Raceway as Manager: At Talladega, the Superspeedway is primary tenant, FBO, and administrator

Managing Air Raceway as manager: At Talladega, the Superspeedway is primary tenant, FBO, and administrator By John F. Infanger, Editorial Director At Talladega, the Superspeedway is primary tenant, FBO, and administrator...

"We get the profit from the fuel sales and split the hangar rental fees," explains Lynch. "That's pretty much it in terms of revenues."

An industrial park sits on airport property and is home to a military truck refurbishing company, a firm that manufactures industrial pallets, a Harley-Davidson research and development facility, a restaurant, and a service station, among others.

The International Motorsports Hall of Fame & Museum, which also houses the Superspeedway offices, sits on some 20 acres donated to the state by the speedway.
On race weekend, the airport handles some 700 takeoffs and landings, according to Lynch, along with some 30,000 campers. "It's fans, teams, sponsors, helicopter shuttle services from Birmingham - it's all race-related," he says.

The speedway is also popular with race teams year-round, says Lynch, and the airport is one of the key reasons why. "It certainly makes it easy for the teams to come in and test during non-race time," he explains. "They can send their car down the night before in a big hauler, and the testing team can jump in the plane in Concord [NC] and be here in 45 minutes. Then they test all day long and fly home."

A 12-member airport board, appointed by the city, oversees the operation of the airport, with the speedway allowed one representative. Miller says the airport operates in the black and generates enough revenue for matching funds for capital improvements. On tap for 2004 is installation of an ILS and widening of the taxiway, says Miller.

"A Myriad of Other Aircraft"

Ronnie Franklin, president of the Race Team Aviation Association, spearheads an initiative to communicate to ATC and airports the impact of the racing
community on the air transportation system.

Franklin, who serves as the corporate pilot for driver Joe Nemechek's Citation II (pictured), estimates that there are some 120 corporate aircraft used on any given weekend by NASCAR/ Nextex Cup Series (formerly Winston Cup) race teams. He relates that aircraft used by drivers and their teams range from 737s to Citations to Jetstream 31s, along with some 56 King Airs and "a myriad of other aircraft."

On the ground, Franklin estimates that a typical race weekend sees some 300 car rentals by NASCAR teams, and a total of some 3,000 auto rentals can be directly attributed to the race. He says that a typical race weekend will account for some 40,000 in fuel gallons sold.

RTAA was formed, he says, in conjunction with the National Business Aviation Association in an effort to better communicate with air traffic control and airports. "There is a group of us that will go to the airports, the FBOs, and the air traffic control centers prior to the race so they have a good idea of what they can expect," he says.

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