Alabama Engineering Hall of Fame to Hold 2013 Ceremony

  • February 13th, 2013

TUSCALOOSA, Ala. — The State of Alabama Engineering Hall of Fame will induct seven individuals and honor a corporation and two projects during a ceremony Feb. 23 at the Renaissance Ross Bridge Golf Resort and Spa in Hoover.

The following individuals will join the 150 who have been inducted into the Hall of Fame over the past 25 years: Dr. Larry D. Benefield of Auburn; James H. Carroll Jr. of Tampa, Fla.; Ronald E. Chronister of Athens; James M. Hoskins of Reston, Va.; John S. Richardson of Hoover; Donald W. Vaughn of Montgomery; and D. Dale York of Birmingham.

Founded in 1987 by proclamation of the governor, the State of Alabama Engineering Hall of Fame honors, preserves and perpetuates the outstanding accomplishments and contributions of individuals, projects and corporations/institutions that brought and continue to bring significant recognition to the state.

Alabama native Larry D. Benefield is internationally recognized for his research in biological treatment processes. However, he is equally known for his commitment to furthering and enhancing engineering education. In 2012, Benefield retired after a distinguished career of more than three decades at Auburn University. He joined the institution as a faculty member and retired as dean of the Samuel Ginn College of Engineering.

In 1966, Benefield earned his bachelor’s degree in civil engineering from Auburn University. He then spent four years as a civil engineering officer in the U.S. Air Force, where he was awarded the Bronze Star for service in Vietnam. Benefield returned to Auburn and earned his master’s degree in environmental engineering in 1972. He continued his education earning his doctoral degree at Virginia Polytechnic Institute in 1975.

Benefield joined Auburn University’s Samuel Ginn College of Engineering as an associate professor of civil engineering in 1979. He later served as interim associate dean for research and associate dean for academics for the College. In 1998, Benefield was named interim dean of the Samuel Ginn College of Engineering and was appointed dean in 2000.

As dean, Benefield led the Samuel Ginn College of Engineering to significant advances, attracting the attention of peer institutions and moving Auburn Engineering to the highest rankings in its history. Under his leadership, the College successfully completed a $154-million facility enhancement program and launched the nation’s first undergraduate degree in wireless engineering. The College also added minors in automotive manufacturing engineering and nuclear generation systems.

Partnering with the College of Business, Benefield established the Business-Engineering-Technology Program, which integrates engineering, business and management practice for engineering and business undergraduates. He oversaw the opening of Auburn’s MRI center and played a pivotal role in the launch of the Auburn University Huntsville Research Center.

Benefield was instrumental in establishing the Minority Engineering Program to recruit and retain underrepresented minorities and women in engineering. Auburn University’s Samuel Ginn College of Engineering saw their undergraduate program rise as high as 28th in the nation and graduate program rise to 40th among public institutions. The faculty’s efforts have placed Auburn in the top 50 in research expenditures in each of the past six years.

Benefield has an international reputation for his research and applications work in biological treatment processes and, in particular, biological nutrient removal. He has served as the principal author of three highly regarded texts in the environmental engineering field and has published 41 refereed publications and 77 other publications and technical presentations. Benefield holds professional engineering licenses in Virginia, Alabama and Colorado.

In 2004, Virginia Polytechnic Institute inducted Benefield into the department of civil engineering’s Academy of Distinguished Alumni. He is a member of the board of directors of Alabama’s Engineering Hall of Fame and a board member and vice chair of the National Center for Asphalt Technology.

Benefield and his wife, Mary, have been happily married for 38 years. They are proud parents of two, and they are relatively new grandparents.

In the Southeast, the name James H. Carroll Jr. is synonymous with engineering innovation and expertise. Carroll definitely fulfilled his dream of building a leading heating, ventilation and air conditioning engineering firm, Carroll Air Systems Inc. Established in 1972, the company is a forerunner in the industry and produces more than $40 million in annual revenues. Carroll serves as chairman and chief executive officer and has more than 50 years of experience in the field.

An Alabama native, Carroll earned a bachelor’s degree in industrial management from Auburn University in 1954. After graduation, he worked with Trane Heating and Air Conditioning and Climatrol Industries Corp., learning the basics of the business. In 1960, Carroll completed Samford University’s Money, Banking and Financial Management course. He became a registered professional engineer in Alabama in 1966.

Later, Carroll and his wife, Betty, founded Carroll Air Systems Inc. in Tampa, Fla. The firm is a full-service independent manufacturer’s agency known for its state-of-the-art systems engineering, ethical business practices and customer satisfaction. It furnishes equipment, parts and service for all commercial, industrial and institutional heating, ventilating and air-conditioning systems.

Carroll Air Systems Inc. stays ahead of industry standards by recognizing the need for innovative and efficient equipment designs. The company is a pioneer of Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design, an environmentally friendly building certification program established by the U.S. Green Building Council.

The firm’s energy analysis team has provided equipment and expertise for nearly 50 LEED projects. Carroll has sponsored LEED workshops, donating the proceeds from the sessions to the U.S. Green Building Council Florida Coast Chapter.

Under Carroll’s leadership, Carroll Air Systems Inc. has completed numerous large-scale projects throughout the region including Buccaneer Stadium in Tampa, Orlando International Airport, the Apollo Saturn Museum at Kennedy Space Center, the Boston Red Sox new spring training facility, a $4-million project at Walt Disney World’s Hilton Resort, $5 million in contracts at Fort Benning and many more.

In addition to the Tampa office, the company has branches in Fort Myers and Orlando. The common area connecting the five new buildings in the Shelby Center for Engineering Technology is named Carroll Commons for Carroll Air Systems Inc.’s support of Auburn engineering.

Carroll’s service to the industry includes the Florida Engineering Society, the National Society of Professional Engineers and the American Society of Heating, Refrigerating and Air-Conditioning Engineers. In 2004, he received the Engineer of the Year Award from the Florida West Coast Chapter of the American Society of Heating, Refrigerating and Air-Conditioning Engineers.

Carroll received the Distinguished Auburn Engineer Award in 2006. He presently serves on the Auburn Alumni Engineering Council, the Engineering Dean’s Club and the Auburn Athletic Advisory Council. Carroll previously served on the Auburn University National Alumni Board of Directors.

Carroll and Betty live in Tampa, Fla. They are the proud parents of Phillip and David, both graduates of Auburn University. Betty serves as vice president, board secretary and director of Carroll Air Systems Inc. Four years ago, Carroll appointed Phillip president of the firm. David is employed by Carroll Air Systems Inc. in the Orlando office.

Ronald E. Chronister has been a U.S. Army civil servant for more than 30 years, proud of the opportunity to serve with soldiers and families from all of the U.S. uniformed services.

Chronister has held a variety of engineering, logistics and leadership positions during this timeframe and, since August 2012, has served as the deputy to the commander, U.S. Army Space and Missile Defense Command/Army Forces Strategic Command, Redstone Arsenal, responsible, in the support of the commander, for generation of operational space and missile defense capabilities through the integration of operational forces, capability development and materiel development functions within SMDC/ARSTRAT.

Prior to this assignment Chronister served as the deputy to the commanding general, U.S. Army Aviation and Missile Command, Redstone Arsenal, responsible for the day-to-day readiness of the U.S. Army aviation and missile fleets. He has also served in senior-level positions as the executive director, Integrated Materiel Management Center, and Engineering Directorate, Redstone Arsenal. He has been a member of the U.S. Army Senior Executive Service since October 2005.

Chronister’s engineering accomplishments include the development of an affordable manufacturing process for micromechanical electromagnetic systems gyros and accelerometers, the development of low-cost, state-of-the-art composites for Army aviation helicopters and the development of electronic obsolescence programs that saved the Army hundreds of millions of dollars.

He was the architect of the Army aviation and missile prototype integration capability that stood in 2002 as the Prototype Integration Facility, a capability that utilizes existing capabilities to develop lower cost modification solutions to Army helicopters and missile systems.

The results to date include the completion of thousands of projects, from small cable design and assembly to major modifications on all Army helicopter platforms, saving hundreds of millions of dollars but, more importantly, providing rapid response capabilities to soldiers in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Chronister is a proud graduate of The University of Alabama College of Engineering, receiving a Bachelor of Science degree in civil engineering in 1982. He also earned a Master of Science degree in program management from the Naval Post Graduate School, Monterey, Calif., in 2002, graduating with distinction and as the recipient of the Army Scholastic Achievement Award.

He was inducted as a University of Alabama College of Engineering Distinguished Fellow in 2010. Chronister also was the recipient of the 2011 U.S. Army Presidential Rank Award as a Distinguished Executive, the 2011 Secretary of the Army Award for Diversity and Leadership and the 2010 Secretary of the Army Award for Small and Disadvantaged Business Utilization.

Chronister’s greatest, most-prized accomplishments are those associated with leading and mentoring many personnel throughout his career and having the blessing of the positive impact of thousands of soldiers and civilians in his life, each and every one of which having assisted him in becoming the selfless civil servant he has desired to become.

Chronister credits and shares all of his accomplishments with his family: wife, Susan, sons Keith and Kyle, daughter Kelly Davis and her husband, Robert, and parents Eugene and Earnestine Chronister. Chronister resides in Athens with his wife.

From his prominent military career to his leadership in corporate management, James M. Hoskins made significant advances in our nation’s defense programs. Hoskins, chief executive officer and chairman of the board at Scitor Corp., made a name for himself as an engineer and is considered a valuable asset to the intelligence community.

Hoskins graduated from Auburn University with a degree in electrical engineering in 1981. After graduation, he embarked on a distinguished career in the U.S. Air Force as an intelligence officer, ultimately achieving the rank of major. His government and military experience include key assignments at the Air Force Cryptologic Depot, the National Security Agency, the National Reconnaissance Office and the Central Intelligence Agency.

During his tenure, he was nationally recognized for directing several innovative studies of large-scale national space programs guiding the strategic thrusts and future development of some of the nation’s most important national collection architectures.

Hoskins participated in several national-level commissions, including serving as a principal drafter of the 1992 Woolsey Blue Ribbon Panel Report lauded by Congress. In recognition of his many contributions to the intelligence community, he received the Distinguished Intelligence Service Medal from the director of central intelligence, the Bronze Medallion from the director of the National Security Agency and two Defense Superior Service Medals from the secretary of defense.

In 1994, Hoskins joined Scitor Corp., one of the nation’s leading providers of engineering services to the intelligence community, as director of special projects. He quickly advanced in the company becoming president, chief executive officer and chairman of the board. His vision, leadership and experience were a significant factor in growing Scitor’s annual revenue from $16 million to more than $600 million today with more than 1,400 employees.

Additionally, Hoskins was the architect, strategist and leader of a major company restructuring that resulted in moving headquarters and company operations from California to Virginia, leading the way to making Scitor Corp. a 100 percent employee-owned company.

Scitor’s growth and success are a testament to Hoskins’ leadership and expertise. The organization received several awards including recognition from Inc. magazine as a national grand champion for customer satisfaction, the MCI Positive Performer Grand National Award, the Companies as Responsive Employers Award and a top 10 placement on the Fortune magazine list of Best Companies to Work for in America.

Hoskins is a founding member of Auburn Research & Development Institute, a nonprofit organization dedicated to furthering scientific and engineering research in our state and enhancing economic development in our region. He serves on the Auburn Alumni Engineering Council and is a member of the Ginn Society, the Engineering Keystone Society and the Engineering Eagles Society.

In 2006, he was honored with Auburn’s Electrical Engineering Outstanding Alumnus Award. In 2012, he was elected to the board of the Auburn University Foundation.

Hoskins and his wife, Bertha, also an Auburn University graduate, reside in Reston, Va. They are the proud parents of Alexander James, a 2010 Auburn graduate.

John S. Richardson is an outstanding example of the benefits derived by blending an engineering education with business skills and outstanding communication abilities. Whether in the board room, talking with a group of Wall Street analysts or visiting with employees in the field, Richardson is a distinguished business engineer.

Throughout his remarkable career with Energen Resources Corp., Richardson has been a key player in the company’s growth from a small, niche player in coalbed methane development in Alabama to one of the top 25 independent oil and gas producers in the United States and the largest onshore producer in Alabama.

Richardson graduated from The University of Alabama College of Engineering with a bachelor’s degree in mineral engineering in 1980 and a master’s degree in petroleum engineering in 1983. Following graduation, Richardson worked as an engineer with Jim Walter Resources, Shell Western E & P Inc. and AmSouth Bank.

In 1985, Richardson began at Energen Resources Corp. as a production engineer and quickly progressed within the company, serving as manager and general manager of operations, vice president of acquisitions and engineering, executive vice president and chief operating officer.

Currently, as president and chief operating officer of Energen Resources Corp., Richardson is responsible for directing all aspects of the company, including acquisitions, exploration, exploitation and production activities, as well as playing a chief role in determining company strategy. He has recommended and executed the investment of more than $1.9 billion in acquisitions and was instrumental in the subsequent investment of more than $3.5 billion in development capital.

Energen Corp., headquartered in Birmingham, is a growing oil and gas exploration and production company complemented by its legacy natural gas distribution business. The driver of Energen’s long-term growth is its oil and gas exploration and production subsidiary, Energen Resources Corp., headed by Richardson. Energen Resources Corp. has a vested interest that goes beyond the financial aspect to protect the environment and minimize the impact of their operations on the land, water and air.

Energen complies with all applicable laws and regulations and cooperates with local, state and federal agencies in their inspection and enforcement activities. With every business decision made, Energen considers the environmental impact of their actions.

Richardson is active in several professional organizations, including the Society of Petroleum Engineers, the Capstone Engineering Society, the Independent Petroleum Association of America, the Petroleum Technology Transfer Council and the Coalbed Methane Association of Alabama. He is a member of The University of Alabama College of Engineering Leadership Board, the Rotary Club of Birmingham and a past director of the downtown YMCA board of directors.

He also serves as a maturity leader at the Hunter Street Baptist Church. In 2009, Richardson was proclaimed a University of Alabama Distinguished Engineering Fellow and a Distinguished Departmental Fellow of Civil, Construction and Environmental Engineering.

Richardson resides in Hoover with his wife, Suzanne. They are the proud parents of two children, Kristen and Tyler.

Donald W. Vaughn’s career accomplishments at the Alabama Department of Transportation, the largest civil engineering organization in the state, are a tribute to his abilities as an engineer and leader.

Throughout his career of more than 46 years with ALDOT, Vaughn was committed to excellence in transportation and made an enormous impact on the lives of Alabamians. In 2012, he retired as chief engineer and deputy director of the organization.

In 1966, Vaughn began his career with ALDOT as a survey crew member. While working there part time, he earned his bachelor’s degree in civil engineering from Auburn University in 1971. Vaughn has since served as assistant chief engineer, interstate environmental engineer, location engineer, assistant chief of the design bureau, bureau chief of the office engineer bureau and administrative engineer to the transportation director.

He was appointed deputy director in 2003 and named chief engineer in 2005. His career carried him from cutting brush as a young man to cutting costs as the department’s top engineer.

As chief engineer and deputy director, Vaughn directed a program that contracted more than $600 million in construction and maintenance projects each year and was responsible for an additional $135 million in annual routine maintenance operations.

He managed 11,000 miles of highway and more than 5,600 bridges. Vaughn’s foresight helped him identify future financial limitations and make changes to ALDOT’s priorities. With insufficient state and federal funding, he focused available funding on preservation of the state’s transportation infrastructure.

Over his career, Vaughn oversaw some of the state’s largest projects including Corridor X, a $168-million venture with 96 miles of interstate highway from Birmingham to the Mississippi line. He was also involved with the development of major transportation projects such as the Dauphin Island Bridge, the Cochran-Africatown USA Bridge, Interstate 565, Interstate 165 and many more.

He was also intricately involved with industry recruiting efforts that brought Mercedes, Honda, Hyundai and Thyssen Krupp to Alabama. Vaughn established ALDOT’s Office of Environmental Compliance and Office of Highway Safety Operations within the Department of Transportation.

Vaughn was passionate about roadway safety. He was appointed by the Federal Highway Administration to serve as a member of the Congressionally-created Safety Committee to improve the highway safety efforts of FHWA. He served as chair of the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials Safety Management Subcommittee.

As a result of the group’s success, the 1,000-page AASHTO Highway Safety Manual was published in 2010 and immediately became a best seller. The guidebook is being implemented all over the country.

Vaughn is former president of the Alabama Section of the American Society of Civil Engineers and served on several other policy committees of the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials. He served as the first chairman of the University Transportation Center of Alabama and also serves on the advisory board of the department of civil, construction & environmental engineering at the University of Alabama at Birmingham.

Vaughn is a member of Auburn University’s Civil Engineering Industry Liaison Council and was selected as Auburn’s Outstanding Civil Engineer Alumnus in 2009. He retired from the U.S. Naval Reserves Civil Engineer Corps. at the rank of commander.

Vaughn resides in Montgomery with his wife of 43 years, Becki. They have two children and five grandchildren.

D. Dale York, senior principal and chairman of LBYD Inc., has made a permanent impact on the state of Alabama and future generations of engineers. With more than 30 years of experience in structural engineering, York is devoted to the engineering profession and to providing opportunities for others to grow in their careers. He completed more than 650 projects throughout the Southeast and is a registered professional engineer in Alabama and 14 other states.

After graduating high school in Montgomery, York enrolled in Auburn University. He found a mentor in Rex Rainer, head of Auburn’s department of civil engineering at the time, and developed a passion for civil engineering. York’s desire to help others advance in their careers stems from the mentoring and friendship he received from Rainer. In 1976, York earned a bachelor’s degree in civil engineering and immediately began pursuing a master’s degree, graduating in 1978.

Immediately after graduation, York joined Lane/Bishop/Hodnett Inc. He quickly climbed the ranks of the company and was promoted to an associate five years later. In 1987, York was invited into the firm as a stockholder and principal, and the company was renamed LaneBishopYorkDelahay Inc. York was instrumental in the company’s growth to one of the largest providers of civil and structural engineering services in the Southeast.

In 2006, while York was senior principal and president, LBYD Inc. was inducted into the State of Alabama Engineering Hall of Fame.

York is committed to serving and giving back to his profession through his involvement in several engineering councils and organizations. He served as national director, president and vice president of the American Council of Engineering Companies of Alabama; president of the Coalition of American Structural Engineers Alabama Chapter; president of the Joint Engineering Council of Alabama; and chairman, vice chairman and treasurer of the Samuel Ginn College of Engineering Alumni Council.

York has also served as state representative for the National Council of Structural Engineers Association and as director of the American Concrete Institute Central Alabama Chapter. He was a member of the Alabama Building Code Study Commission, a group charged with recommending changes to the state building code. York was also a member of the committee responsible for suggesting amendments to the Alabama State Board of Licensure for Professional Engineers and Land Surveyors.

York was presented with the Young Engineer of the Year award by the American Society of Civil Engineers in 1986. In 2004, he was recognized as Engineer of the Year by the American Council of Engineering Companies of Alabama and proclaimed an ACEC Fellow in 2010. Auburn University honored York with the Samuel Ginn College of Engineering Civil Engineering Outstanding Alumnus Award in 2006.

York and his wife, Happy, live in Birmingham. They are the parents of Sarah and Elliott, who are graduates of Auburn University.

Hargrove Engineers + Constructors will be honored in the corporations category, joining 29 other corporations inducted into the Alabama Engineering Hall of Fame since 1987.

The firm advances Alabama’s reputation and economy through quality engineering services, sustainable development and high-tech jobs. Recognized in 2007 by Inc. magazine as one of the top 500 fastest-growing privately held companies in the United States, Hargrove grew from a small company to a large-scale operation with more than 675 teammates in eight office locations across the Southeast, including Mobile, Decatur and Birmingham. The Hargrove team completed more than 4,500 projects for more than 600 clients.

In 1995, Ralph A. Hargrove opened Hargrove Engineers + Constructors in the attic of his home in Mobile. As business opportunities increased, Ralph realized the need for specialized technical services, quality engineering services and project management services in industry.

Hargrove quickly became the engineering firm of choice for its customers and holds Certificates of Authorization to provide engineering development, design, construction and technical consulting services in 22 states and jurisdictions in the southeastern United States and the Caribbean. With nearly 500 teammates in Alabama now, Hargrove is the state’s largest privately owned heavy industrial engineering firm and generates more than $40 million annually in payroll for Alabama citizens.

Hargrove Engineers + Constructors serves the client’s best interest by providing the “Right People… in the Right Place…at the Right Time.” Hargrove teammates who worked previously for client companies apply their knowledge of client operational, production and maintenance needs in order to build timely and cost-effective design solutions with safety in design, constructability and operational efficiency.

Hargrove equips the Right People with the right skills and training to provide the best services needed in today’s competitive markets. Hargrove was named on Engineering News Record magazine’s List of Top Design Firms in 2012, and its Best Practices Training Initiative received recognition from the Construction Industry Institute.

Professionally, the company affiliates with the Construction Industry Institute, the American Society of Safety Engineers, the Associated Builders and Contractors and the Associated General Contractors of America, among others. Personally, teammates invest in and develop the communities in which they work by partnering with local charities, chambers of commerce and downtown alliances.

They mentor future engineers by sponsoring engineering and science programs, internships and scholarship programs such as Distinguished Young Women, which was birthed in Mobile years ago.

Hargrove Engineers + Constructors is proud to compete in modern markets for Alabama’s continued growth and stability.

The following projects will join the 36 projects already inducted into the Hall of Fame:

Located at Plant Barry near Mobile, 25 Megawatt Carbon Capture and Storage Demonstration is the world’s largest fully integrated coal-fired carbon capture and sequestration facility. The project uses groundbreaking technology to reduce carbon dioxide emissions.

The CO2 capture project at Plant Barry, owned by Southern Company subsidiary Alabama Power, is designed to capture more than 150,000 tons of carbon dioxide annually with a capture rate of more than 90 percent. Launched in August 2011, the operation demonstrates electric utilities using coal to generate electricity with a much smaller impact on the environment.

Construction of the project was equally as distinguished. In an effort to lower construction risk and increase efficiency, the project used a modular construction strategy, building the facility off-site using smaller pieces. Alabama’s Black Warrior River was used to transport the modules to the plant. The carbon capture operation resides on a 1-acre site with more than 35,000 feet of pipe.

Carbon dioxide is captured using the KM CDR Process capture technology, developed by Mitsubishi Heavy Industries Ltd. The carbon from a 25-megawatt slip of flue gas reacts with an amine solvent before being captured, isolated and compressed into a liquid, preparing it for pipeline transport.

Captured carbon dioxide is supplied from the plant to the Southeast Regional Carbon Sequestration Partnership. They transport the carbon by pipeline and inject it 9,500 feet underground at a site within the Citronelle Oil Field. Operated by Denbury Resources, the site is located 11 miles from the plant. The carbon dioxide remains below the surface, permanently stored in a deep saline geologic formation.

In 2010, Southern Company started a test of capturing carbon dioxide from Plant Yates, one of its subsidiary power plants. The pilot-scale project at Plant Yates provided additional process improvements before the technology was demonstrated at the larger 25-megawatt scale at Plant Barry.

Carbon injection will take place over two years at a rate of up to 550 tons per day. Several monitoring technologies are in place to track the injected CO2, measure the pressure front, evaluate trapping mechanisms and ensure the carbon dioxide remains in the formation.

Injection operations are slated to end in 2014. The site will be closed in 2017 following three years of post-injection monitoring. The project is an initiative associated with the U.S. Department of Energy’s Regional Carbon Sequestration Partnership Phase III program.

A potential follow-up project would leverage the investment at Plant Barry and Citronelle for enhanced oil recovery. In the recovery process, the carbon behaves like a gas and a fluid and is pumped into deeper mineral formulations to drive out oil. This will minimize the need for new drilling on protected lands, while reducing global warming pollution by sequestering large amounts of industrial-produced carbon dioxide underground.

Partners of Plant Barry include Southern Company, Mitsubishi Heavy Industries Ltd., U.S. Department of Energy, Denbury Resources, Electric Power Research Institute, Southeast Regional Carbon Sequestration Partnership, Burlington Northern, Parker Towing, Norfolk Southern, Southern Natural Gas and National Energy Technology Laboratory.

Talladega Superspeedway, NASCAR’s longest, fastest, steepest and most competitive racetrack provides the ultimate racing experience. Records for speed and competition have been established at Talladega. If stock-car racing is an extreme sport, Talladega Superspeedway is undoubtedly its most extreme venue. After more than 40 years, the engineering at the Superspeedway is still considered extraordinary and is the ruler in which all other racetracks are measured.

In 1967, William H. France partnered with William W. Moss, a University of Alabama College of Engineering graduate, and his company to design and build a big brother to France’s speedway in Daytona Beach. Talladega emerged as the top choice among several possible sites in the Southeast, with the main criteria for selection being availability of land, access to the interstate and a population base of at least 20 million people within 300 miles.

The $4-million project was opened in 1969 as Alabama International Motor Speedway and renamed Talladega Superspeedway in 1989. The first event held was the ‘BAMA 400 Grand Touring Race on Sept. 13, 1969.

The track is 2.66 miles long, four lanes wide and banked 33 degrees on each end, with 18-degree banking in the tri-oval. The backstretch is nearly 4,000 feet long and stock cars have reached speeds in excess of 220 mph in competition. The grandstands seat 112,000 and the 240-acre infield holds many thousands more.

The speed at Talladega Superspeedway is so high that it is one of only two racetracks on the NASCAR circuit that force teams to use a restrictor plate limiting the engine’s horsepower to restrict their top speeds. There is an interesting aerodynamic side effect of this restriction; it allows two cars running together to go much faster than a single car. As a result, Talladega Superspeedway races frequently have a large pack of cars running just inches away from each other.

Safety at Talladega Superspeedway is enhanced by steel and foam energy reduction barriers on all four turns, the tri-oval and the inside retaining wall of the backstretch. Because of its excellent driving conditions, the Superspeedway is used for automotive testing and photo shoots for films and television.

Talladega Superspeedway holds the NASCAR records for number of lead changes, number of different leaders and number of passes on the track during an event, as well as fastest qualifying speed and fastest average race speed.

According to an economic impact study, Talladega Superspeedway’s total economic impact is $407 million annually for the state and region. Races and other activities at the track result in $149 million of labor income for workers throughout Alabama each year, benefiting workers in all sectors of the state’s economy. The Superspeedway accounts for 11 percent of all tourism revenue in the state. During the two race weekends each year, 83 percent of a 2-cent rural sales tax in Talladega County is collected.

The track currently hosts NASCAR’s Sprint Cup Series, Nationwide Series and the Camping World Truck Series.

The Hall of Fame is overseen by engineering colleges and schools at Auburn University, Alabama A&M University, The University of Alabama, Tuskegee University, University of Alabama at Birmingham, University of Alabama in Huntsville and University of South Alabama. It is administratively managed through the UA College of Engineering.


Adam Jones, engineering public relations, 205/348-6444,

The University of Alabama, part of The University of Alabama System, is the state’s flagship university. UA shapes a better world through its teaching, research and service. With a global reputation for excellence, UA provides an inclusive, forward-thinking environment and nearly 200 degree programs on a beautiful, student-centered campus. A leader in cutting-edge research, UA advances discovery, creative inquiry and knowledge through more than 30 research centers. As the state’s largest higher education institution, UA drives economic growth in Alabama and beyond.