TALLADEGA, Ala. — Talladega Superspeedway was the vision of NASCAR founder Bill France Sr., known throughout racing circles as “Big Bill.”
So when Talladega executives were trying to come up with a name for the 35,000-square-foot centerpiece to a massive infield renovation, “Big Bill‘s Social Club” was the suggestion that stuck.
The issue was how to make the new area fit the image of Talladega. The sort of pristine overhaul that transformed sister superspeedway Daytona into the premier showplace in motorsports wouldn‘t conform to the more rough-hewn character of Talladega.
RELATED: See photos of the renovations
“We literally put everything up new and then paid a lady to come in and paint it all to look old,” said Talladega Chairman Grant Lynch, who is retiring after 26 years at the 2.66-mile track. “So that‘s how we did it. She painted all that stuff out there, and you walk up there, and you say, ‘Golly, this looks old — and it does.‘
“She did a wonderful job, and I think it gives you a different feel when you walk in there, ‘cause you feel like you‘re in Talladega.”
It‘s difficult to tell at a glance, but the aged, rusty look of Big Bill‘s is artificial. What is quite real is the atmosphere it lends to NASCAR‘s largest closed course.
“We‘re just as pumped up as we can be,” Lynch said. “The folks that we‘re talking to going in and out of it are kind of mesmerized by the size and scope and magnitude of it. All I can say is, I think we‘re delivering on our promise to give the fans something special here at Talladega.”