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  • Speedway Motorsports, Inc. Executive Chairman Bruton Smith Targeted Dallas/Fort Worth Market In Mid-1990s To Build World-Class Speedway
  • Two-Time NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Champion Terry Labonte To Become First Texan Inducted Into NASCAR Hall Of Fame
  • Saturday Afternoon's Induction Ceremony To Be Broadcast Live on NBC Sports Network 

FORT WORTH, Texas (January 20, 2016) – Speedway Motorsports, Inc. Executive Chairman Bruton Smith and two-time Sprint Cup Series champion “Texas” Terry Labonte, two of the architects credited for building Dallas/Fort Worth and the state of Texas into a hotbed for NASCAR, will become the newest members inducted in the NASCAR Hall of Fame during Saturday afternoon’s ceremony in Charlotte, N.C. 

>The legendary careers of Smith and Labonte have strong ties to Texas Motor Speedway, each serving as prominent figures in helping NASCAR’s expansion into a booming top-five market and state outside of the sport’s traditional Southeastern roots. 

Smith, the mastermind behind the construction of Texas Motor Speedway, scoured the country looking to build his newest motorsports facility in 1995. Ultimately, it was the area at the intersection of Interstate 35W and Texas State Highway 114 that he selected as the location for what would become the largest sports venue in the state. Today, Texas Motor Speedway is one of eight motorsports facilities across the country owned and operated by SMI that also includes Atlanta Motor Speedway, Bristol Motor Speedway, Charlotte Motor Speedway, Kentucky Speedway, Las Vegas Motor Speedway, Sonoma Raceway and New Hampshire Motor Speedway. 

His vision to build Texas Motor Speedway helped create one of the premier sports facilities in the country that continues to remain the standard for the sports and entertainment industry as it enters its 20th season. Since opening in1997, Smith and Texas Motor Speedway have continued to serve its fans by adding luxury to motorsports with the creation of The Speedway Club and the 10-story Lone Star Tower with 76 luxurious condominiums and office space overlooking the speedway. In recent years, the additions of “Big Hoss TV” – the world’s largest, high-definition LED video board – and the luxury motorcoach area Burnout Alley overlooking the backstretch has elevated the fan experience to another level. 

“When we were looking for a place to build a race track he was the one that said we really have to look hard at Dallas/Fort Worth,” Texas Motor Speedway President Eddie Gossage said. “We started looking and it clearly stood out to both of us that the place for us to build this race track in the mid-1990s was right here in North Texas. That decision was the single best thing to ensure our success. We have been more successful than any speedway that has ever opened its doors from scratch. 

“What he has done by bringing NASCAR to Texas opened the doors to an important new market. Not just Dallas/Fort Worth, but other major cities like Houston, San Antonio, Austin and Oklahoma City. His vision has long been important for our sport, but his vision has never been more important than bringing NASCAR to Texas.” 

Labonte, a native of Corpus Christi, won two Cup Series championships and 22 races during an illustrious career that spanned 37 years and 890 starts. One of Labonte’s career highlights was winning at his home state track of Texas Motor Speedway during its infancy. Labonte won the Primestar 500 in 1999, just the third Cup race held at the facility at the time. His tenacity and impressive streak of 655 consecutive starts – the most by any driver until surpassed by Ricky Rudd in 2005 – helped earn him the nickname “The Iron Man.” Labonte was the first in the family to win a Cup championship. Labonte, who won titles in 1984 and ‘96, preceded his brother Bobby in accomplishing the feat. Bobby would go on to win the 2000 Cup championship, allowing them to become the first pair of brothers in NASCAR history to win the sport’s premier series crown. 

“Terry was always so proud that we built Texas Motor Speedway and that we brought NASCAR to his home state,” Gossage said. “There are certain moments where you say, ‘This is a big deal. This is a historic moment.’ That win was certainly a historic moment for Terry and Texas Motor Speedway. In Victory Lane, you could tell that this was a sense of accomplishment that you often didn’t see from him. It is probably one of the great days in Texas Motor Speedway history and certainly for Terry.” 

Smith and Labonte will be joined in the seventh annual NASCAR Hall of Fame induction class by Bobby Isaac and Curtis Turner, both named among NASCAR’s 50 Greatest Drivers in 1998, and six-time NASCAR modified champion Jerry Cook. Isaac and Turner will be inducted posthumously. 

The NASCAR Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony, being held in the Crown Ballroom of the Charlotte Convention Center, will begin at 1:30 p.m. CT and will be aired live on NBC Sports and SiriusXM NASCAR Radio. The event will also be streaming on NBC Live Extra. For more information, please visit www.nascarhall.com.

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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