Race Weekend Central

Eddie Gossage, Former Texas Motor Speedway President, Dead at 65

Eddie Gossage, longtime Speedway Motorsports, Inc. promoter who served as Texas Motor Speedway’s general manager and president, until 2021, passed away Thursday night (May 16).

He was 65.

SMI announced Gossage’s death on Thursday night. No cause of death was given.

“Today we have lost one of the world’s biggest race fans,” said Marcus Smith, SMI President and CEO. “From his legendary promotions to the lasting relationships he developed throughout the sports and entertainment industries, Eddie Gossage meant so much to the world of motorsports. On behalf of our Speedway Motorsports teammates across the country, our hearts go out to his many friends and his beloved family.

“We are praying for his wife, Melinda, daughter Jessica, son Dustin and daughter-in-law Lauren during this trying time as well as his grandchildren Lyra, Evelyn and Oliver. We know the children were the light of his life.”

See also
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Gossage first joined SMI in 1989, serving as Vice President of Public Relations at Charlotte Motor Speedway. He was a key figure in promoting “One Hot Night” in 1992, the NASCAR All-Star Race (then called The Winston) that featured lights on a large track for the very first time and ended with Davey Allison narrowly beating Kyle Petty before crashing into the outside wall and ending up in the hospital.

Following that, Gossage and Bruton Smith, president of SMI and owner of Charlotte (and Marcus’ father), united to scout out a location for what would become Texas Motor Speedway. Once the Dallas-Fort Worth area was chosen as the track’s designated location, groundbreaking began in April 1995.

Smith asked Gossage to be the track’s general manager one month later, an offer that Gossage accepted. Gossage was later given the additional title of president in 2004.

Gossage was able to recruit NASCAR, the Indy Racing League and Championship Auto Racing Teams to race on the 1.5-mile sister track to Charlotte, though CART eventually backed out due to its drivers suffering high g-forces on the track. Even when IRL and CART merged to form what we now know as the NTT IndyCar Series in 2008, the series continued to visit the track until 2024.

Texas itself has undergone several facelifts to fix issues such as pit road, turn 4, and surface issues that led to pileups within the first three laps of the first and second NASCAR Cup Series races. Its most recent configuration in 2017 has largely been panned by race fans for the development of one groove racing for both NASCAR and IndyCar.

In 2013, Gossage announced the construction of ‘Big Hoss’, a jumbotron that was later certified by the Guinness Book of World Records as the largest HD television LED screen in the world.

Despite hitting several additional rough patches during his tenure, Gossage continued to oversee the track until 2021. That year, he retired from SMI altogether following that year’s All-Star Race, which was held at Texas for the first time.

He then became a public speaker.

NASCAR put out a statement on X late Thursday night on Gossage’s passing.

Shortly after, IndyCar gave a statement of its own through Jay Frye, president of IndyCar.

About the author

Anthony Damcott joined Frontstretch in March 2022. Currently, he is an editor and co-authors Fire on Fridays (Fridays); he is also the primary Truck Series reporter/writer. A proud West Virginia Wesleyan College alum from Akron, Ohio, Anthony is now a grad student. He is a theatre actor and fight-choreographer-in-training in his free time. He is a loyal fan of the Cincinnati Reds and Carolina Panthers, still hopeful for a championship at some point in his lifetime.

You can keep up with Anthony by following @AnthonyDamcott on Twitter.

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