NASCAR DIRECT TV 500 RACE
Texas Motor Speedway 2 April 2000
The Direct TV NASCAR 500 Auto Race was held at the Texas Motor Speedway on 2 April 2000 at 1 PM. Tom and Gretchen Webb of Red River, New Mexico drove to Lake Bridgeport and attended the race with me. They arrived on Saturday in time for a good margarita and visitation prior to dinner. We had a delightful buffet dinner in The Club at the Runaway Bay Country Club.
We got up early Sunday morning, had breakfast and headed for the speedway at 9 AM. We drove from Lake Bridgeport to Decatur and turned south on Hwy 287 proceeding to Hwy 407 which heads to Justin. We did not go through Justin but took country roads that brought us out on Hwy 156 about a mile from the entrance to the speedway. We entered the speedway parking lot and parked on Row 11 right in front of the main entrance. We arrived at the parking space on Row 11 at 9:40 AM. From the car we walked up the driveway to the main entrance to the grandstands.
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Before we entered the main gate we walked through a long corridor of 18-wheelers type trailers that were selling racing souvenirs. The racing fans were elbow to elbow. People were lined up 10 deep to buy the junk. I mean souvenirs. Several tents were in place to demonstrate racing stuff including full size racing cars. Believe it or not we did not buy a thing. We now entered the main gate and started the search for our seats. We had great seats in Section 425, Row 20, seats 15,16, and 17. From our seats we could see the entire track. The backstretch was visible but to far away for a real good view. However, there was a huge TV screen almost in front of us so we could see the events on the backstretch. The speedway added several temporary seating areas due to the large ticket demand. As it turned out there was 223,000 thousand people at the race in spite of the weather. The weather was not the most desirable for a racing weekend. It rained most of the day on Saturday delaying the Saturday Grand National 300 Race about 4 hours. It continued raining during the night. The rain stopped early Sunday morning and did not rain during the race, however it was cloudy and cool all day. We arrived at our seats at 10:45 AM. There were lots of activities during the two and a half hours before the 1 PM start of the race.
The view of the track from our seats was very good. We could see the infield, backstretch, grandstands, and all of the suites. A Care Flight helicopter landed right in front of us. A helicopter carrying a new Monte Carlo automobile flew over and deposited the car on the grass next to pit row. Five people had been selected to draw keys to the car. The person that had the keys to start the car won the car. The second person to draw the keys won the car. There was a huge fireworks display for the winner. The huge TV screen in front of us allowed us to view the presentation ceremony prior to the race. Jeff Gordon and Terry Labonte were presented with awards along with many other folks. It is getting close to time to start the race.
The cars were uncovered and preparations were initiated to start the race. Each driver was introduced and put into a convertible that circled the track so that all the fans could view the drivers. Texan Terry Labonte had won the pole position so he was the last to circle the track. The drivers now entered their racecars and entered the track behind the pace car. The cars circled the track 3 laps when Roger Staubach waved the green flag to start the race. The racetrack is 1.5 miles long so it required 334 laps to make 500 miles. There were 12 caution periods caused by crashes. All of the crashes but one were single car accidents. One wreck involved three cars but with little damage. The race had 27 lead changes. The divers that led most of the time were Bobby Labonte, Jeff Burton and Dale Earnhart, Jr. The dominant driver however, was Dale Earnhart, Jr. who went on to win the race by several seconds. It was his first Winston Cup victory. Jeff Burton finished second with Bobby Labonte taking third place.
We left the grandstands immediately upon the end of the race. We got to the car at 5:25 PM. We were in a traffic tie up for 2 hours without moving an inch. The photographs show the traffic conditions. After we started moving the traffic continued
Very well and we arrived back in Lake Bridgeport 8:30 PM.
We had a very exciting day. We hope you enjoy our dialog and photos of the Direct TV 500 NASCAR race.