It’s been nearly 70 years since the Texas Motor Speedway was first built, and over that time it has evolved into one of the biggest sporting events of the year. Annually, over 500,000 fans stream into the Lone Star State to watch some of the biggest names in motorsport battle it out on a superspeedway that boasts over 200 miles of highly graded and maintained asphalt. Every winter, people flock to Texas from all over the world to take part in this motorsport spectacle that has become a mainstay on the American sports calendar.
Is Texas Motor Speedway private property? The short answer is no. The long answer is a little more complicated. While the owner of Texas Motor Speedway does rent the track to motorsport teams and various corporations for an annual fee, the facility itself is not private property.
What Is Private Property?
Simply put, private property is property that is not publicly owned. In the United States, land is considered to be private property, which means that it is owned by individuals, families, or corporations and cannot be used by the general public. The most common form of private property in the U.S. is residential property, but it can also include commercial or industrial buildings.
Anything that is connected to the tony classes of society – those who can afford to spend lots of money on expensive-looking things and to entertainers who can attract large audiences – will eventually end up at the courthouse steps. So, it’s no wonder that the speedway is now considered to be public property. But that doesn’t mean that it has lost its private-property aspects. It still retains many of them.
Why Is The Texas Motor Speedway Public Property?
If we go back to the basics of what makes up a speedway, it’s basically a racetrack with a grandstand. The Texas Motor Speedway (formerly Texas International Speedway) was built in a region of Texas known for its huge amounts of rainfall, which creates exceptionally flat and even terrain. Because of that, the stadium has always been an easy target for would-be land grabbers. In fact, the first two decades of its existence were plagued by legal battles over the ownership of the property. Some people even tried to claim that the track was located on sovereign Native American land. This didn’t stop the Texas Legislature from passing a law in 1945 that gave final approval to the construction of the speedway. The fear of land speculation made the Texas Legislature deem the speedway to be a public facility. This was despite the fact that the stadium still had a lot of private aspects that were retained during its early years.
The Texas Motor Speedway has always been a public property, so it’s not like the stadium was built with the intent to become public property. It was built to be a private place for the entertainment of the wealthy and famous. After World War II, the need for a professional football field declined and the stadium was left with no purpose. With support from the state, automobile mogul Henry Ford II purchased the stadium from the city and converted it into a permanent home for his fledgling sports car team, the Ford Motor Company.
At the time, this was a huge coup for the team. Not only did it give them their own stadium, but it also meant that they no longer had to play their home games at Wrigley Field in Chicago, which had become terribly crowded because of its large Chicago Bears fan base. To this day, the Chicago Bears still have a stake in the franchise, and the team occasionally holds an annual charity game at Texas Motor Speedway.
Private Versus Public In Every Way
While the Texas Motor Speedway is not private property in the strictest sense, it does have a number of characteristics that make it feel like a private entity. One of the most important ones is that it does not display any public property signs on it. Another is that the speedway has its own security force, which makes it feel more like a private club than a government-owned facility.
These two factors indicate that the public has no claim on the speedway. The reason that they don’t sign is that they want to prevent the general public from trespassing on their private property. They don’t want people to come across it by accident and think that it’s open to the public when in reality, they want to keep it hidden from the masses.
On the subject of the security force, it’s worth noting that the Texas Motor Speedway does have an off-duty police officer who is a member of the force. They are called Texas Rangers and are the ones who patrol the property and ensure that everyone – including the general public – complies with the stadium’s unofficial no trespassing sign. (The cops don’t really like it when people go on the property without permission, so they make sure that everyone knows that this is strictly prohibited.) While this may seem like overkill, you have to remember that this is a private property with a rich history and a lot of sentimental value for the people who live near and around it.
To sum up, the Texas Motor Speedway is not strictly speaking a private property, but it does have a number of characteristics that make it feel like a private club. With that in mind, it might be time to start treating it like one. By this, I mean entering the stadium through the back entrance, for example, or sitting in the box seats instead of the middle of the field. This way, you can fully experience the thrill of a rally without the fear of getting arrested for trespassing.