Many people consider stock car racing to be the most popular racing genre. Truth to be said, although it’s very popular, it’s not necessarily the case. There are other genres of racing that are just as popular, or even more so. Take a gander at the following list of the top 10 races at the Texas Motor Speedway, and you’ll see what we mean.
10. The Shell Gas Station 500 (Formerly The Big One)
Once the biggest race of the year, the Shell Gas Station 500 was a 500-mile race that was inaugurated in 1949. It was originally held at a 1.54-mile oval track in Nacogdoches, Texas, but was moved to its present-day location in 1959. The Big One became the focus of attention as the racing season grew closer, which meant more people were tuning in to see the spectacular crashes that occurred during the race. The race was cancelled after the 1996 season, and was not brought back for the 2017 season. However, the Big One was the inspiration for the Austin 500, which was established in 1997 and is currently one of the premier sports car races in North America. The Austin 500 is the longest continuous-race in North America, with the first half being held at the Texas Motor Speedway and the second half being held at the Circuit of the Americas in Austin, Texas.
9. The Aaron’s World Series 150
The Aaron’s World Series 150 is an annual stock car race held at the Texas Motor Speedway. It was founded in 1972 and named after the late Monte Aaron, who was influential in the development of the Texas Motor Speedway. The race was initially 500 miles in length, but was cut short to just 250 miles in 1977. It was once again shortened to 150 miles in 1981. The race was initially contested with two drivers, but it was later expanded to include three. In 2013, the Aaron’s World Series switched from a straight course to a divided highway course, a change that was initially met with controversy. However, the change was successful, and the race became more exciting for fans.
8. The World Food Services 300
The World Food Services 300 is an annual race at the Texas Motor Speedway with the following characteristics: (a) it’s a late-season race; (b) it’s a support race to the Daytona 500; (c) it’s won by the driver who scores the most championship points; and (d) it’s named after a food service company. The race was conceived as a way to boost flagging television ratings during the 1980s. Naturally, because of its unique characteristics, the race is quite unpredictable. For instance, in 2008, Michael Waltrip won the pole position, but it was Kenny Wallace who beat him by a margin of four seconds in the race. In other years, the opposite has been true. In fact, since its inception in 1983, the World Food Services 300 has been won by five different drivers. That’s a lot of volatility for one race!
7. The Goodyear Blimp 400
The Goodyear Blimp 400 is an annual motorcyclist race held at the Texas Motor Speedway. The name of the race is an homage to the legendary “Blimp” Winston Abbot, who was a three-time winner of the Indianapolis 500. However, he is probably most known for his involvement in the so-called “Blimp-and-Boogie” race, a 400-mile enduro that was held between two motorcycle racers who were nicknamed “Blimp” and “Boogie.” The race was named after the two speedsters, and it was first held in 1970 with just four participants. However, the race grew in popularity, and by the mid-1980s, there were over 100 participants. In 2015, the race was canceled for the first time in its 40-year history, but it was reinstated for the 2017 season. The decision was made after a two-week hiatus due to the pandemic. Since its inception, the Goodyear Blimp 400 has been won by five different drivers. The most recent winner is Mike Wallace, who won in 2016. The race usually takes place in the last week of June.
6. The Southern 500
The Southern 500 is an annual stock car race held at the Texas Motor Speedway. It’s one of the premier NASCAR races of the year, and it’s been called “the most important race of the year south of the Mason-Dixon Line.” The race was established in 1977, and its primary purpose is to promote the Southern region of the United States, which is home to the largest contingent of NASCAR fans. Like the aforementioned race, the Southern 500 is also quite unpredictable. In 1978, the race was won by Darrell Waltrip, who went on to become one of NASCAR’s biggest stars. However, it was Bill Elliott who beat him by a mile in 1979. Since then, the Southern 500 has been won by five different drivers. Of those, Bill Elliott is the most successful, having won the race five times, in 1978, 1979, 1982, 1983, and 1984. He also led a NASCAR-record breaking 549 laps during the 1978 edition of the race. Needless to say, there’s a lot of volatility when it comes to the Southern 500. It takes place in the last week of June.
5. The Craftsman Truck Series South Plains 500
The Craftsman Truck Series South Plains 500 is an annual stock car race held at the Texas Motor Speedway. It was conceived as a way to bring a touch of the ALABAMA market, which is home to the largest contingent of NASCAR fans, to the Dallas–Fort Worth metroplex. The race has gone through many changes over the years, but its roots can be traced back to 1960, when the track was called the Texas World Speedway. That was changed in 1964 to the Texas International Speedway, and it wasn’t until 1969 that the name was finally altered to the Texas Motor Speedway. The first Craftsman Truck Series race at the Texas Motor Speedway was held in 1975. It was an instant hit, and it became one of the most popular races of the year. Since then, the South Plains 500 has been won by six different drivers. The most recent winner is John Hunter Nemechek, who won the 2016 race. The race is known for its spectacular crashes, and since its inception in 1975, there have been 52 different drivers who have won the race. In other words, it’s quite the race to watch and remember.
4. The Bankers Life Fieldhouse Hundred
The Bankers Life Fieldhouse Hundred is an annual car race that takes place at the Texas Motor Speedway. It was established in 1995 and is named after the banking company that sponsored the race until 2005. Since then, it’s been called the Max Q Fieldhouse Hundred. The race was initially 300 miles in length, but was cut short to just 220 miles in 1996. Since then, the distance has been increased to 300 miles, and in 2015, it was extended to 410 miles. However, the most memorable moment from the Bankers Life Fieldhouse Hundred came in 2004, when Bill Elliott led a NASCAR-record breaking 663 laps during the race. That’s nearly two hours of continuous racing! Unfortunately, after leading so many laps, Elliott got into a horrific accident on the last lap that sidelined him for the rest of the season. That’s one of the things that makes the Bankers Life Fieldhouse Hundred so special. It’s a glimpse of how dominant Elliott could be, and it also shows how one mistake can change the course of a race. The former three-time NASCAR champion still leads the all-time laps chart with 497 laps led in 2006 alone. The Fieldhouse Hundred is also one of the few races where tickets are relatively easy to purchase, and it draws a large audience.
3. The All-Star Race
The All-Star Race is an annual exhibition race that takes place at the Texas Motor Speedway. The race began in 2004 as a way to bring the stars of NASCAR together for one spectacular evening. However, it wasn’t supposed to be about promoting the brand and attracting viewers. The premise behind the All-Star Race is to simply entertain the fans who attend the race whether or not they are part of the ‘merican sport.
The exhibition race is unique in that it features many different types of vehicles and drivers from all over the world. It’s not just limited to American cars and drivers, and that’s what makes it special. The All-Star Race is actually comprised of two separate races held in the same evening. The first is the RUSH Prime SportLine Car Club Street Car Invitational, which features modified cars created by professional teams and drivers from around the world. The second is the American Dream Racing Series, which features cars that are more mainstream and are driven by the ‘merican teams and drivers that are part of the NASCAR garage.