Helton: Talladega races still have big impact

By: Associated Press
By: Associated Press

BIRMINGHAM, Ala. -- Mike Helton has seen Talladega Superspeedway's capacity expand in boom times and shrink along with the crowds at one of NASCAR's signature tracks.

The NASCAR president ran the Alabama track for about four years through 1993, when seating capacity was around 47,000. It ballooned to 140,000, not counting the infield. But with dwindling crowds, it's at 78,000 now.

Helton says, "Talladega has done a very nice job trying to figure all that out."

Talladega Superspeedway chairman Grant Lynch, team owner Richard Childress and Helton pitched the virtues of the sport and the famed track to Birmingham-area business representatives on Thursday.

Lynch says it's been tough dealing with the downturn since the 2008 recession. He says the track has spent $68 million in recent years improving the facility.

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