Texas Motor Speedway

TMS still dreaming of hosting big-time college football game

Could Texas Motor Speedway host a major college football game?
Could Texas Motor Speedway host a major college football game? pmoseley@star-telegram.com

Texas Motor Speedway president Eddie Gossage has envisioned his track hosting a major college football game for years.

Bristol Motor Speedway pulled it off earlier this month with Tennessee and Virginia Tech squaring off, and TMS sent out a news release the week of the game to remind folks of Gossage’s idea for years.

TMS and Bristol are both Speedway Motorsports Inc. tracks, and Gossage would like to think Texas could be the next race track to do it.

But Gossage knows to make it work the game has to be “special” such as his idea in 2002 of hosting the Red River Rivalry between Texas and Oklahoma.

Gossage still believes that game would be a success at the track, or something such as Texas-Texas A&M.

But don’t get too far ahead of yourselves — Gossage hasn’t reached out to Texas or A&M about them renewing their football rivalry at TMS. Nothing is on the horizon.

“The substance is that Bristol did it earlier in the month and did it successfully,” Gossage said. “And the game has to be special. Texas-OU is special. Texas-Texas A&M is special. That would fit the bill of special. It just has to be a special game. A national championship game, you know, or whatever.”

Gossage attended the game at Bristol earlier this month, and feels that Texas could have just as much appeal.

TMS is home to the world’s largest HD screen, Big Hoss, and is functional enough to build a football field between the front stretch and pit road.

“It was a huge, huge deal and I was surprised how big camping was at Bristol,” Gossage said. “It was NASCAR-level camping at the game in Bristol. Camping is nothing more than a longer tailgate party, that’s part of the college experience. Why wouldn’t you want to do camping?

“That’s a whole untapped market and whole untapped entertainment experience for fans that you can’t get at other stadiums.”

And TMS could add as many temporary seats as needed for a possible college football game. TMS proudly boasts that it could hold more than five AT&T Stadiums in its 84-acre infield. AT&T Stadium is 15.17 acres.

Bristol drew almost 160,000 fans, and Gossage quipped: “You know, we’d have to at least draw one more than they did.

“We literally have no limits that other stadiums have. We can build as many temporary seats as demand requires.”

The issue would come down to getting marquee schools to agree to playing at the track. Gossage said Bristol had to pay Tennessee and Virginia Tech about $4 million each to play the game.

Outside of luring the schools with a significant amount of money, TMS would also have to pay to construct the field and each temporary seat costs the track roughly $20, Gossage said.

“But we know how to do it because it’s been done once now,” Gossage said. “We can just call up our friends at Bristol. They did a great job. Great job up there.”

Drew Davison: 817-390-7760, @drewdavison