Three years after Texas Motor Speedway opened its doors, Bruton Smith and Eddie Gossage constructed a plan to add a dirt track to the jewel of a facility owned by Speedway Motors, Inc., dubbing it the Texas Motor Speedway Dirt Track. Construction began on August 11, 1999 for the brand new, state of the art facility in dirt track racing in the Dallas-Fort Worth metroplex.
Development of this amazing facility was no small undertaking. Eight-and-a-half million dollars went into the project which produced 13,000 permanent seats and 14 luxury suites. With 70-foot wide straightaways and 80-foot wide corners, 9,000 yards of clay made up the new four-tenths mile oval. Many referred to the new track as the “Taj Mahal of Dirt Tracks.”
Just over six months later, the Texas Motor Speedway Dirt Track opened in grand fashion, hosting the World of Outlaws Sprint Car Series, live on cable television. The 800 horsepower winged warriors sped around TMS for the first race on March 30th, 2000. Memphis, Tennessee native Greg Hodnett picked up the first feature win at the speedway.
In 2004, the speedway hosted the World Dirt Track Championship for the first time, which featured Modifieds and the SUPR Late Models. The Modified feature win went to Kenny Gaddis while the Late Model victor was Raymond Merrill.
In 2012, winged Sprint Cars returned to TMS as the American Sprint Car Series made their debut. In the series inaugural visit to the speedway, the late Jason Johnson charged from sixth to pick up not only the first ASCS win at the track, but his 300th ASCS feature win. In 2019, two-time NASCAR Cup Series winner at Texas Motor Speedway winner and sprint car figurehead, Tony Stewart, presented the Vankor Sprint Car Nationals event sanctioned by ASCS at TMS.
Texas Motor Speedway Dirt Track carries a prestige that isn’t just limited to the national touring series. TMS holds a special place in the heart of Texas dirt track drivers and fans as it has played host to several crown jewel racing events over the last two decades. To win at Texas Motor Speedway is a career defining achievement for racers in the Lone Star state.
“It’s a tough race to win for sure in any class, I won one there and it wasn’t easy for sure. To be able to win in front of those crowds at TMS it’s awesome! The Texas Motor Speedway atmosphere is crazy!” said Justin Whitehead, the 2016 U.S. National Dirt Track Championships Factory Stock Winner.
“Texas Motor Speedway is the premiere ‘prestige’ race in our area. Doesn’t matter what it pays to win, it’s all about that cowboy hat. I chased it for 10 years before I finally won it and it’s one of the most memorable wins of my career. For me and my crew it’s the one time we get to race with a lot of those guys up that way and it’s always very competitive. When you get a win at Texas you have beaten the best of the best,” added Derick Grigsby, who found victory lane and the cowboy hat on April 7, 2017.
It seems fitting the 20th anniversary of the track will feature its most aggressive schedule in its history. The Revival at Texas Motor Speedway Dirt Track will be held on February 18-20. The speedway will also showcase 18 events, including the All Star Sprint Car Showdown in June, eight Monday Night Series races this summer, and the Texas Dirt Nationals in September which offers a $50,000 payday for Super Late Models.
Watch the Revival at Texas Motor Speedway and action all year on XR+.