Twenty years ago, I had the chance to try out the high-speed, high-banked thrill ride that is the Talladega Superspeedway in Alabama.
The storied NASCAR track is a 2.6-mile (4.2 km) oval with 33-degree banked turns that hold your vehicle on a sickeningly steep pitch.
Oxymoron: Subaru Forester on a racetrack
I wasn’t in a Ford, Chevrolet, Dodge, or Toyota. No, I was clinging for dear life to the steering wheel of a 2003 Subaru Forester. Weird, I know, to think of a tall crossover hurtling its way around NASCAR’s fastest track.
In 2002, Subaru of America had asked us to help put together the media launch of the re-designed Forester, first introduced in 1997.
Alabama was chosen as the spot to do that, with the Talladega National Forest offering the ‘Forest’ part of the equation.
As for the addition of the NASCAR track as a stop along the route, I guess Subaru figured that if the Forester could maintain its stability on the crazy banked turns of Talladega, surely the average consumer could take the Forester off the beaten path with complete confidence.
I think I can safely state that no Forester owner would ever take their vehicle on a track. Ever. But, at the time, it was a cool claim to make.
Twenty years on and the Forester is one of Subaru’s top sellers, sharing that spotlight with the larger Outback.
A breezy, bright cabin with more interior space than its larger sibling, the ‘unsporty’ but sure-footed Forester may be more at home in the forest than on the Talladega Superspeedway but, 20 years ago, it sure had good visit.