Bill Moss, who assisted Bill France with creation of Talladega Superspeedway, passes away

William (Bill) W. Moss, co-founder of Moss-Thornton Company, the construction company that helped Bill France in the creation of Talladega Superspeedway in 1969, passed away Saturday at age 81.

A memorial service will be held on Saturday, Jan. 28 at 2 p.m. CT at Canterbury Methodist Church in Birmingham, Alabama.

“Bill Moss has been an integral part of Talladega Superspeedway and the International Motorsports Hall of Fame since the inception of both facilities.” said Grant Lynch, Chairman of Talladega Superspeedway. “We all lost a man who poured a lot of heart and soul into both entities. All of us here at Talladega are indebted to his vision and efforts he put in here at the speedway.”

Moss played a vital role in creating the 2.66-mile, 33-degree banked oval, as Bill France had a vision to make the largest, steepest and fastest superspeedway in the world, and Moss made the dream a reality.

Named Alabama International Motor Speedway in its earlier years, the track was built in just over a year after groundbreaking on May 23, 1968.

He also helped with the International Motorsports Hall of Fame, which sits adjacent from the speedway. Moss worked as a commission member when ground was broken in 1981 and continued as Vice Chairman of the Hall for more than 25 years after its opening in 1983.

The track’s first NASCAR race was held on Sept. 14, 1969, but many of the sport’s stars in the Professional Driver Association, led by seven-time champion Richard Petty, boycotted the event due to the lack of tire grip. Other drivers included in the boycott included David Pearson, Bobby and Donnie Allison, LeeRoy and Cale Yarborough, Wendell Scott, Buddy Baker, Jack Ingram and Tiny Lund, among others.

Bobby Isaac started on pole for the race and the field was completed by other drivers, including car owner Richard Childress. Richard Brickhouse went on to win the inaugural race, serving as the only NASCAR Cup Series victory of his career.

Despite the shaky start, Talladega has turned into a fan-favorite on the Cup circuit twice a year.

The track, as well as the culture and traditions that surround it, are unlike any other in NASCAR. Moss will always be remembered as one of the key pioneers that made it all happen.