Texas Motor Speedway
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 layout is very similar to Atlanta Motor Speedway and Lowe’s Motor Speedway (formerly Charlotte Motor Speedway). The track measures 1.5 miles (2.4 km) around and is banked 24 degrees in the turns, and is of the quad-oval design, where the front straightaway juts outward slightly. The track is owned by Speedway Motorsports, Inc., the same company that owns Atlanta and Lowe’s Motor Speedways, as well as the short-track Bristol Motor Speedway.
The speedway has been managed since its inception by legendary racing promoter Eddie Gossage. His creative, colorful, fan-friendly approach to managing the track has become the standard by which all other tracks have been measured. He was the first to introduce Personal Seat Licenses to the sport, as well as Season Tickets. His stance on allowing fans to bring their own coolers, even in the face of restrictive Texas laws that at one time prohibited the speedway from selling alcohol as a result, has made him a favorite of the fans.
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.
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 Samsung 500 and the Dickies 500, as well as two Nationwide Series races, the O’Reilly 300 and the O’Reilly Challenge and the Indy Racing League IndyCar series race, the Bombardier Learjet 550. The track also hosts two NASCAR Camping World Truck Series races, the Sam’s Town 400 (which takes place on the same weekend as the Indycar Bombardier Learjet 550) and the Chevy Silverado 250.
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.
Texas Motor Speedway made an unsuccessful overture to move the annual Oklahoma-Texas rivalry football game from the Cotton Bowl to the infield of the modern racing facility in 2004.