BY KEITH WALTZ
Long before Bruton Smith carved Texas Motor Speedway out of the Lonestar State landscape, the NASCAR Cup Series made eight visits to Texas World Speedway.
The two-mile track, located near College Station Texas, opened in 1969. It was originally part of Larry LoPatin’s American Raceways Inc. and was very similar to Michigan International Speedway, which the company also owned.
Short-track ace Bobby Isaac recorded his first superspeedway victory when the NASCAR Cup Series ran its 1969 season finale at Texas World Speedway on Dec. 7.
Driving the K&K Insurance Dodge Daytona, Isaac took the lead with 15 laps remaining in the 500-mile race and won by two laps over Donnie Allison’s Ford. Benny Parsons finished third with James Hylton and Dick Brooks completing the top-five finishers.
American Raceways Inc. filed bankruptcy in 1971. The Texas facility went through a series of owners over the years, but never found its financial footing. The tack’s final NASCAR Cup Series race was run on June 7, 1981
That event saw Parsons, driving Bud Moore’s Ford, chase down and pass Dale Earnhardt for the lead with just four laps remaining. Parsons beat Earnhardt to the checkered flag by 0.51 seconds. Bobby Allison finished third followed by Richard Petty and Dave Marcis.
Petty tops the Texas World Speedway win list with three NASCAR Cup Series victories, while Isaac, Parsons, Buddy Baker, Darrell Waltrip and Cale Yarborough each recorded single wins.
It wasn’t until 2018 that development began to consume the 600-acre speedway property, and the press box and grandstands were reportedly torn down last year.