History of Texas Motor Speedway

Texas Motor Speedway
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The speedway has been managed since its inception by racing promoter Eddie Gossage until June 2021 when he stepped down from the position of track president, citing retirement from motorsports management.

Based on qualifying speeds in 2004, 2005, and 2006 (with Brian Vickers shattering the qualifying record at Texas with a speed of 196.235 mph (315.810 km/h) in the 2006 Dickies 500 qualifying), the Texas Motor Speedway was once considered the fastest non-restrictor plate track on the NASCAR circuit, with qualifying speeds in excess of 192 mph (309 km/h) and corner entry speeds over 200 mph (320 km/h).

However, as the tracks' respective racing surfaces continue to wear, qualifying speeds at Atlanta have become consistently faster than at Texas (2005 and 2006). Brian Vickers holds the NASCAR qualifying record at TMS. In 2006, he posted a 196.235 mph (315.810 km/h) speed. Elliott Sadler beat the record before Brian, qualifying in the 49/50th spot.

Being the last person out on the track, Brian nipped Elliott Sadler's qualifying time. The NASCAR records still fall short of the all-time TMS qualifying record though. Driving a Lola Ford Champ Car, Kenny Brack took pole for the aborted Firestone Firehawk 600, with an average speed of 233.447 mph in 2001.

Two racetracks formerly on the Winston Cup schedule were closed to make room for Texas Motor Speedway's two race dates, with the North Wilkesboro Speedway being bought by TMS owner Bruton Smith and New Hampshire International Speedway owner Bob Bahre. The track was closed with one of the track's two dates going to both new owners. The North Carolina Speedway in Rockingham, North Carolina was also sold to Smith as a result of the Ferko lawsuit with the track's one remaining date also being handed over to Texas.

Texas Motor Speedway is home to the Cup Series' Autotrader EchoPark Automotive 500, as well as the exhibition NASCAR All-Star Race. The track also hosts two NASCAR Xfinity Series races, the Alsco Uniforms 250 and the Andy's Frozen Custard 335, the IndyCar Series' Genesys 600, and the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series' SpeedyCash.com 220.

For a short time during construction in September 1996, the track's name was changed to Texas International Raceway. SMI's customary track naming convention had planned to have the "Motor Speedway" as part of the name. However, in August 1996, a small quarter-mile dirt raceway in Alvin, Texas (now known as Texas Thunder Speedway) had filed suit to use the name. On December 2, 1996, a settlement between the two tracks saw the "Texas Motor Speedway" name reinstated to the 1.500-mile (2.414 km) oval, and the small number of Texas International Raceway merchandise instantly became collectible.

Between 2001 and 2002, the track, after the reconfiguration in 1998, was repaved because of a hole in turn three. On August 17, 2010, a press conference was held and it was announced that TMS's spring race will become a Saturday night event in 2011. The Samsung Mobile 500 was held on Saturday April 9, 2011. The same year, the apron of the speedway was repaved.

Jeff Burton (1997) and Dale Earnhardt, Jr (2000) both earned their first Cup win at Texas Motor Speedway. Earnhardt's victory was a then-record for fewest races to notch a victory in the "modern era" on the Cup circuit, winning in just his 12th start, breaking the record held by his father, Dale Earnhardt (16 starts). (The record has since been broken three times, by Kevin Harvick (3 starts), Jamie McMurray (2 starts) and Trevor Bayne (2 starts).

On October 13, 2000, Tony Roper was racing in the Craftsman Truck Series O'Reilly 400 at Texas Motor Speedway when he attempted to pass Steve Grissom. However, another truck veered up the racetrack in the tri-oval, forcing Roper to evade, turning him into Grissom's front bumper. The contact caused Roper's #26 Ford to take a sudden hard-right turn, which then caused the truck to slam head-on into the concrete wall of the tri-oval. Roper died the next day as the result of the injuries he sustained from the crash.

In fall of 2012, Gossage added a carnival outside turn two to promote the track's "Wild Asphalt Circus" theme. On September 23, 2013, the track announced that by the 2014 spring Cup race, the world's largest video screen would be added. The Panasonic screen, nicknamed "Big Hoss", is 218 feet (66 m) wide and 94.6 feet (28.8 m) tall.

In 2014, Texas Motor Speedway did not sell tickets on the backstretch for either of its NASCAR Cup Series races, reducing the seating capacity of the track to 112,552. The world's largest high-definition video screen at a motor speedway, Big Hoss, was introduced in the Duck Commander 500.

As a consequence of the COVID-19 pandemic in Texas, TMS held graduations for 23 area high schools in late spring 2020. With the reveal of the 2021 NASCAR Cup Series schedule, Texas Motor Speedway began hosting the NASCAR All-Star Race while losing the spring Cup date with the addition of the Circuit of the Americas in Austin.

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