A NASCAR fan has landed his “dream” project — to oversee the biggest renovation to Talladega Superspeedway since it was built in 1968-69.
Gary Merriman, a senior superintendent for Hoar Construction, is overseeing the $50 million Transformation Infield Project at the 2.66-mile venue. The project, presented by Graybar, consists of a complete infield makeover, including more than 140,000 square feet of social and engagement areas and the Talladega Garage Experience, which includes 35,000 square feet for the Open Air Social Club, four new Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series garages, an all new Gatorade Victory Lane, Kids Zone, Game Zone and a host of other amenities.
“I think this job is really neat, extra special for me personally,” said Merriman, who is a third-generation dirt track racer who had hopes of competing in NASCAR when he was younger. “I look forward to seeing how the fans interact with the drivers through the new Talladega Garage Experience. For so long in this sport the drivers have kind of been off limits. The teams have been off limits. The garages have been off limits. It’s going to allow fans to get a different view of racing that they’ve never seen before, and I for one can’t wait.”
The project is part of the venue’s 50th anniversary celebration and is to be complete by the October races.
Merriman, along with the rest of the construction crew, began working on the infield project on April 28. After three months of construction, the steel is erected on all 10 of the new structures and the exterior roofs and skins have been applied on all the buildings.
“This is the most fast-paced job I’ve been a part of. We’re on schedule,” Merriman said. “We’ve got a very short time frame between the April race and the October race to build a lot of construction in a short amount of time, but we will have it done and ready for the fans.”