Texas Motor Speedway had a rocky start in NASCAR, but has emerged as one of the premier racing facility in all of sports.
By Shake And Bake Crew
FORT WORTH, TX - APRIL 13: Kyle Busch, driver of the No. 18 Interstate Batteries Toyota, leads the field during the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series NRA 500 at Texas Motor Speedway on April 13, 2013 in Fort Worth, Tx.
Todd Warshaw / NASCAR
Ever since it opened in 1997, Texas Motor Speedway has made big headlines.
Now one of the premier tracks in all of racing, TMS got off to a rocky start. Rains of Biblical proportions for the first race left parking lots flooded, with literally thousands of cars left abandoned by the roadside amidst massive traffic jams.
During each of the first two NASCAR Sprint Cup races at TMS, there were huge crashes in the opening moments in the race.
1997, Lap 1 crash:
1998, Lap 2 crash:
In 1998, the flagman was Jim Roper, winner of the very first NASCAR Strictly Stock race. When a reporter pointed out to Roper that his appearance coincided with NASCAR's 50th anniversary celebration, the feisty Kansas native grinned and said, "Oh, you a college boy, ain't you?"
Some other tidbits about TMS:
The inaugural race in 1997 was won by Jeff Burton, who at the time drove for Jack Roush. It was Burton's first career Cup victory.
1997: Jeff Burton garnered his first career NASCAR Cup victory by winning the inaugural race at the 1.5-mile Texas Motor Speedway in April 1997. It was the first NASCAR premier event held in Texas since 1981.
RacingOne / ISC Archives
Dale Earnhardt Jr. won both his first NASCAR Nationwide Series (1998) and his first Sprint Cup (2000) race at Texas Motor Speedway.
The track qualifying record is 196.299 mph, set by Kyle Busch in the spring race here earlier this year.
Roush Fenway Racing leads with nine NASCAR Sprint Cup victories at TMS. Hendrick Motorsports and Joe Gibbs Racing are tied for second with four. Roush Fenway Racing also has nine NASCAR Nationwide and one Camping World Truck Series victory here.
Among drivers, Carl Edwards has the most wins, with three. Six drivers have two wins each.
FORT WORTH, TX - NOV. 02: Carl Edwards, driver of the No. 99 Office Depot Ford, celebrates winning the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Dickies 500 at Texas Motor Speedway on November 2, 2008 in Fort Worth, Tx.
Geoff Burke / Getty Images North America
This will be the ninth Chase race at TMS. The only time a TMS Chase race was won by a driver not in the Chase was Tony Stewart in 2006.
In nine 1.5-mile races run this season, the only Chase driver without a top-five finish is Dale Earnhardt Jr., who had a best finish of seventh at Las Vegas.
Starting up front is crucial, as 19 of the 25 Texas Cup races run to date have been won from a top-10 qualifying spot.