Texas Motor Speedway president Eddie Gossage will retire this summer

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Texas Motor Speedway president Eddie Gossage will retire after this year’s NASCAR All-Star Race, the track announced Thursday. Gossage, 62, is one of the longest-tenured employees at Speedway Motorsports Inc. and has held a leadership position at Texas Motor Speedway for the last 26 years.

He joined Speedway Motorsports (SMI) in 1989 as the vice president of public relations at Charlotte Motor Speedway and facilitated the opening of the racetrack in North Texas under the guidance of SMI executive chairman Bruton Smith in the 1990s. Gossage was named general manager of Texas Motor Speedway in 1995, and added the title of TMS president in 2004.

Speedway Motorsports, which owns and operates eight tracks on NASCAR’s schedule, said it will launch a nationwide search for Gossage’s successor.

“The timing just feels right after 32 years with the company,” Gossage said in a release. “The Smith family and Speedway Motorsports changed my life and I will forever be appreciative and grateful.”

Texas Motor Speedway is a 1,500-acre complex holding a 1.5-mile track that will host this year’s All-Star Race for the first time. The non-points event moved from Charlotte Motor Speedway to Bristol Motor Speedway last year during the pandemic, marking the first year since 1986 that Charlotte did not host the mid-season event, but Gossage has long sought to host the race at Texas.

He said it was one of the first major events he promoted at Charlotte. In 1992, the event included him rigging a giant switch to highlight a new lighting system at the track in Concord for the first All-Star Race at night and accidentally setting Smith’s hair on fire. Smith threw the switch during the press conference and too many parks flew.

“I thought I was headed for the unemployment line for sure,” Gossage said.

But Smith tasked Gossage with running SMI’s next facility shortly after and has high praise for the track president decades later.

“I am grateful for all that Eddie has done for our company,” Smith said in a statement. “He’s been a promoter, friend and an asset to the entire motorsports industry.”

“They say ‘everything’s bigger in Texas’, and I needed a big personality in Dallas/Fort Worth,” Smith said. “Eddie’s become a shrewd businessman over the years, but he’s remained a publicist at heart, and he never forgot what the entertainment business is about---having FUN.”

Gossage will go out with a show for the June 13 All-Star race, allowing his career to come “full circle” as a promotor for the event. From there, he said he’s not sure what his next adventure will be.

“I do know (wife) Melinda and I are looking forward to some more fun with the grandkids,” Gossage said. “But first, we’re going to corral some Texas-size fun one last time with the fans at the NASCAR All-Star Race!”

SMI president and CEO Marcus Smith, son of Bruton, called Gossage “synonymous with Texas Motor Speedway’s success.”

“His contributions to our company and the speedway’s impact on the state of Texas during his career are immeasurable,” Marcus Smith said. “Beyond the big events, wild pre-race shows and publicity stunts, Eddie has always been the biggest fan of the fans. No one has more desire to give them a memorable experience.

“I’ll always be thankful for his dedication to our company and the inspiration he’s given our staff to always put the fans first.”