Eddie Gossage, Former Texas Motor Speedway President, Promoter Dies at 65

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Eddie Gossage, Racing Super Promoter, Dies at 65Adrian Garcia - Getty Images

Eddie Gossage, a long-time auto racing promoter and former president of Texas Motor Speedway, died Thursday at the age of 65.

Gossage was diagnosed with cancer in 2008.

Well-known across motorsports as one of professional sports’ most innovative administrators and promoters, Gossage challenged the standard way of doing things and brought new ideas and events to the racing world. He spent 42 years at the top levels of racing, working 36 years at speedways after six years in public relations for Miller Brewing Co. and its motorsports sponsorships.

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Track president Eddie Gossage rides into the Texas Motor Speedway media center for a 2017 press conference with Dale Earnhardt Jr.Jonathan Ferrey - Getty Images

Gossage was a vice president of communications at Charlotte Motor Speedway. His work there led Speedway Motorsports chairman Bruton Smith to assign Gossage the task of building the new Texas Motor Speedway near Fort Worth in 1996. This gave Gossage a virtual blank slate for his ideas for promotions and planning, and he put a Texas-size approach to both the construction of the speedway and its operations.


“Eddie’s career spanned 32 years promoting major events at Charlotte Motor Speedway and supporting my father, Bruton, with the iconic showplace that is Texas Motor Speedway,” said Marcus Smith, Speedway Motorsports chairman. “His impact in our sport will be felt for many years to come. We repeat one of Eddie’s favorite sayings often: If we don’t make a big deal out of it, nobody else will. He lived that mantra every day at work, developing creative publicity stunts, pre-race shows and over-the-top entertainment.”

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Fans pay tribute to Gossage during his last race weekend as track president in 2021.Sean Gardner - Getty Images

Gossage learned much of his craft under Charlotte Motor Speedway president Humpy Wheeler, who turned CMS pre-race shows into spectacles.

Gossage enjoyed twisting perceptions. When Texas Motor Speedway opened in 1997, many expected the track’s first national anthem to be performed by one or more country music stars, of which Texas, of course, could claim many. Gossage turned the tables and invited internationally renowned pianist Van Cliburn to play the anthem. That plan was derailed when days of rain turned the track’s first weekend into a quagmire, and Cliburn was not able to get to the track. He agreed to return the next year to perform the anthem.

Gossage colored TMS race weekends with rodeos, wrestling, stunt drivers and other spectator favorites. He was involved in similar promotions in Charlotte, where he was in charge of planning for the 1992 NASCAR All-Star race, labeled “One Hot Night” because it was the first major race under the lights at a superspeedway. It was a roaring success.

Gossage considered competing against the Dallas Cowboys and the Texas Rangers and other established Texas sports icons his grandest challenge. He fought for news media and

fan interest and used various stunts and promotions in attempts to keep TMS in the spotlight.

“Eddie Gossage was a trailblazer, promoter and innovator at a time when attracting attention was critical as Speedway Motorsports expanded NASCAR into the Lone Star State,” said TMS executive vice president Mark Faber. “Each day I come to work I see the impact he had throughout our property. Eddie laid a foundation for success to build upon for generations to come and made Texas Motor Speedway a showplace of which Texans will always be proud.”

IndyCar Series president Jay Frye called Gossage “a giant in the motorsports industry. His endless creativity, flair and dedication to the fan experience at Texas Motor Speedway raised the bar for racetracks across America. Eddie was a phenomenal supporter of the NTT IndyCar Series. Our races at TMS always were among the most highly anticipated weekends on the schedule, both for the incredible on-track action and the memorable promotions Eddie turned from ideas into reality. Eddie will be missed, and we extend our sympathies to his family and friends.”

Gossage retired in 2021 and enjoyed spending time with his grandchildren. In an interview with Autoweek, he called it “the best season of my life.”

Funeral arrangements are incomplete.