TALLADEGA, Ala. (WIAT) — Racing fans will have a new way to learn about Alabama’s icons with a new exhibit in the International Motorsports Hall of Fame next to the Talladega Superspeedway.
It’s been 40 years since the opening of the International Motorsports Hall of Fame. Officials said it’s come a long way in the last four years with renovations and new additions.
Many racing fans love to get up close to famous racecars and see how they work and also learn about the history of some of their favorite racers. Now, they’ll be able to do that specifically for the Alabama Gang, which featured some of the best NASCAR drivers in the state.
When people think of Alabama racing, a few names jump to mind like Bobby, Donnie and Davey Allison, as well as Red Farmer. The Alabama Racing Heritage exhibit will pay homage to the Alabama Gang which includes the Allison family, Farmer and more. People are able to take in Alabama’s racing history and get an up-close look at some of the cars that carried these drivers in their best races.
The Allison family, Farmer and a handful of other historic racers took part in the unveiling of this exhibit on Thursday afternoon.
“I’ve got a lot of laps on this racetrack, and I enjoy it,” Farmer said. “This is my hometown track.”
Farmer, along with the Allison family, helped put racing on the map for the state.
“When I’m getting on the brown side of the grass instead of the green side, I said they’re going to put some of my ashes on this racetrack,” Farmer said.
Mike Raita, executive director of the International Motorsports Hall of Fame, said with legendary drivers like the Alabama Gang getting older, it was even more important to get this exhibit done as soon as possible.
“When you think about sports in Alabama, college football reigns,” Raita said. “But second is auto racing. I think more people are involved in auto racing, and it has a bigger following than just about any other sport in the state of Alabama. So to be able to give the Alabama people sort of a piece of history of their Alabama racing heritage was really important.”
The International Motorsports Hall of Fame said the planning of the exhibit took about two years, but it physically all came together in about three months. Museum officials said there are two more halls they hope to have renovated within the next year.
Other drivers outside the Alabama Gang are featured in the exhibit like Tina Gordon. She was overcome with emotion taking in the history and greatness in the exhibit.
“This is just a dream come true,” Gordon said. “I always just felt like a racecar driver, but it is very few women in racing, so I do know that’s a little bit of a difference there. But like I said, I never really did try to, I just got out there, and I drive the car just like all the other guys did.”