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The 2009 NASCAR wound down with a stop over at the AMP Energy 500 at the legendary Talladega Superspeedway in the rolling ridges of the southern Appalachian Mountains. For Mopar fans, it was not the second place finish by outgoing driver Kasey Kahne in the Budweiser Dodge, nor the debut of the new Challenger for Nationwide Series competition next year (though both those things were pretty cool). Nope, it was the wing car anniversary that got things jumping.
That is because once every five years the Daytona / Superbird Auto Club hosts a truly unique commemoration of the event that opened the fabled track. Despite a driver’s walkout, Big Bill France saw to it the fans got a show, and they watched Richard Brickhouse drive the Ray Nichols Engineering #99 Daytona to victory there. Indeed, Dodges took home the first four positions.
Since being founded in 1975, the club has helped maintain the heritage of the winged warriors by supporting a parade lap on Sunday at the fall race at Talladega. This year, with many Torino Talladegas and Mercury Spoilers also in attendance (the club now is dedicated to all of the Detroit NASCAR aero specials of the time), over 100 vehicles were on hand for the event.
A special thanks needs to go to Tim and Pam Wellborn, who hosted the attendees twice over the weekend, once at their estate-like home and again at their new Musclecar Museum, both in the town of Alexander City. We will look close at the museum in an upcoming issue as it is a Mopar wonderland; this month, let’s take a look at the celebration of speed that happened.