Rocket Car Roars Into the Imagination at International Motorsports Hall of Fame and Museum

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    Appearing to be more missile than car, the Budweiser Rocket Car at the International Motorsports Hall of Fame and Museum (IMHOF) is one fast machine. It’s also a “must see” exhibit for visitors.

    Powered by a 48,000 horsepower V-4 hydrogen peroxide rocket and 12,000 horsepower Sidewinder missile, the rocket car streaked to phenomenal speeds in 1979. While its official top speed is up for debate, there is no doubt that it reached well over 700 mph.

    Stan Barrett, a Hollywood stuntman and part-time NASCAR competitor at the time, held the reigns as he and the Budweiser crew attempted to be the first land vehicle to break the sound barrier.

    Visitors to the IMHOF will be amazed at the tight confines Barrett worked in during his speed run. While the rocket car is over 39 feet long, it is only 20 inches wide. Barrett dealt with over 5 g’s of force during acceleration. And accelerate it did! The car was capable of going 0-140 mph in one second, with 400 mph coming in only three seconds.

    “The Budweiser Rocket Car is one of our most popular exhibits at the International Motorsports Hall of Fame and Museum,” said Talladega Superspeedway President and IMHOF Executive Director Rick Humphrey. “Of all our exhibits, I think this is the one that really stirs the imagination. Most people can picture themselves driving a stock car or IndyCar, but it takes a real daredevil to say you would strap yourself to a rocket and try to go Mach One.”

    Visitors to the International Motorsports Hall of Fame and Museum will find the rocket car in the Union 76 building.

    Opened in April of 1983, the International Motorsports Hall of Fame and Museum is dedicated to the preservation of the history of motorsports. It is open to the public from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., 7 days a week with the exception of major holidays (Thanksgiving, Christmas, New Year’s Day and Easter). Admission to the museum is $10 for adults, $5 for kids age 7 to 17 and free for kids age 6 and younger. Combo packages that include both tours of the museum and Talladega Superspeedway are $12 for adults, $8 for kids age 7 to 17 and free for kids age 6 and younger.

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