Talladega Superspeedway, originally known as Alabama International Motor Superspeedway (AIMS), is a motorsports complex located north of Talladega, Alabama. It is located on the former Anniston Air Force Base in the small city of Lincoln. The track is a Tri-oval and was constructed by International Speedway Corporation, a business controlled by the France Family, in the 1960s. Talladega is most known for its steep banking and the unique location of the start/finish line – located just past the exit to pit road. The track currently hosts the NASCAR series such as the Sprint Cup Series, Xfinity Series, and the Camping World Truck Series. Talladega Superspeedway is the longest NASCAR oval with a length of 2.66 miles (4.28 km), and the track at its peak had a seating capacity of 175,000 spectators.
Jeff Gordon was the most favored driver to enter this racing event just prior to the actual running. However, he would not rack up his first victory until the 1994 Coca-Cola 600, where Gordon would be referred to by Dale Earnhardt as the “Wonder Boy”. It was the ninth race of the 1994 NASCAR Winston Cup Series season. During the race, a scary crash occurred after halfway when Mark Martin‘s #6 car, without brakes, hit the inside retaining wall and crashed through two guardrails, through a catchfence and into a third guardrail. He was only slightly injured.
At the end of this 190-minute race, Earnhardt would beat pole-sitter Ernie Irvan by less than 0.10 seconds. The strongly-favored Gordon would finish in 24th, finishing four laps behind the lead-lap vehicles. Earnhardt would later dedicate his win to fallen Formula One driver Ayrton Senna, who died earlier in the day (European Time) at the San Marino Grand Prix while leading. Senna’s death was announced during this race.
Winnings for this race varied from the winner’s portion of $94,865 ($165,641.02 when considering inflation) to the last-place finisher’s paycheck of $8,720 ($15,225.74 when considering inflation).