O’Reilly Auto Parts 500


No Limits To Fan Access

Texas Motor Speedway President Eddie Gossage announced during Tuesday’s Media Day at the House of Blues in Dallas that there are some exciting enhancements coming for fans attending the upcoming Duck Commander 500 weekend. 

“NLTX All Access” will be held on Thursday, April 9, to officially kick off the race weekend at Texas Motor Speedway. The day was initially scheduled for a pair of XFINITY Series practices, but now the fans will enjoy unprecedented access for fans to some of the sport’s most recognizable drivers for autographs, photos, Q&A sessions and peak inside the garage as teams prepare their cars for the O’Reilly Auto Parts 300/Duck Commander 500 NASCAR doubleheader weekend. 

The day will include access to the NASCAR XFINITY Series and Sprint Cup Series garages, driver autograph session, driver Q&A session and a special Dale Earnhardt movie presentation on “Big Hoss TV.” Fans will be free to roam the XFINITY Garage from 1-3 p.m. before the series goes on track for two practice sessions (3:30-4:30 p.m., 5:30-7 p.m.). The Sprint Cup garage will be open from 4:30-5:30 p.m., which will include the cars going through tech inspection. 

Also from 4:30-5:30 p.m. on the Gate 4 concourse, Danica Patrick, Ricky Stenhouse Jr. and Justin Allgaier will conduct an autograph session for the first 225 fans. From 7:30-8:30 p.m., a driver Q&A session hosted by Top Gear’s Rutledge Wood will take place in the Legends Corner infield hospitality area and feature Carl Edwards, Kyle Larson, Greg Biffle and Jamie McMurray. 

Admission for all the activity is $10 for adults and free for children 12 and under. To purchase tickets for “NLTX All Access” day, contact the Texas Motor Speedway ticket office by calling (817) 215-8500 or visit www.texasmotorspeedway.com.  

Childhood Dream Come True 

It is not often that a professional athlete gets to compete against his childhood hero. NASCAR Sprint Cup Series driver Joey Logano may have dreamed as a kid of passing his childhood hero Jeff Gordon on the last lap to win a race, but he no longer has to dream. In last year’s Duck Commander 500, Logano did just that during a green/white checkered finish to win the race and also gain his berth in the NASCAR Chase for the Sprint Cup.

“I’m sure I was like a thousand kids that dream you are racing against Jeff Gordon for a win,” Logano said. “When you are six years old, you can’t help it to dream like that. I remember having all of his gear and all of the ‘24’ stuff and now you race against him. It’s cool that you get to race against your childhood hero. Last year in Texas to pass him for the win like that, it was a really cool moment. I wouldn’t have chosen anyone else to race against like that. It was fun.

Hey Rookie 

Bubba Wallace Jr. is in the midst of his rookie season in the NASCAR XFINITY Series while driving for his new team, Roush Fenway Racing. While he has finished inside the top 15 in all five of the races he competed in thus far, the results have not matched his expectations. 

“It has been up and down right now, but we have shown some speed progression,” said Wallace Jr., who drives to the No. 6 Ford EcoBoost Ford Mustang. “I’m still learning and I still have my rookie stripes, but still having a lot of fun.” 

A return to Texas Motor Speedway for next Friday night’s O’Reilly Auto Parts 300 has Wallace Jr. confident that a good result may be in the cards. In his four NASCAR Camping World Truck Series starts, he recorded three top-10 finishes and the one he didn’t – November’s WinStar World Casino & Resort 350 – he had a dominant truck before having issues. 

“You move all around and get to pick multiple lanes to see where your car or truck handles the best,” Wallace Jr. said. “I’m always excited to race at Texas and get back here next week. We have a good baseline set up and just need to tweak it to my liking and get it ready to run.” 

Special Request 

Defending two-time NASCAR Camping World Truck Series champion Matt Crafton took the opportunity at Media Day to ask Texas Motor Speedway President Eddie Gossage an important question for whoever wins this season’s truck races at TMS – the WinStar World Casino & Resort 400 in June and the WinStar World Casino & Resort 350 in November. 

“I always love to come to Texas and I think the trucks put on an amazing show everywhere we go,” Crafton said. “Last year I got to put the cowboy hat on in Victory Lane after winning, but I do have one request for Eddie. Maybe this year when a truck guy wins can we shoot the guns instead of just getting the cowboy hats?”

Boxing In A Closet 

Texas Motor Speedway is one of the world’s largest sporting facilities, but it doesn’t appear that immense when you are flying an airplane inside it at 230 miles per hour like Garmin pilot Pete McLeod did during last year’s inaugural Red Bull Air Race World Championship. 

“It was the first time we did a speedway race like the one here,” said McLeod, who finished third in the Texas event. “To come into the speedway you get this overwhelming feeling that you are in a motorsports venue in an airplane was really impressive. We are used to racing longer lengths so when I first saw it I was like ‘where is the rest of it’ so it was exciting and it was a challenging race. I kind of liken it to a boxing match in a closet to do the whole race on half of the oval.”

Playing In Front Of Hometown Crowd 

Casey Donahew, a Burleson, Texas, native, is looking forward to his performance as the headline entertainment leading into next Saturday’s Duck Commander 500 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race at Texas Motor Speedway. The Casey Donahew Band will be the feature act during the Loud and Proud Pre-Race Show Presented by AMDRO and playing in front of the largest-attended, single-day sporting event in the state he calls home has the Red Dirt country music star excited about the opportunity. 

“We usually do about 100,000 (spectators), so that’s a little better,” kidded Donahew with a chuckle. “That’s amazing. That’s a big crowd. That’s a big venue and we are excited out there. It’s going to be a good time. That’s a lot of people. That will get your heart pumping right there. 

“It means a lot. We are from Fort Worth. We grew up here and we’ve been doing this 12½  years and traveling all over the United States. We call it (Fort Worth) home and playing anywhere in the Fort Worth-area means a lot to us. It’s a special time for sure, especially in front of a huge crowd. You don’t get a chance to step in front of that many people and play music very often.” 

About the author

The Texas Motor Speedway Media Relations Department is located on the 6th floor of The Speedway Club outside of Turn 1 of the speedway. 

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