Springtime in DFW brings sports fans Texas Rangers Opening Day, the HP Byron Nelson Championship and the Crowne Plaza Invitational at Colonial, but the biggest spectacle is always the Samsung Mobile 500 at Texas Motor Speedway in Fort Worth. It has the largest crowd and the wildest scene of the season in the action leading up to the NASCAR Sprint Cup race under the lights.
We arrived around 11 a.m. for the race that was set to begin at 6:30 p.m. and there was so much going on that I still missed several things on my agenda. The No Limits Garage Party kicked things off and included MMA fights featuring Phalanx Amateur Combatants, sumo wrestling, a World's Strongest Man contest and a plethora of gourmet food trucks. The garage split up the huge party area with the opposite side featuring live music by the 80s cover band, the Spazmatics.
While the midway full of the drivers' merchandise trailers was stacked full of fans, we made our way across to the Village of Champions that features corporate hospitality tents. Drivers such as Jeff Gordon and Ryan Newman made appearances in their respective areas to the expected big crowds.
Our next stop was the Burnout Alley area that sits on the opposite side of the track along the backstretch. Burnout Alley is a perfect synergy of tailgating and a luxury suite as fans can park their motor home in a personal 30x60 gated area that backs up to a private seating area. We spent some time in the Universal Forest Products spot that is set up for the company's VIPs and customers and was strictly first class. The set-up is so popular that they purchased the adjoining spot in order to accommodate the demand for people who want to attend the event.
Legendary band Foreigner took the stage for the pre-race concert at 4:30. We were down on the actual race track as fans have the opportunity to buy special 'Mosh Pit' tickets that allow for access to the concert and driver introductions. I spoke to several fans who had never been to Texas Motor Speedway, but came specifically to see the concert and be so close to their favorite band. They all agreed that the entire day was so much fun that they were planning a return trip for the fall race regardless of who the concert was going to be.
Our final stop prior to the race was the Crown Royal hospitality area that features two motor homes complete with seating areas on top, inside and in between. It is for invited guests and has plenty of adult beverages and BBQ in addition to its prime spot on the infield with the perfect view of the finish line.
Extreme sports legend Travis Pastrana was the honorary starter and with the famed words "Gentlemen, start your engines!" the race was underway. After hanging in the pits for the first few laps, the 40 mph gusts of wind practically blew me inside the luxurious Speedway Club overlooking Turn 1 and I watched Greg Biffle blow by Jimmie Johnson to win the race. It marked the fastest Sprint Cup series race in TMS history at 160.577 mph.
The next NASCAR race in Fort Worth is the AAA Texas 500 on November 4. For information on tickets, visit here.
TEXAS MOTOR SPEEDWAY 3545 LONE STAR CIRCLE FORT WORTH TX 76177
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