Texas Motor Speedway is a speedway located in the northernmost portion of the U.S. city of Fort Worth, Texas – the portion located in Denton County, Texas.
The track measures 1.5 miles (2.4 km) around and is banked 24 degrees in the turns, and is a quad-oval design, where the front straightaway juts outward slightly. The track layout is similar to Atlanta Motor Speedway and Charlotte Motor Speedway (formerly Lowe's Motor Speedway). The track is owned by Speedway Motorsports, Inc., the same company that owns Atlanta and Charlotte Motor Speedways, as well as the short-track Bristol Motor Speedway.
|Location||3545 Lone Star Circle, Fort Worth, Texas 76177|
|Time zone||UTC−6 / −5 (DST)|
|Owner||Speedway Motorsports, Inc.|
|Operator||Speedway Motorsports, Inc.|
|Broke ground||April 11, 1995|
|Opened||February 29, 1996|
|Construction cost||$250 million USD|
|Former names||Texas International Raceway (1996)|
|Major events||NASCAR Sprint Cup Series
Duck Commander 500
AAA Texas 500
NASCAR Xfinity Series
O'Reilly Auto Parts 300
O'Reilly Auto Parts Challenge
NASCAR Camping World Truck Series
Verizon IndyCar Series
The speedway has been managed since its inception by racing promoter Eddie Gossage.
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 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 (now Sprint Cup Series) 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 two NASCAR Sprint Cup races: the Duck Commander 500 and the AAA Texas 500, as well as two Xfinity Series races, the O'Reilly Auto Parts 300 and the O'Reilly Auto Parts Challenge and the Indy Racing League Verizon IndyCar series race, the Firestone 600. The track also hosts two NASCAR Camping World Truck Series races, the Rattlesnake 400 (which takes place on the same weekend as the Indycar Firestone 600) and the Longhorn 350.
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 1.5-mile (2.4 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 will be added. The Panasonic screen, nicknamed "Big Hoss", will be 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 Sprint Cup races, reducing the seating capacity of the track to 112,552. The world's largest high-definition video screen, Big Hoss, was introduced in the Duck Commander 500.
Firestone Firehawk 600
The Firestone Firehawk 600, a CART race, was to be held on April 29, 2001. During practice and qualifying, however, 21 of 25 drivers complained of dizziness and disorientation during two days of practice. Drivers experienced sustained G forces over 5 Gs, more than the typical human tolerance. With their powerful 900+ hp turbocharged engines and superspeedway downforce packages, the Champ Cars were averaging speeds well in excess of 230 mph. This was much faster than IRL machinery of the time, and faster still than the speeds seen regularly by Sprint Cup cars.
With the possibility of drivers blacking out on the track, CART cancelled the race two hours before the scheduled start.