Longtime Talladega Superspeedway Chairman Grant Lynch was named the recipient of the coveted Buddy Shuman Award Wednesday during the National Motorsports Press Association (NMPA) Myers Brothers Awards at the Encore Theater of the Wynn Las Vegas, part of the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series Champion’s Week to celebrate Joey Logano’s 2018 title season.
The award, established in 1957, is named after racing pioneer Buddy Shuman, a former NASCAR driver and technical inspector who perished in a hotel fire in 1955. It annually recognizes individuals and organizations that have played vital roles in ensuring the continued growth and popularity of stock car racing.
“Man, y’all can keep a secret,” said an emotional Lynch to hundreds in attendance. “I never thought I would get where I did, and you don’t get there without people who put their faith behind you. This is truly an honor, something extremely special to me that I will cherish forever.”
Past winners with Alabama ties include Bill France Sr. who built Talladega Superspeedway, Bobby Allison, the leader of the famed Alabama Gang, and Jim Hunter, a former NASCAR executive and Talladega Superspeedway Public Relations Director.
Lynch, who joined the staff at the 2.66-mile venue in January of 1993, will retire in November of 2019, just weeks after the completion of Transformation – The Talladega Superspeedway Infield Project, which will allow fans to be immersed in the sport like never before during the track’s NASCAR Playoff doubleheader weekend.
Transformation, the approximate $50 million redevelopment (www.talladegasuperspeedway.com/transformation) endeavor, is part of International Speedway Corporation’s long-term capital allocation plan and reinvestment into its major motorsports complexes. The project is highlighted by a one-of-a-kind Garage Fan Zone Experience (140,000 square foot of social and engagement areas), that will feature “up-close” fan access to the drivers and teams, interactive attractions, Wi-Fi, a 35,000-square-foot covered Open Air Club, complete with a 41-foot diagonal video board, a new Gatorade Victory Lane, a Pit Road Club, and enhanced amenities in the iconic Talladega infield. In addition, there will be more than 300 new RV spaces configured inside the track.
Lynch started as the track General Manager in ’93 and was promoted to Vice President of International Speedway Corporation (ISC) and President of Talladega Superspeedway in November of the same year. In 1997, ISC also appointed him to oversee the construction and management of Kansas Speedway, and in January of 2000, he assumed additional operational responsibilities with Chicagoland Speedway before being named ISC Senior Vice President of Business Operations in July of 2007. In July 2009, he became Chairman of Talladega Superspeedway.
Lynch came to Talladega after 11 years with R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Co., where in his last post, he served as Senior Manager of Operations and Public Relations, managing the company’s involvement in NASCAR Winston Cup Series. His career there spanned back to 1982 when he joined RJR Special Events as a Camel GT Series show car driver.
During his tenure at SME, he worked on the Camel GT Series, Winston Drag Racing series, and served as Senior Manager of the Vantage Cup PGA Tour, and the Winston Cup Series.
Also in Vegas Wednesday, the prestigious Myers Brothers Award was presented. It was awarded to Jim France, son of France Sr., and Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of NASCAR and Chairman of ISC. The award is determined by a vote of the NMPA, recognizing individuals and/or groups who have provided outstanding contributions to the sport of stock car racing. Named in honor of former NASCAR competitors Billy and Bobby Myers, it has been presented annually since 1958.
Talladega Superspeedway kicks off its 2019 season April 26-28 with a motorsports tripleheader, featuring the GEICO 500 for the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series, as well as the General Tire 200 for the ARCA Racing Series and the 200-mile NASCAR Xfinity Series event. A new Oversized Vehicle Tunnel, which is currently under construction, will greet fans and offer 24-hour entry into the venue. For ticket information, call 855-518-RACE (7223) or log on to www.talladegasuperspeedway.com.