The historic track turned to a symbolic and meaningful ceremony to prepare for welcoming thousands of race fans to this weekend's events.
Courtesy: NASCAR Media Relations
TALLADEGA, Ala. – Strange occurrences and urban legends have swirled around Talladega Superspeedway since its inception 40 years ago. But instead of focusing on rumors and myths during its Halloween race weekend, the historic track turned to a much more symbolic and meaningful ceremony to prepare for welcoming thousands of race fans. Creek Medicine Man Robert Thrower performed a traditional Native American blessing ceremony today on the start-finish line and asked for balance to be restored to the land.
“Most everything in Native American belief is about keeping balance,” said Thrower. “Sometimes people and places can get out of balance and that unbalance may be perceived as something bad. What we did today was bless the track and ask for reconciliation so that balance can be restored. “
Thrower comes from the Poarch Band of Creek Indians. He has been a traditional medicine man for nine years, and his family has a long history of performing traditional medicine. His great-grandmother was the last tribal medicine woman.
The ceremony was opened with Thrower offering a prayer in his native Muscogee language. He then asked for reconciliation and the restoration of balance while burning a collection of ceremonial offerings in a small bowl. The ceremony was then closed with another prayer.
“It was a very moving ceremony,” said Talladega Superspeedway President Rick Humphrey. “It’s like Mr. Thrower said, sometimes things just need to be brought back into balance. With the controversy that surrounded Talladega when we first opened, it’s a possibility that there has always been some unbalance here. I’m confident in saying that after this ceremony however, we don’t have to worry about that anymore and we are looking forward to a great AMP Energy 500 race weekend. “
In 2009, Talladega Superspeedway proudly celebrates forty years of the most competitive racing in NASCAR. While the track has seen changes made to the cars that circle its high-banks, the surface that they race on and the grandstands that thousands of fans fill twice a year, one constant remains; Talladega Superspeedway is authentic NASCAR racing at its finest.