Texas 500

We wound up moving to the Dallas area in August 1997.  Wonder of wonders, we live just a few miles from the track.  In the months before the next Cup race, we plotted our course down little known Farm Roads and felt sure that we would not be caught in the horrendous traffic of the previous year.  Mom came to town nearly a week before the race, Dad decided to stay home (his loss).  In the days before the race, we had a great time chasing after Show Cars and driver autographs.  Here's a few photos of our adventures.  Sorry the photos are so crummy, that's what you get with a $10 camera!

Click on the thumnails to see the pictures at full size!


  The DuPont #24 was showcased at a local carpet store. You can tell who the Jeff Gordon fans are in these pictures.  Cindy's mom came to town for the festivities. That's her checking out the inside of the car. 

The local dealerships hosted a Ford Fan Appreciation party at the Dallas Convention Center. Steven got to meet his favorite driver, Mark Martin. Steven wore his Halloween costume.  He had to wait in line for a very long time, but it was worth it. Meeting your idol is a pretty big deal for a 5 year old. He could barely say "Hi". Afterwards, he feels a little shy about standing so close to Martin's car.


 Mimi, Christen, and Steven got to meet Rusty Wallace.  Mark had to work and couldn't make it.  Steven was kind enough to give his Rusty autograph to his Daddy.


 Some of the other drivers we saw were Bill Elliott, Jerry Nadeau, and Billy Standridge.  We tried to get Dale Jarrett's autograph, but the line was way too long by the time we got to it.


As I mentioned, I don't have any good pictures of the race.  My GOOD camera broke during the inaugural race, so I had to depend on one of those really cheap ones.  It just doesn't have the shutter speed to catch those cars as they whip around the track, but I really like to talk about our experiences at the race, so there's LOTS MORE info if you just keep reading!

For the 1998 running of the Texas 500, we still went for the infield passes (hey, when you're broke, you're broke), but we had hoped to get a better viewing spot this time around.  Several teams came out to test in March, so we went to the track every day.  We knew we were going to be in the infield, so we sat in the grandstands and looked for good places in the infield to sit.  We had decided that a little spot between the pit road exit and Turn 1 would provide a good view of the front stretch AND the first few pit stalls.  On the morning of the race, we set out at around 5:00 AM (just in case) and took our secret route to the track.  We got there in record time, with only 2 or 3 other cars on the road with us.  We found a great place to park by the helicopter pads at the North Tunnel.  We sat there for an hour or more just watching crews and VIPs coming in.

We had a hard time convincing the security guard at the gate that our infield passes entitled us to enter the track as of 5:00PM the night before.  He kept insisting that we couldn't go in until the regular gates opened, but fortunately, there were enough of us hanging around and trying to show him our tickets that he relented.  One bad thing about WALKING into the infield is that you have to carry all your STUFF.  The previous year, we had carried all our lawn chairs and coolers by hand, but this year, we brought along the Radio Flyer.  Sure made things much easier, but Mark still insists that we should leave most of it at home.  My argument is:  we gotta sit and we gotta eat, therefore, unless he's willing to shell out a few more $$$, then we gotta have lawn chairs and a cooler.

We were quite disappointed to find that the area where we wanted to sit was roped off.  It had been open the year before.  This year it was the holding place for the cars used for Driver Introductions.  We DID get to walk up to the spot we had picked out, and sure enough, you could see everything just like we thought and then some.  We thought about coming back to that spot after they opened it up once the race started, but we never could get Mark to move.  We wound up in the exit of Turn 4 right by the 76 sign.  It was also right beside the Infield Care Center and the emergency helicopter pad.  I don't think we want to sit there again, because every time a helicopter arrived or departed, we nearly blew away!  But we did get to see Mike Skinner hit the wall right before our eyes.


 And finally, here's Steven as he enjoys the race!  
With the Mark Martin win, he couldn't have asked for a better ending to the Texas 500! 

GO, Mark, GO!

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1997 Texas 500

1999 Texas 500