Texas World Speedway (TWS) was a motorsport venue located in College Station, Texas.The track was one of only eight superspeedways of two miles (3.2 km) or greater in the United States used for racing, the others being Indianapolis, Daytona, Pocono, Talladega, Ontario (California), Auto Club, and Michigan (there are several tracks of similar size used for vehicle testing). The track was located on approximately 600 acres (2.4 km²) on State Highway 6 in College Station, Texas. There was a 2-mile (3 km) oval, and several road course configurations. The full oval configuration was closely related to that of Michigan and was often considered the latter's sister track, featuring steeper banking, at 22 degrees in the turns, 12 degrees at the start/finish line, and only 2 degrees along the backstretch,[1] compared to Michigan's respective 18, 12, and 5 degrees. The last major race occurred at the track in 1981. The track was used by amateur racing clubs such as the SCCA, NASA, Porsche Club of America, Corinthian Vintage Auto Racing, CMRA, driving schools and car clubs, as well as hosting music concerts and the like. The speedway was also a race track location for the video game, Need for Speed: Pro Street.

History

Originally opened as Texas International Speedway, TWS was an almost exact copy of Michigan International Speedway (as well as Ontario Motor Speedway which was bulit around time)[2] and was part of Larry LoPatin's American Raceways Inc. and operated a part of Riverside International Raceway, Trenton Speedway, and Atlanta International Raceway and in 1971 ARI went bankrupt.[3]

During the 1980s the track fell into a state of disrepair, and both NASCAR and the Indy cars chose to drop it from their respective schedules. It continued to operate in a limited role for amateur racing. In 1991 Ishin Speed Sport, Inc. purchased the facility and repaved and modestly refurbished it. It hosted races for ARCA, but after 1993 the company withdrew. The facility did serve as a venue for amateur and club racing, along with private testing. NASCAR teams have used the oval for testing (as it mimics Michigan and Fontana), as a way of skirting the tight restrictions prohibiting testing on active tracks on the schedule.

During a January 2009 test, Greg Biffle managed to reach a top speed of 218 mph (351 km/h) in a test for Roush Fenway Racing as part of evading NASCAR's testing ban. This became the fastest speed ever achieved on this track by a stock car (amateur or professional). The average speed for the full lap was 195 mph (314 km/h).[4]

On February 23, 1993, Jeff Andretti set the (then) unofficial closed-course speed record for IndyCars of 234.5 mph (377.4 km/h), the fastest speed ever recorded at Texas World Speedway, while testing for the 1993 Indianapolis 500. This marked his first time back in an IndyCar since the 1992 Indianapolis 500 when he lost a wheel and crashed head-on into the wall, smashing both his legs. Andretti's fast run came at the conclusion of two days of testing where he consistently posted laps in the 230 mph range. Andretti's Buick-powered Lola was prepared by Pagan Racing of Corpus Christi, Texas.

Texas World Speedway was also the site of the 1974 Willie Nelson's Fourth of July Picnic with Willie Nelson and his guests Jimmy Buffett, Townes Van Zandt, and Kinky Friedman performing as well. It was also known for a fire that destroyed several cars including one owned by Robert Earl Keen. The cover of Robert's album, Picnic, shows a picture of his car on fire at the picnic. On September 18, 2017 an article on Jalopnik was posted confirming the closure of Texas World Speedway which was being used as a dumping ground for vehicles flooded out by Hurricane Harvey.[5] TWS is the first superspeedway to shut down.[2]

The entire 600-acre facility was being leased to Copart Inc. as a catastrophe storage facility for vehicles damaged by Hurricane Harvey. The vehicles were to be stored while the numerous contracted insurance providers processed the vehicles for disposition via auction, where the mass majority would be sold with a certificate of destruction title, i.e. parts only from dismantling companies.

As of July 19, 2018, developers broke ground to begin construction of the Southern Pointe master-planned community.[6] Southern Pointe is going to be 550 acres with 73 acres of green space and water retention systems. They expect 1400 single-family home lots. The old TWS frontage road billboard was covered with a Southern Pointe banner at the beginning of December 2018.

Video footage of the speedway site taken by drone in February 2019 shows much of the asphalt banking in turns 1 and 2 has been removed, as well as a portion of turn 4.[7] Over the course of February 27 and 28, 2020 the press box above the grandstands was demolished.[8]

Race history

USAC winners

Season Race Name Winning Driver Chassis Engine Tires Team
1973 Texas 200 Al Unser Parnelli Offenhauser Firestone Vel's Parnelli Jones Racing
1976 Texas 150 A. J. Foyt Coyote Foyt Goodyear Gilmore Racing
Benihana World Series of Auto Racing Johnny Rutherford McLaren Offenhauser Goodyear Team McLaren
1977 Texas Grand Prix Tom Sneva McLaren Cosworth Goodyear Team Penske
American Parts 200 Johnny Rutherford McLaren Cosworth Goodyear Team McLaren
1978 Coors 200 Danny Ongais Parnelli Cosworth Goodyear Interscope Racing
Texas Grand Prix A. J. Foyt Coyote Foyt Goodyear Gilmore Racing
1979 Coors 200 A. J. Foyt Coyote Foyt Goodyear Gilmore Racing
Lubriloln Grand Prix A. J. Foyt Parnelli Cosworth Goodyear Gilmore Racing
1980 Texas 200 Race cancelled

NASCAR race winners

Season Winning Driver Manufacturer
1969 Texas 500 Bobby Isaac Dodge
1971 Texas 500 Richard Petty Plymouth
1972 Lone Star 500 Richard Petty Dodge
1972 Texas 500 Buddy Baker Dodge
1973 Alamo 500 Richard Petty Dodge
1979 Texas 400 Darrell Waltrip Chevrolet
1980 NASCAR 400 Cale Yarborough Chevrolet
1981 Budweiser NASCAR 400 Benny Parsons Ford
  • Bobby Isaac's 1969 win was his first in a long-distance superspeedway race.
  • Richard Petty's 1972 win was his first in a Dodge. His 1971 win was the only time he won the season finale in his illustrious career which saw 200 wins (most of all-time) and 7 Championships (tied for most all-time with Dale Earnhardt and Jimmie Johnson).
  • The 1979 400 was NASCAR's first race at Texas after it shut down for the 1974-5 seasons; USAC stock cars and Indycars returned to Texas in 1976.

USAC Stock Cars

SCCA Can-Am winners

Season Winning Driver Chassis Engine
1969 New Zealand Bruce McLaren McLaren M8B Chevrolet

IMSA winners

Season Winning Driver Car
1972 Mexico Juan Izquierdo
Mexico Daniel Muñiz
Ford Mustang
1995 South Africa Wayne Taylor Ferrari 333SP
1996 South Africa Wayne Taylor
United States Jim Pace
Riley & Scott Mk III-Oldsmobile

References

External links