What County Is Talladega Speedway In? [Ultimate Guide!]

As the name would suggest, Talladega Speedway is most often found in the town of Talladega, Alabama. The half-mile oval is the oldest motorsport facility in North America and one of the most popular racetracks in the country. It is located on US-78, between the city limits of Talladega and Bessemer. Opened in 1926, this classic “grandfather of motorsport” has been the home of some of the greatest racers of all time. It is still used for NASCAR Cup Series races, but has also seen the likes of Bill Clinton, Roy Rogers, and Dale Earnhardt Jr. frequent its hallowed grounds. While the facility itself is historic, its location in the middle of nowhere is anything but.


Tourism is one of the major sources of revenue for the town of Talladega, with around 45 million visitors annually contributing around $13.8 million to the local economy. Not surprisingly, given its popularity, there are a lot of vacation homes and Airbnb rooms located in the area, as well as a lot of local businesses related to the sports, including bars, restaurants, and merchandise stores. It is a bit of a paradox that the town is so connected to motorsport and racing yet also relies heavily on tourism, but that’s the way it is.


Talladega is located in the extreme southwestern region of Alabama, with the town being entirely surrounded by the larger city of Birmingham. The geographical center of the United States is around 275 miles away, and the nearest international airport is in Atlanta, Georgia, around 500 miles to the north. The geography of the town is interesting, with a lot of hills and hollows that leave it vulnerable to flooding and occasional severe weather. In 1928, around 100 people lost their lives in a devastating tornado that caused $25 million in damage and flattened a large part of the town. Thankfully, though, the economy mostly recovered, with many of the old buildings being restored or replaced.


Located in the Deep South, Talladega has a humid subtropical climate that makes it very suitable for growing all kinds of produce. Hot, humid summers and cool, wet winters are the norm. The town is very rain-dependent, with an average of around 73 inches of rain falling each year. This is mainly due to its location in the rain shadow of the Appalachian Mountains. While it does get a lot of rain, it rarely fails to rain on the day of a race, so drivers have to prepare for both wet and dry conditions. Winters are cool but often foggy, while summers are steamy and often chaotic, with humidity making it tough to take a good, deep breath.


Talladega is a fairly small town, with around 7,800 people currently living in it. Around 85% of the population is Caucasian, with the rest being African American or of some other ethnicity. Around 30% of the population is under the age of 18, which is pretty high for a town this size. There is also a very high amount of female to male ratio (around 7:1), which can be largely attributed to the fact that a lot of the men in the town work at the nearby racetrack. It is a fairly typical Southern town, with around 60% of the households owning at least one car. There is also a lot of recycling, with around 50% of the waste sorted in the town being plastic. Almost 80% of the households rely on electricity provided by the local utility, and around 85% have a washing machine. It is a place full of life and activity, with around 23,600 working jobs and over 300 businesses operating within its boundaries. On any given day, you will definitely find someone going about their daily business. There are some 6,600 homes in the town, with around three out of every four of those being second homes for the wealthy individuals who live in nearby Birmingham and the larger metro area. While the town is very family-oriented and close-knit, there is a lot of loneliness too, with only 1.8 doctors, dentists, and therapists per 1,000 people. This is despite the fact that there is a nearby mental health facility that offers specialized help and therapies for people who are depressed or anxious. Lonely town indeed.


Talladega is a predominantly agricultural community, with around 70% of the jobs related to this industry. The city’s biggest draw, especially for those from further afield, is Talladega Superspeedway. It is located just outside the town and is a part of the NASCAR circuit. This is a massive racetrack, a five-eighths of a mile long, with around 200 turns and featuring a front stretch that is over a mile long. The speedway hosted its first race in 1960 and is still regularly used today, with the last race held just two weeks ago. In 2017 alone, over 150,000 people attended one of the four NASCAR Cup Series races held at the track, contributing around $80 million to the local economy.


While the town is most famous for its racetrack, it also hosts many other festivals and events that are related to motorsport and the racing industry. The most prominent of these is the annual Talladega Super Bowl, which takes place in the middle of June and is a sort of a cross between a carnival and a circus. It opens with the “birthday of rock ‘n’ roll,” with performers from all over the world setting up camp in the city for several weeks, with different concerts, theatrical productions, and comedy shows taking place night after night. It culminates in a massive fireworks display, which draws crowds of around 25,000 people. The street circuit is also home to the AAA Championship Car race in the fall and the Firecracker 400, an annual NASCAR Cup Series race in the summer.

Attendance & TV Coverage

It should come as no great surprise that a town this size would have such a successful racing industry. Around 30,000 people are normally in attendance at the annual NASCAR race, which makes it one of the largest indoor sporting events in North America. This year’s race is scheduled for this coming Saturday, October 20, and will be live streamed on YouTube. It is one of the most popular races of the year and is definitely not to be missed. There are usually three or four other big races across North America that are just as popular, which is why it is such a paradox that this town is also so remote and unassuming.


The origin of the name “Talladega” is disputed, with some claiming it comes from a Native American tribe called the Tallapa, while others believe it comes from an enslaved man called “Tall” who worked in the timber industry around Talladega Creek. What is not in dispute is that “Talladega” eventually became the name of the town and the racetrack that it hosts. The creek, in fact, provided water for a major plantation, and was later dammed to create Lake Lanier, a major source of freshwater for metro Atlanta. The plantation was owned by the Waverly family, with the last member of this wealthy clan donating around 300 acres of land to the city of Talladega in 1932. Thus began the era of competitive motorsport in the area.


Aside from its famous racetrack, Talladega offers much more than enough facilities for auto enthusiasts. This is especially beneficial for those traveling from afar, as there is almost certainly something here that will suit their needs. The list of amenities includes a fire station, police department, and three public parks (two of which are large and have lighted tennis courts, while the third one features an outdoor basketball court). The largest of the three parks, Lakeview, features a pier that extends out over the water and a monument commemorating the 1928 tornado that killed 100 people and caused $25 million in damage. Another major attraction is the Chastain Park Zoo, featuring animals native to the American South.

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