Motorplex Set For A Stampede

| Senior Writer, RacinToday.com Saturday, September 3 2022

The Texas Motorplex is gearing up for a Sampede.

Texas Motorplex’s second annual Stampede of Speed will introduce a special event next month in Ennis, as defending professional event winners of the NHRA Texas FallNationals will be honored during a Champions Dinner.

Scheduled for Wednesday, Oct. 12, in the track’s upscale Champions Club, 2021 winners Justin Ashley (Top Fuel), Ron Capps (Funny Car), Greg Anderson (Pro Stock) and Matt Smith (Pro Stock Motorcycle) will headline the festivities. The inaugural Champions Dinner is booked for Day 6 of the Stampede of Speed, a 10-day festival of music, drag racing and fan experiences in advance of the 37th annual NHRA Texas FallNationals.

NHRA’s 16-race regular season will end Monday with finals of the 68th annual Dodge Power Brokers NHRA U.S. Nationals at Lucas Oil Indianapolis Raceway Park. The six-race Countdown to the Championship playoffs is set to begin for the top-10 drivers in points among the four pro classes at the Pep Boys NHRA Nationals in Reading, Pa., Sept. 15-18. The NHRA FallNats at International Drag Racing Hall of Famer Billy Meyer’s Motorplex is Round 4 of the postseason, set for Oct. 13-16.

All four winners of last year’s event at The Plex are scheduled to be in attendance for the Champions Dinner. The event will feature a cocktail hour, plated dinner with entrees and desserts selected by the drivers, individual photo opportunities with the drivers, a Q&A hosted by NHRA announcer Joe Castello and post-dinner concert on the lawn behind the luxury suites.

“We took a page from a number of celebratory events to create a unique and personalized night with our Camping World Drag Racing Series event winners,” said Christie Meyer Johnson, Texas Motorplex co-owner. “We are thrilled to be honoring Justin, Ron, Greg and Matt and to give fans the chance to enjoy a special night with these winners. We let the drivers select their favorite foods for the menu and we will have special gifts for all attendees. This is a tradition we hope to build on for years to come.”

In addition to recognizing the previous year’s winners, all prior FallNationals professional champions have been invited to the event. Fans will be welcomed by a red-carpet entrance with unique Stampede of Speed backdrop as they enter the Champions Club.

Once inside, guests will have an opportunity to take a photo with the winners and enjoy a cocktail before a plated meal is served. During the dinner sponsored by NAPA Auto Parts, each winner will be interviewed by NHRA’s Castello _ official voice of the Stampede of Speed _ from guest-submitted questions. The evening will conclude with a concert featuring a whiskey-tasting and cigar bar. Guests also will receive an exclusive Champions Dinner gift.

“It’s an honor to be recognized at the Champions Dinner with the other winners of last year’s inaugural Stampede of Speed,” said Ashley, a four-time NHRA Top Fuel winner. “The Texas Motorplex always goes the extra mile and I can’t wait for the opportunity to celebrate our victory one more time with all of those in attendance.”

Tickets for the event are available at $200 per person. Each ticket will include Wednesday night VIP parking, two drink tickets, dinner, photo with drivers, souvenir item and admission to the post-dinner concert. The event will begin at 6 p.m. (CDT) with cocktails, dinner at 7 p.m. and the private concert at 8:30 p.m.

Texas Motorplex, which opened in 1986, is a multi-use facility located 35 minutes from the Dallas-Fort Worth Metroplex and serving downtown Waxahachie. A former Funny Car driver, Meyer introduced corporate suites and stadium-style seating to the sport with the facility as well as an all-concrete racing surface. In addition to non-racing activities and concerts, the Stampede of Speed will include educational and business events for fans from across the country.

“Last year we took a leap of faith with the Stampede of Speed and it paid off with thousands of fans coming to Texas Motorplex, Waxahachie and Ellis County for 10 days of racing and entertainment,” Meyer Johnson said. “Our goal is to welcome visitors to the great state of Texas and introduce them to our facility, the NHRA playoffs and high-quality, family-friendly events.”

The Stampede of Speed calendar includes ticketed and non-ticketed events leading into qualifying and eliminations for the FallNationals. Fans can visit www.stampedeofspeed.com for more information and to purchase tickets. Highlights of the second annual Stampede of Speed (subject to revision):

Friday, Oct. 7, High Noon Cattle Drive _ In true Texas tradition, area cowboys will drive over a dozen head of cattle (along with special guests) through downtown Waxahachie and around the historic courthouse to kick off the Stampede of Speed.

Friday/Saturday, Oct. 7-8, Funny Car Chaos World Finals _ Featuring the fastest and coolest nostalgia Funny Cars from the previous four decades, the Funny Car Chaos Series will crown its national champions over two-days of speed and fury. Race day will conclude with a pit-side concert for fans and participants.

Sunday, Oct. 9, Stars Over Texas Music Festival with Bull Riding, Beer Expo and BBQ Contest _Some of the best pitmasters in North Texas will pair their delicacies with refreshing craft beer courtesy of Metroplex breweries. Before the country music performers take the stage fans will be treated to a bull riding exhibition. Multiple musical acts from Nashville to Texas will entertain from the afternoon into the evening. A special lantern release will cap off this event.

Monday, Oct. 10, The Stampede of Speed Scott Palmer Nitro Side Show _This ticketed event will feature some of the wildest race cars on the planet attempting to set speed records and breathe fire down The Plex’s all-concrete surface. The pits will be open for fans to get up-close with an exotic selection of hot rods.

Tuesday, Oct. 11, Second Annual NHRA Texas Stampede of Speed Shootout _ Competitors from across the region will turn laps down The Plex in Pro Mods, Top Dragsters and a host of high-performance vehicles. Door-slammers and dragsters will battle for bragging rights and the chance to hoist the Shootout trophy. Pro Mods from every sanctioning association, including NHRA, will settle scores on-track via a no-rules/anything goes format. 

Wednesday, Oct. 12, NHRA Camping World Drag Racing Series Pro Invitational and Texas Fall Nationals Champions Dinner _ Fans are invited to watch Pro Stock, Pro Stock Motorcycle, Top Alcohol Dragster and Top Alcohol Funny Car competitors run test laps in advance of the NHRA Texas FallNationals. NHRA Camping World Drag Racing Series regulars will be preparing for the fourth race of the Countdown. The open test is scheduled from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. (CDT).

Later, ticketed fans will join 2021 Texas FallNationals champions Justin Ashley, Ron Capps, Greg Anderson and Matt Smith for an inaugural dinner celebration event in the Champions Club. Scheduled from 6 to 10 p.m., the event will include a cocktail happy hour, plated dinner each champion selected, photos and autographs, a Q&A session and special souvenir for all attendees.

Thursday, Oct. 13, Texas FallNationals Sportsman Qualifying and Fan Fest in Downtown Waxahachie _  Racing continues as the FallNationals begin with Sportsman qualifying from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. (CDT).

Later, the free Fan Fest will begin in downtown Waxahachie at 6 p.m., highlighting race cars, interactive games, live music and family-oriented activities through 9 p.m. A massive driver autograph session will cap an evening including food trucks and kids games.

Friday, Oct. 14, Friday Night Live at Texas Motorplex _ For the third consecutive year, Friday Night Live will modify the traditional qualifying format as music, exhibition runs and a guest DJ will complement NHRA’s pro qualifiers in their four respective categories. The night will conclude with a free after-party on the starting line.

Saturday, Oct. 15, Final NHRA Texas FallNationals Qualifying _ The last chance for Countdown drivers and their crews to make the 16-car ladder for Sunday’s eliminations. Teams will have two runs to make the show or be relegated to spectator status.

Sunday, Oct. 16, NHRA Texas FallNationals Race Day _ Following opening ceremonies, top drag racers from around the country will move one step closer to an NHRA world championship at the only Countdown playoff race in the Lone Star State. As always, the pits will be open for fans to mix-and-mingle with the racers throughout the day. At the conclusion of racing, fans will be allowed to join the Winner’s Circle celebration on the starting line.

Editor’s Note: John Sturbin is a Texas-based journalist specializing in motorsports. During a near 30-year career with the Fort Worth Star-Telegram, he won the Bloys Britt Award for top motorsports story of the year (1991) as judged by The Associated Press; received the National Hot Rod Association’s Media Award (1995) and several in-house Star-Telegram honors. He also was inaugural recipient of the Texas Motor Speedway Excellence in Journalism Award (2009). His list of freelance clients includes Texas Motor Speedway, the Dallas Morning News, New York Newsday, Rome (N.Y.) Daily Sentinel, Corpus Christi (Texas) Caller Times, NASCAR Wire Service, Ford Racing and Used Car Dealer magazine).


| Senior Writer, RacinToday.com Saturday, September 3 2022
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