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NASCAR’s Talladega trophies highlight Alabama icon

Birmingham's iconic Vulcan statue will be front and center at Talladega this weekend as part of the winners' trophies for all three races.

Last fall, a new Talladega tradition began.

It was the awarding on the Vulcan trophy, designed and created at Sloss Furnaces in Birmingham. It features Vulcan, the Roman god for fire and forge, with his hammer and anvil.

It’s identical to the Vulcan statue that overlooks Birmingham, a center for iron production for almost 100 years. Ground to spear tip, he’s 180 feet tall and weighs 101,200 pounds.

The Talladega trophies, while miniatures by comparison, are still imposing in their own right, cast of solid iron.

The Geico 500 Vulcan Trophy is 3 feet tall and weighs nearly 100 pounds.

The General Tire 200 Hammer & Anvil Trophy and Sparks Energy 300 Hammer & Anvil Trophy, with the addition of an electrical lineman, each stand more than 30 inches tall and top 50 pounds.

All three trophies are the conception of Marshall Christie, the Director of Metal Arts at Sloss Furnaces in Birmingham, and Lead Sculptor/Artist in Residence Ajene Williams. Josh Coker of Technical Metalworks, created the stainless plinths for the bases.

Sloss Furnaces, with its web of furnaces, pipes and tall smokestacks, serves as an interpretive museum of industry and hosts the nationally recognized Metal Arts program.