Texas Motor Speedway is proud of its size — biggest crowd, biggest facility, biggest roar.Now, biggest big-screen.The speedway announced Monday that it plans to install a high-definition video board that will be the largest in the world — a 218-foot-long display across the backstretch that will be almost 100 feet tall, boast 4.8 million pixels and dwarf the Cowboys’ famed scoreboard at AT&T Stadium.“As everybody raises the bar, you’ve got to as well,” track president Eddie Gossage said. “It’s not about topping the Cowboys. It’s about doing the best we can for the fans.“I would tell you, though, you’ve got to give Jerry and the Cowboys all the credit, because they made this a big-screen market.”Not only will TMS’ new screen, to be built by Panasonic, be bigger than the Cowboys’ video board, it will eclipse the scoreboards installed by sister track Charlotte Motor Speedway and the Houston Texans at Reliant Stadium.At 20,633.64 square feet of usable space, the TMS screen will be 79 percent bigger than the Cowboys’ 11,520-square-foot board. The Texans have 14,549 square feet, and the Charlotte track — also owned by Speedway Motor Sports Inc., the TMS owner — has 16,000.“It’s fantastic. I love it. I think the largest TV should be in Texas, as a native Texan,” said fan Jeff Bentley of Carrollton.The video board will be centered on the 1,330-foot backstretch and rise 12 stories above it. It will be supported by seven standards and weigh 108 tons. Track officials said it will be built to withstand winds of 120 mph.The video board is expected to be up in time for the NASCAR Sprint Cup race in April.“Can’t imagine anybody building a bigger big screen than this one,” said Gossage, who made the announcement at a fan party in the Speedway Club, the nine-story building between Turns 1 and 2 of the 1.5-mile oval. “Certainly, it won’t fit into another stadium or arena.“Our sport is famous for catering to our fans, and this is a way to cater to our fans on a level that previously has not even been considered. Other things we want to do, are going to do, but this is one that has been obvious to us for a long time.”TMS officials nicknamed their screen “Big Hoss TV.”“This continues to show our company’s commitment to our great race fans, and our efforts to remain at the forefront of our industry,” SMI chairman Bruton Smith said. “Eddie always tells me everything is bigger in Texas, so I wanted to make this video board fit his motto.”Construction is scheduled to begin after the Sprint Cup race in November.“It will be a novelty, if you will, for some people to come out and see it,” Gossage said. “And if they come out and see it, they’re going to love the racing. If they’ve never been to a race before, it’s going to expose them to racing, and then we’ll reel them in and make them a regular.”Season scheduleTMS also announced its 2014 schedule, which includes a move to Sunday afternoon for the Sprint Cup race in April because of the Final Four.The track did not want to schedule a traditional Saturday night spring race to conflict with the NCAA men’s national basketball semifinals at AT&T Stadium, instead hoping to give visiting basketball fans a chance to go to the track for the Sunday race between semifinals and finals.The move to Sunday for the April race is for one year only, TMS officials said.The track also announced that the IndyCar Series race in June will be longer, going from 550 kilometers to 600 and be renamed the Firestone 600.
Carlos Mendez, 817-390-7407 Twitter: @calexmendez