TALLADEGA, Ala. â Talladega Superspeedway was the vision of NASCAR founder Bill France Sr., known throughout racing circles as âBig Bill.â
So when Talladega executives were trying to come up with a name for the 35,000-square-foot centerpiece to a massive infield renovation, âBig Billâs Social Clubâ 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 wouldnât conform to the more rough-hewn character of Talladega.
RELATED: See photos of the renovations
âWe literally put everything up new and then paid a lady to come in and paint it all to look old,â said Talladega Chairman Grant Lynch, who is retiring after 26 years at the 2.66-mile track. âSo thatâs how we did it. She painted all that stuff out there, and you walk up there, and you say, âGolly, this looks old â and it does.â
âShe did a wonderful job, and I think it gives you a different feel when you walk in there, âcause you feel like youâre in Talladega.â
Itâs difficult to tell at a glance, but the aged, rusty look of Big Billâs is artificial. What is quite real is the atmosphere it lends to NASCARâs largest closed course.
âWeâre just as pumped up as we can be,â Lynch said. âThe folks that weâre 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 weâre delivering on our promise to give the fans something special here at Talladega.â