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1919 Indy Car
1919 Indy Car Photo courtesy International Motorsports Hall of Fame

International Motorsports Hall of Fame

Opened in Talladega, Alabama, in the spring of 1983, the International Motorsports Hall of Fame was founded by Bill France, who was also the founder of NASCAR and its president from 1949 to 1972. The mission of the International Motorsports Hall of Fame is to preserve the history of motor sports on a worldwide basis and to enshrine those who have been responsible for its growth. A museum which is part of the Hall of Fame complex, located next to the world-famous Talladega Superspeedway, includes over 125 racing vehicles in mint condition, valued well into the millions of dollars. The complex also includes a main rotunda which houses the ticket and administrative offices for both the Talladega Superspeedway and the International Motorsports Hall of Fame & Museum; a gift shop; and the McCaig-Wellborn International Motorsports Research Library, which has space for 14,000 volumes, magazines, and other research materials and a computerized system that will be able to provide a complete history of every major race car driver.

The centerpiece of the complex is the Mark III Pavilion, a spacious covered paved courtyard which is used for temporary displays and car shows. On display in the Bill France, Sr. Room, the Enoch Staley Room, and the 76 Building are numerous famous race cars. Most in the 76 Building, which houses the Hall of Fame itself, have been owned, built, or driven by Hall of Fame drivers. A popular exhibit is the Budweiser Rocket Car. Resembling a missile on wheels, this red, white and blue vehicle, more than 39 feet long and just 20 inches wide, could accelerate from 1 mph to 140 mph in just one second. On December 17, 1979, it broke the sound barrier at the Edwards Air Force Base in California, with a record run of 739.666 miles per hour.

An annual induction ceremony, inducting drivers in the Motorsports Hall of Fame, is now held in the Speedvision Dome, opening in 1996 and the largest building in the Hall of Fame Complex. The class of 2000 inductees are a remarkable group of drivers that include Mario Andretti, Craig Breedlove, A.J. Foyt, Nelson Piquet, Don Prudhomme, and Ayrton Senna.

In addition to the International Motorsports Hall of Fame, the complex is home to seven additional Halls of Fame, including the Automobile Racing Club of America Hall of National Champions and the Alabama Sports Writers Hall of Fame.

Project documentation includes five pages of text, 17 8 x 10 color photographs, a list of Hall of Fame inductees by year, and a brochure.

Originally submitted by: Bob Riley, Representative (3rd District).

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The Local Legacies project provides a "snapshot" of American Culture as it was expressed in spring of 2000. Consequently, it is not being updated with new or revised information with the exception of "Related Website" links.

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