursday and Sunday nights in October and December.

Aside from the racing season, the stadium is open year-round for concerts, family shows, and various other types of sporting events. If you love motorsport, this is the place to be in the fall. Just make sure to get your tickets early because this year-round favorite is rarely empty.

The Layout

Talladega International Speedway is a 1.5-mile tri-oval track with seating for over 100,000 spectators. Three separate sets of trackside paddock areas are available for teams, with plenty of room for the occasional RV or party bus to park as well. One of the great things about the track is its sheer size, especially when you compare it to many other stadiums. It would be nice to see more tracks add features similar to Talladega’s to make the sport more accessible to everyone. For instance, does Watkins Glen in New York offer something similar to a kids’ playground or a fun zone?

The Track

Talladega is a banked tri-oval track with three very wide turns. It’s also one of the most durable tracks in the world, which is why so many motor vehicles have raced there over the years and why it’s still one of the most popular motorsport venues today. The outside walls are flanked by seating that’s angled slightly toward the driver’s side, which is a great place to view the action. The infield is flanked by the pit lanes and a small concrete runway, which is also lined with seating. If you’ve never been to a motorsport event, then here’s your chance to see it first-hand. Even if you are a veteran fan, the unique perspective of the angled seats will give you a new angle to view the races.

The Crowds

Every year during the racing season, Talladega’s gates open at around 5:00 pm and close around 11:00 pm, so you can bet that by 8:00 pm, most of the 100,000-plus seats will be taken.

Over the years, the track has welcomed many different types of racing fans, including but not limited to:

  • Traditionalists
  • Vintage car fans
  • Race car drivers
  • Folks who just want to get a good seat
  • NASCAR fans
  • Big-Block Chevy enthusiasts

The Food

One of the many perks of being at a NASCAR race is the opportunity to eat what’s called ‘grubstake.’ The grub stands are usually located in the infield alongside the track and offer up some of the best traditional Southern food such as:

  • BBQ
  • Chicken
  • Pork Chops
  • Andouille Sausage
  • Potato Salad
  • Hush Puppies
  • Watermelon

If you are a foodie, then NASCAR is the place to be during the racing season. Not only does it offer some of the best food around, but the atmosphere is incredible too.

The Drinks

When you’re at a motorsport event, you’re usually thirsty and in need of a drink, especially if you’re in the southern part of the country where the climate is hot and humid. The best option is usually to chill in one of the many bars located within the venue. If you’re looking for something unique, you can also sample some of the various mickeys (grog) that are sold at the ‘honky tonk’ in the infield. If you get thirsty during the race, you can bring a drink into the grandstands or find a spot in the infield to relax with a cold one.

The Design

The grandstands at Talladega are actually retractable, which is why they can be opened up for additional seating during the concert and family shows throughout the year. The layout of the stadium is such that even the professionals have found it difficult to design an ideal race car setup because the turns are so wide and there’s so much space for it to really roam free. It’s also one of the few venues left that still offers dirt track racing, which many people consider the pinnacle of motorsport. If you’re a vintage car fan or a NASCAR fan looking for some nostalgia, then this is the place to be.

Of course, the most important thing to consider is what’s written above all else—the size of the venue. With over 100,000 seats, you’re guaranteed to get a good view of the action even if you’re at the very far end of the track. If you visit during the right time of year, you’ll witness some incredible sights. The grandstands will be packed, the air will be thick with competing car noises, and you’ll feel a sense of exhilaration as the cars roar around the track. If speed is your thing, then this is the place you’ve been searching for. Come on down and take a look.

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