Driving At Talladega Superspeedway, Channeling Ricky Bobby

driving at talladega superspeedway channeling ricky bobby

The front-straight at Talladega Superspeedway.

Jim Clash

Talladega Superspeedway, just across the Georgia state line in Lincoln, Alabama, is a behemoth of a race track. It measures 2.66-miles around, 0.16-miles longer than Florida’s iconic Daytona International Speedway. It is also banked at an impressive 33 degrees in the corners, two degrees steeper than Daytona’s banking. In fact, Talladega is the largest oval track on the NASCAR circuit.

The speedway is also well-known from the 2006 comedy Talladega Nights. In it, former Saturday Night Live star Will Ferrell plays a lovable, aging stock car racer named Ricky Bobby, who is trying to regain his glory from years gone by.

For me personally, the track had been a difficult one to nail down. Last March, when the Covid-19 pandemic hit the U.S., my first trip to Talladega was abruptly canceled. Then, last fall, my second attempt at the place was thwarted by Hurricane Sally, which blew through Alabama the weekend we were supposed to be on-track. Racing fans know this, but you cannot drive on an oval in the rain. The slick tires on the cars will hydroplane off of any water accumulating on the asphalt surface…

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