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Hartselle Enquirer

NASCAR is good for Alabama

By Staff
Guest Columnist
Rep. Ronald Grantland, Hartselle
Cars whip around the track at speeds approaching 200 miles per hour. The roar of engines and the sound of 140,000 screaming fans are deafening. The excitement and amazement of top-level competition is electrifying.
There is hardly any sporting event more exciting than a NASCAR race, and no better place to be on race day than Talladega.
The rest of the country is realizing what Alabamians have known for decades; that NASCAR is one of the most exciting sports around.
As NASCAR becomes more popular, Alabama continues to see the economic benefits through the Talladega Superspeedway. Originally built in 1969,Talladega was designed to be one the biggest, fastest and most competitive tracks anywhere.
Talladega has lived up to expectations as it continues to be one of the fastest tracks on the NASCAR circuit.
The Superspeedway is one of the nation's premier motorsports facilities with seating for more than 143,000 guests on the grandstand and room for thousands more in the 212- acre infield.
Talladega's popularity produces not only great entertainment for race fans, but also much needed revenue for our state. Every year, Talladega is home to two major NASCAR NEXTEL cup races, one in the spring and one in October. These two races combined generate tens of millions of dollars for Alabama's economy, and in the last few years, the total yearly amount has been upwards of $80 million.
The race also brings in an unparalleled amount of corporate sponsors, celebrities, and media outlets which translates into positive media coverage and more money for Alabama.
That alone is great news for our state, but the even better news is that we have every indication that Talladega will continue to attract more and more interest. For example, the television rating just last month for the Aaron's 499 NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series on May 1 was the highest in Talladega's history. This kind of success will no doubt continue this October when Talladega hosts the UAW-Ford 500, an event which again is expected to bring tens of millions of dollars to our state.
But Talladega offers more than just high ratings and great racing. Race Fever, held on April 29 at the International Motorsports Hall of Fame, is an annual barbecue dinner that raises funds for Alabama Institute for the Deaf and Blind, the designated charity of the Talladega Superspeedway. Funds are raised from the sale of tickets to the event and live and silent auctions. This is a truly special event because those who attend have the chance to meet the many drivers who support the charitable event. This year was a tremendous success, as Race Fever raised approximately $175,000 for the AIDB.
Even if you are not a racing fan, it is easy to appreciate what the Talladega Superspeedway means for our state.
We are fortunate to have a state-of-the-art racing facility, because as NASCAR continues to grow, Talladega and Alabama most certainly will reap the benefits.

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