For 21 years, race fans have seen the iconic gold, brown and chrome Big Rig that carries the giant American flag around Talladega Superspeedway during the playing of the National Anthem prior to the start of races. During this weekend’s NASCAR Playoffs Tripleheader weekend, fans will have the unique opportunity to get up close and personal with the truck as it will be displayed in the Midway.
The Midway, located on the outside of the track’s frontstretch, gives fans PLENTY to do, and will be a bevy of fun with exciting interactive activities for families, beginning at noon CDT on Friday. Saturday the fun begins at 8:00 a.m. CDT prior to an incredible doubleheader – the Chevy Silverado 250 for the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series and the Sparks 300 for the NASCAR Xfinity Series. The Midway will also open at 8 am Sunday, with the YellaWood 500 NASCAR Cup Series race waving the green flag later in the day at 1:00 p.m. CDT. Fans can keep up with the “world-class” experience via the NASCAR App.
The tradition of the Big Rig began in 2001. John Ray, an Eastaboga native, whose trucking company is located just a few miles from the mammoth 2.66-mile venue, drove his truck, sporting the giant American flag on the track as a tribute to the country after 9/11, and to his good friend, the late Dale Earnhardt. Since, the Big Rig has become a patriotic symbol of the greatest race track on the planet. Ray passed away in 2020, but his son, Johnny, continues the traditional drive, and will so again this weekend during pre-race festivities.
The Midway will be a packed house, with 45 exhibits and activations to get long-time fans, as well as newcomers to the sport of NASCAR, amped up while enjoying multiple performance acts amidst the multitude of fan experiences. In addition, there will be Fan Q&A with NASCAR personalities inside the Talladega Garage Experience. The lineups of activities can be found at www.talladegasuperspeedway.com. For race fans looking for food and drinks, there will be a Papa Murphy’s station, Saloon Bar, among other options.
Here’s the Cliffs notes of that tremendous list (which includes the Midway and the Frontstretch grandstand):
- So Much to Do! Some of the 45 interactive displays consist of a host of Talladega Superspeedway and NASCAR corporate partners, plus NASCAR teams’ merchandise haulers, along with Axe Throwing, Caricature Artists, local dance companies, plus the popular Trackside Live Stage Presented by Race for the Championship, and much more.
- The Trackside Live Stage Presented by Race for the Championship brings guests a live show filled with Q&A’s, concerts, performances and more. It will be the site of appearances from multiple drivers and NASCAR dignitaries for fan question/answer sessions.
- Saturday’s slate includes NASCAR Cup Series driver’s Chris Buescher and Todd Gilliland, NASCAR Xfinity Playoffs driver Riley Herbst, along with NASCAR Camping World Truck Series drivers’ Natalie Decker, Chase Purdy, Carson Hocevar and Alabama’s own Grant Enfinger, who is in the playoffs mix. DJ Mark will also take to the stage on three separate occasions.
- Sunday will consist of NASCAR Cup Series Playoffs drivers’ Joey Logano and Ross Chastain (winner of the GEICO 500 in April), as well as BJ. McLeod. Also on hand will be Ben Kennedy, NASCAR Senior Vice President, Racing Development and Strategy, and Brandon McReynolds, spotter for Chastain (and son of FOX analyst Larry McReynolds).
Race fans in the popular infield Talladega Garage Experience, where fans can get up close and personal to the cars in the team garage bays, will also see driver Q&As at the Fr8 Auctions Stage. Those on hand Sunday, beginning at 9:30 a.m., are NASCAR Cup drivers’ Chase Briscoe, Tyler Reddick, Noah Gragson, Brad Keselowski and Martin Truex, Jr. Saturday’s entertainment will be an acoustic performance by Berritt Haynes at 9:45 a.m.