DREAMING OF VICTORY LANE: DRIVERS DISCUSS THEIR FAVORITE NO LIMITS, TEXAS TRADITION
Every racetrack has its thing, that marquee moment or tradition that drivers can triumphantly point back to and let everyone know they got to experience it. At the end of this month, four drivers will have the opportunity to etch their names into the lore of Texas Motor Speedway’s most beloved tradition.
Scott Dixon, Ryan Blaney, Erik Jones, Cole Custer, and Sheldon Creed, all past winners of TMS, attended the track’s annual Media Day last Wednesday, where they reflected on the different aspects of the track that they look forward to when the circus rolls into town. There were many things at No Limits, Texas that that drivers appreciate.
“You see all the cars that run around on the front stretch before the race, and you have the huge victory lane celebrations, Big Hoss. I think they’re definitely the best in the sport on promoting races,” reigning O’Reilly Auto Parts 300 Xfinity Series winner Custer said.
Heck, he even graduated on the TMS infield back in 2016.
The pomp and circumstance of a TMS graduation ceremony is pretty impressive, but one thing became abundantly clear. The drivers agree you can’t beat a Texas Motor Speedway Victory Lane celebration.
“I’ve got the rifle, but now I just need some six shooters. That would complete my Halloween outfit,” Team Penske driver Blaney said, making clear that the Henry Repeating Arms Big Boy lever action rifle he received for winning the 2018 AAA Texas 500 pole couldn’t fill the place of the Smith & Wesson Classic 29s a Cup race winner receives.
“It’s a very special victory lane,” Blaney continued. “A lot of drivers look at unique trophies like that. Martinsville’s grandfather clock is really neat and then here the six-shooters just kind of work for Texas Motor Speedway. I think it’s just fitting and it’d be great to find ourselves there hopefully once or twice this year.”
Recalling his life growing up in New Zealand, five-time and defending NTT IndyCar Champion Scott Dixon described how his native country is different from Texas.
“We don’t have guns and we don’t have cowboy hats really so for that split moment (at the victory lane celebration) I feel like a cowboy and you don’t get that anywhere else,” Dixon said.
He would know. He’s done it three times now, including last year’s DXC Technology 600.
NASCAR Gander Outdoors Truck Series driver Sheldon Creed reminisced on one of his favorite memories at TMS when his truck broke in the first heat, but he rebounded to win the second main during the Stadium Super Trucks No Limits Offroad Rumble in 2017.
“I remember it was a fresh paved race track and I did donuts. I got a little slap on the wrist for that, but it was worth it,” Creed laughed.
Drivers like Erik Jones appreciate the overall experience of racing at No Limits, Texas.
“When people ask what my favorite tracks are, Texas is always on that list pretty high up,” Jones said. “It’s a place I’ve always felt comfortable at and always enjoyed racing.”
And he’s proven it. Jones has won four times at TMS: three in the Xfinity Series and once in the Truck Series.
All of the drivers seemed enthusiastic about the possibilities awaiting them at Texas Motor Speedway’s O’Reilly Auto Parts 500 race weekend, as all but Dixon will have a shot to find Victory Lane again in less than a month.
“There’s no better place to be in the winner’s circle than here in Texas,” Dixon said.
He’ll have his chance to find it again in June.