While it’s nowhere near as old as some of the most famous tracks in NASCAR, Texas Motor Speedway has created some historic moments and accomplishments in its 20 years of existence. Check out some facts you need to know about TMS.
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Texas International Raceway?
During the construction of the track in 1996, there was a short stint where the track’s name was changed to remove the ‘Motor Speedway’ part of its name because of a conflict with a dirt track in Alvin, Texas that filed suit to use the name. After an agreement, the Speedway Motorsports Inc. track finally took its name back.
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A wet start
In the inaugural Sprint Cup race at Texas Motor Speedway, an epic amount of rain fell, causing qualifying to be canceled and many of the track’s parking lots to flood. The Texas Department of Transportation converted a portion of Highway 170 into a parking lot, and the National Anthem performer Van Cliburn couldn’t make it to the track to perform.
Making a few tweaks
Transitioning from 24-degree banking in the corners to five degrees on the straightaways is rough on a car. In 1998, TMS altered a 15,000 square foot section of Turn 4 to make that transition a bit easier on the cars, and in 2007 the track fixed a dip in Turns 1 and 2, that was named ‘Dale’s Dip’ after Dale Earnhardt, Jr. commented on the issue.
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Adding tracks of all variety
Along with the 1.5-mile oval that the three main NASCAR series race on, TMS added a 0.2-mile speedway called ‘Lil Texas Motor Speedway’ in 1998, a 0.4-mile clay-surfaced dirt track in 1999, along with four variations of infield road courses built in 2001.
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Twice a year in Texas
In May 2004, the announcement was made to add a second NASCAR Premier Series event at TMS, which would ultimately become one of the 10 races in the Chase for the Sprint Cup, and is currently the second race in the elimination format Round of 8. Carl Edwards won the inaugural Fall race at Texas.
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Light 'em up
There is enough permanent lighting at TMS, that it could light up 11 NFL stadiums. That’s an average of 200,000 watts for a nighttime event. Everything is bigger in Texas and that holds true for Texas Motor Speedway.
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The 20,622 square foot TV screen at TMS was unveiled in 2014 and dubbed ‘Big Hoss’. At the time, it was the largest HD LED screen in the world, until recently being passed by Everbank Field, where the NFL’s Jacksonville Jaguars play.