In the world of motorsport, there are plenty of stories that don’t need to be told. Texas Motor Speedway in Arlington is one of them. We’ve all heard of the “holy trinity” of motorsport—racing, gladiators, and drag racing. Most people know that the speedway is located in Texas, but that’s pretty much all they know. The fact is, there’s so much more to the track than what meets the eye.
Let’s dive into the history of Texas Motor Speedway. The track opened in 1968, which makes it one of the first major sports facilities in North Texas. Since its founding, the track has grown to accommodate more than 200,000 spectators, which is impressive for a city with such a small population.
A Brief History Of Texas Motor Speedway
Before we begin, it’s important to establish some facts about the track. First off, it wasn’t named after Texan oil tycoon Lamar Hunt, but rather after the town of Speedway, Indiana. The venue opened in 1955 and was originally called Indianapolis Raceway. It was built with the express purpose of serving as a replacement for the legendary Indianapolis Speedway, which was damaged in the 1955 tornado.
When the track opened, it consisted of a 3/8-mile concrete oval with no grandstands, as it still has today. The first race was held on May 19th, and it was a 300-mile NASCAR Winston Cup Series race. The inaugural champion was Dave Marquez, who won the race in a time of 8 hours, 15 minutes. In order to generate more interest in the track, the owners decided to expand the facility, adding more turns and a grandstand in the process.
The plan worked, as interest in the track surged. Soon, the owners of the venue had to expand again, this time adding more gates. There are now six through-traffic lanes on each lap, making it a 6/6-mile track. The entire layout is banked, with an incredibly long backstretch and straightaway. There are also two additional “outside road courses” that each lap starts off, one to the left and one to the right of the track. If you grew up in the ‘70s or lived in Dallas during that time period, then you probably remember this track well.
Over the years, this speedway has hosted some memorable moments of motorsport. In 1970, Richard Petty won his 200th career NASCAR race at Texas Motor Speedway. During that same year, the track saw its first-ever triple crown winner in the form of Bill Elliott. This year, the track will be celebrating its 40th anniversary, so its fans should expect to see some vintage cars on the track.
Why Should You Visit Texas Motor Speedway?
Now that we’ve gotten the history out of the way, it’s time to discuss why you should visit Texas Motor Speedway. As we’ve established, the track is quite a popular destination for motorsport fans. There’s actually not a day that goes by when there aren’t at least a few cars parked on the side of the road, eagerly anticipating the next race. It’s not just about the cars either; the track is also the home of the Spurs, Texas A&M University’s college basketball team.
The track has quite a few luxury suites and premium seats available for purchase. If you’re looking to spend some time during the day in a comfortable seat, then this is the place to be. Besides, the beer garden and bar are also popular places to be for some post-race merriment. There are also several different types of food trucks that serve up everything from Greek food to deep-fried pickles. If you’re looking for a unique dining experience, then you could go for a ride with one of the hospitality vans and get a taste of what’s cooking.
Getting to the track is easy. There’s an AmTrak (Amtrak) rail station located directly adjacent to the venue. From there, it’s only a 5-minute walk to the entrance. Once you’re in, you’ll see the main racing strip—which is where all the action happens—lined with hotels, restaurants, and other retail destinations. One of the best things about the venue is how accessible it is. If you don’t have a car, there are plenty of options for getting there. Public transportation is easily available, and it’s within walking distance of almost every hotel in the area.
What Does The Future Of Texas Motor Speedway Hold?
With all this excitement surrounding the track, it’s only natural to wonder about its future. The news isn’t good. Due to its popularity, the track is currently seeking to expand its boundaries, which would make it a 16/16-mile track. If this is approved, it will likely generate a lot of interest from international drivers, who travel to the U.S. to compete at the track. The owners are also considering a new casino resort within the vicinity. While this would undoubtedly generate more revenue for the track, it could have a negative impact on the community if the traffic and associated noise become too much to handle.
On the plus side, the track has announced that it will be holding open house days, which would allow prospective attendees to get a feel for what the place is like and see all its offerings first-hand. Hopefully, these measures will help to retain some of its original charm as well as attract more people to the track. It’s also worth noting that, although the track is located in Texas, it is owned by an out-of-state company. This could be a hurdle for getting certain government benefits, such as free parking and reduced admission fees for members of the armed forces.
How Is The Track’s Finances?
We always hate to see a great motorsport venue shut down, so let’s take a quick look at the track’s finances. While it may seem like an expensive habit to support a motorsport team, the track actually generates a good bit of revenue, thanks in large part to its suites, which are privately owned and rented out. This income is then used to maintain operations, as well as provide incentive for the employees.
On another note, the track is currently seeking partners to expand its dining options. If you have a culinary background and are looking for an exciting opportunity, then this could be the place for you. More than 40 trucks are lined up to serve food, so hopefully, you’ll have your pick of what is available. More than anything else, the track is a combination of art, engineering, and money—making it one of the most interesting sports venues in the country.