TALLADEGA, AL – William (Bill) W. Moss, whose engineering and construction company (Moss-Thornton Company) was instrumental in assisting William H.G. France in the creation of Talladega Superspeedway in 1969, passed away this past Saturday. A memorial service will be held Saturday, Jan. 28 (2 PM CST) at Canterbury Methodist Church in Birmingham, AL for the 81 year-old.
While racing cars as an amateur in the late 1950s, Moss, who received a B.S. degree in civil engineering from the University of Alabama, met France, the founder of NASCAR. A few years later in 1963, Moss, joined the family engineering business – known for building interstate highway projects, as well as industrial, railway and navigation endeavors.
France had a vision to create the largest, steepest and fastest superspeedway in the world, just 40 miles outside of Birmingham and 90 miles from Atlanta (GA). He enlisted the help of Moss to help design and build a smooth, 2.66-mile, 33-degree banked venue that would see 200-plus mph speeds. Using cranes to aid in keeping the equipment (graders, pavers, bulldozers, etc.) on the mammoth steeped banks, Alabama International Motor Speedway was created in just over a year (groundbreaking May 23, 1968).
The unique palace of speed – which later became Talladega Superspeedway – held its first NASCAR race on Sept. 14, 1969 with Richard Brickhouse taking the checkered flag. Today, Talladega Superspeedway is a household name and serves as NASCAR’s Most Competitive track featuring three- and four-wide heart-pounding racing action.
As a symbol of his contribution to Talladega Superspeedway, the Moss-Thornton Grandstand and Moss-Thornton Tower overlook Talladega’s famous start-finish line which sits near the entrance of turn one, distinguishing the track unlike others.
“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 was also a key player in the International Motorsports Hall of Fame – another vision of France – which today sits adjacent to Talladega Superspeedway. He was a commission member when ground was broken for the venue in 1981. He was vice chairman of the Hall for more than a quarter century, heading its construction committee and serving as Treasurer. The Hall, which opened in 1983, is dedicated to the preservation of the history of motorsports.
Moss and the Moss-Thornton Company – now known as Moss Enterprises, INC., which he became president of in 1973, was also a contributor to the design and construction of other NASCAR venues, as well as other race tracks around the world.