The Talladega “Tunnel Effect” starts now. Talladega Superspeedway’s new Turn 3 Oversized Vehicle Tunnel is now open!
On Tuesday in which he helped announce a special First Responders program at Talladega Superspeedway, NASCAR driver Jeffrey Earnhardt, in John Ray’s iconic, patriotic Big Rig that is a tradition at the 2.66-mile during the National Anthem in all pre-race ceremonies, became the first competitor to ride through the track’s new two-lane tunnel that will be ready for fans during the track’s upcoming tripleheader weekend, April 26-28.
Tuesday’s event was one of the final chapters of the 28-foot-wide tunnel effort that started with groundbreaking in late October by Oxford’s Taylor Corporation. And, despite battling inclement weather conditions throughout the last five months, the tunnel, which has a 16 foot by 8 inches height clearance and is the initial phase of Transformation – The Talladega Superspeedway Infield Project presented by Graybar, was completed on time. As a result, paving also began Tuesday on the track racing surface which covers the tunnel.
Earnhardt, the grandson of 10-time record Talladega winner Dale Earnhardt Sr., will be competing in both the MoneyLion 300 NASCAR Xfinity Series race (April 27) for Joe Gibbs Racing, as well as the GEICO 500 Monster Energy Cup Series event (April 28) for Xtreme Concepts Racing where he will make his 2019 debut.
“The tunnel is massive and just plain impressive,” said Earnhardt, whose sponsor Xtreme Concepts (based in Birmingham, AL), was introduced as a Talladega Superspeedway partner Tuesday with the introduction of the First Responders presented by 1st Foundation ticket offer for the GEICO 500 and MoneyLion 300, as well as the Talladega Garage Experience Wi-Fi, presented by Xtreme Concepts, which will debut in October as part of Transformation – The Talladega Infield Project presented by Graybar. “And, to ride through it in John Ray’s Big Rig, made it really special since John was a good friend to my grandfather, and I know what this truck has meant to the fans of Talladega since 2001.
“The fans are going to love this new entry/exit way,” added Earnhardt, who led 29 laps in the season-opening NXS event at Daytona then backed it up with a sixth-place effort at Atlanta. “It’s spacious, convenient and I know the fans are going to appreciate what the track has done. For me, it’s all about the fans. I appreciate them, and I appreciate Talladega. I have been coming here for a long time and love this place. It’s great for fans and competitors alike. The experience at Talladega is second to none, but with the new tunnel, and what is coming down the pipe with the Transformation project, it’s going to make the experience even better for many years to come.”
The new tunnel will be capable of allowing fans’ large recreational vehicles as well as race team haulers to enter and exit the track simultaneously with ease. It will be open 24 hours during event weekends. In addition to the completed tunnel and the paving of the track surface above it, Earnhardt, saw paving of the new Finish Line Premium RV area, complete with full hookups, which will also make its fan debut in a few weeks.
The approximately $50 million Transformation Infield Project presented by Graybar is part of International Speedway Corporation’s (Talladega’s parent company) long-term capital allocation plan and reinvestment into its major motorsports complexes. The culmination ofTransformation will occur this October and will allow fans to be immersed into the sport of NASCAR with the one-of-a-kind Talladega Garage Experience, which will feature “up-close” access, interactive attractions and enhanced amenities for fans, sponsors, teams and stakeholders in the iconic Talladega infield.
Fans can learn more about the project and view the progress 24/7 via the construction cam by visitingwww.talladegasuperspeedway.com/transformation. For ticket information on the track’s upcoming weekend, featuring the General Tire 200 (Friday, April 26), MoneyLion 300 (Saturday, April 27) or the GEICO 500 (Sunday, April 28), log onto www.talladegasuperspeedway.com or call 855-518-7223 (RACE).