Alabamans are known as avid sports fans, and the Metropolit an Region affords opportunities to see premier athletic competitions in any season. Some of the most heated contests take place at the collegiate level, as the schools in the area all field a number of top-notch teams in a variety of sports. Here are some of the other professional-and semi-professional sports in central Alabama.
The grace and beauty of the greyhound at full sprint is matched only by the excitement generated in a heated race, and all of this is on display 52 times a year at the Birmingham Race Course. Located north of Birmingham's core on I-459, the course simulcasts hundreds of greyhound and thoroughbred races to compliment the live racing action. Admission to the course is free (you must age 19 or older to be admitted).
Originally built in 1969, the Talladega Speedway has had great success drawing large crowds of enthusiastic auto racing fans. The course hosts races for the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series, the NASCAR Busch Series, and the Automobile Racing Club of America. The 2.66-mile tri-oval course incorporates 33-degree banked north and south turns, and an 18-degree baked turn at the grandstands. Talladega has the capacity for over 143,000 seated guests and thousands more on the 212-acre infield.
Fast and furious, arena football is a sport unlike any other. The Birmingham Steeldogs, members of the arenafootball2 league, bring this high-scoring display of strength and skill before thousands of loyal fans at BJCC Arena. Almost as popular as the Steeldogs themselves is the Showsteelers dance team, which has won afl2's "Dance Team of the Year" award four years in a row.
The Birmingham Barons have been a part of the city's love affair with America's pastime since 1885, when the Barons played in the Southern Leagues during the very first years of baseball. The city has shown strong support for the hometown team ever since. The team began minor-league affiliation with the Chicago White Sox in 1985, and since that time has been graced by future stars such as Frank Thomas, Jack McDowell and Bo Jackson. In 1994 basketball legend Michael Jordan tried his hand at baseball, and his presence on the Barons' roster helped shatter fan attendance records for the club. For most of their history the Barons played at historic Rickwood Field, but in 1988 the team moved to a larger home at the Hoover Metropolitan Stadium.
Located 85 miles west of Birmingham in Eutaw, Alabama, Greenetrack simulcasts greyhound and thoroughbred races from over 40 tracks across the country. In addition the 24-hour facility has over 1,500 Las Vegas gaming machines and a full service restaurant featuring a buffet of southern cuisine.
The NASCAR Silicon Motor Speedway gives guests the chance to experience the thrills ands speed of racing a 750 horsepower stock car. The full movement and visuals of these full-motion simulators will test your driving skills and your nerves. Behind the wheel, you can feel everything from the centrifugal force of deep turns to the bump of other cars jockeying for position to the jarring impact of a full-fledged crash. The NASCAR Silicon Motor Speedway is located at the Riverchase Galleria in Hoover, off I-459.