7 things you didn’t know about the Talladega NASCAR race’s Vulcan Trophy

Chris Teague

Chris Teague

Ryan Blaney, driver of the #12 Menards/Sylvania Ford, celebrates in Victory Lane after winning the NASCAR Cup Series GEICO 500 at Talladega Superspeedway on June 22, 2020 in Talladega, Alabama.

The Vulcan Trophy is presented to the winner of each of NASCAR’s top-tier Cup Series races – one in the spring, one in the autumn. Television broadcasts usually show the trophy a few times throughout the race, then when the champion is in the winner’s circle in Victory Lane. It’s worth taking a closer look at.

The trophy is more than two-and-a-half times taller than a bowling pin.

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The Vulcan Trophy stands 38 inches tall(26 inches Vulcan, 13 inches base), but it’s not the biggest of the NASCAR trophies. The Harley J. Earl Trophy, which is given the winner of the Daytona 500, is four feet tall and five feet wide.

It’s also heavy, weighing in at 130 pounds.

Kyle Larson Las Vegas Speedway 2021

Photo by Brian Lawdermilk/Getty Images

The Vulcan Trophy weighs just about as much as NASCAR driver Kyle Larson, who is listed on Wikipedia as being 135 pounds.

The Vulcan on the trophy is holding three items with ties to mining history. 

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Birmingham was founded in 19871 and is unique because its land contains coal, iron ore, and limestone – the raw materials for making iron and steel. This is the inspiration for the items the Vulcan is holding.

According to NASCAR, “His hammer and anvil that he used in his forge (shop where metal is heated and hammered into useful items) and the spear, which is a piece of his completed work that he held high and admired. For the winners of Saturday’s doubleheader – the General Tire 200 for the ARCA Menards Series and the Ag-Pro 300 for the NASCAR Xfinity Series, they will receive the smaller Hammer & Anvil Trophy.”

The trophy is a miniature version of a famous statue.

Vulcan Statue Birmingham

Photo by Hulton Archive/Getty Images

Just 45 minutes west of Talladega Superspeedway is the City of Birmingham, Alabama. At the Vulcan Park Museum there, atop Red Mountain, a 56-foot tall Vulcan statue is fastened to a 124-foot platform. It’s the largest cast-iron statue in the world. Vulcan pays homage to the God of Fire in Ancient Roman mythology. It has stood overlooking the city since the 1930s.

The trophy is crafted by hand.

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The trophy is handcrafted by artists from Sloss Furnaces in Birmingham, Alabama. Sloss Furnaces was once the largest manufacturer of pig iron in the world now it’s a National Historic Landmark.

To construct the trophy, sculptors start with an original wax pattern. A rubber mold is designed and molded in sand. Hot, melted iron is poured into the mold. After it cools, the iron pieces are removed from the sand mold.

Those pieces are then finished, a process that includes torches removing moisture from the iron. A was finish and clear coat is applied before a final brush up.

The Vulcan Trophy only goes back to 2016.

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Team Penske driver Joey Logano was the inaugural recipient of the Vulcan Trophy after he won at the superspeedway in 2016. “I was pumped to be the first driver to win one,” Logano said. “Trophies are one of the best parts of what we do, and some of them are just cooler and more special because of what they are. Talladega Superspeedway nailed it when they had the Vulcan Trophy made.”

The speedway’s history with the Vulcan goes back farther.

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In 1969, one month after the running of the first NASCAR Cup Series race at the 2.66-mile speedway, the ARCA series took to the track in the Vulcan 500, a race named after the famous statue.

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