Construction of a new infield fan zone and garages at Talladega Superspeedway is ahead of schedule.
Track officials and construction supervisors gave members of the media a tour of the infield Wednesday, which included a ceremony with crews setting the final steel beam of the new 35,000-square-foot Open Air Club. Gary Merriman, senior superintendent for Hoar Construction, rewarded his crew with the opportunity to sign the steel beam before it was set.
“They’ve all worked very hard,” Merriman said. “We’re blessed to grow up in an environment where we all love racing and where we all love what goes on here at Talladega. It was a neat experience for each and every one of us to be here to construct this.”
The construction is part of the track’s $50 million “Transformation” as it celebrates its 50th anniversary. The centerpiece of the project is the Talladega Garage Experience, a place where fans can interact with NASCAR’S top drivers and crews. Fans who buy admission to the Talladega Garage Experience will receive access inside all of the Monster Energy Cup Series garages via an “up-close” fan viewing walkway and will be under the same roof where race teams are prepping the race cars. Russell Branham, director of Public Relations for Talladega Superspeedway, applauded Merriman and his crew for getting the project ahead of schedule.
“I think they’ve done an incredible job,” Branham said. “It’s only appropriate that at the fastest race track we have the fastest construction team.”
Merriman said crews have worked extra hours to keep the project on track.
“We come in at 1:30 in the morning on slab pours,” Merriman said. “Certain concrete pours have to take place in the coolness of the early morning, so there are some 16-hour days.”
The track is also building a new Race Operations tower high above the tri-oval, as well as a new Pit Road Club for guests who want a bird’s-eye view of team pit stops. Merriman said the project is currently 40% complete and is scheduled to be finished by Sept. 20, well in advance of the track’s next NASCAR race in October. Branham said the construction is exciting.
“To be here and to be a part of all of this, I feel like a kid again,” Branham said. “Knowing what this is going to mean for the fans, it really takes me back to when I was a kid.”
To learn more about the project or purchase tickets, visit talladegasuperspeedway.com/transformation.