The Texas Motorplex: A Brief History
The Texas Motorplex is located about 40 miles south of Dallas in Ennis, Texas. This 1/4 mile drag racing facility was constructed in 1986 and was granted the honor of being recognized as the first super track by the NHRA (National Hot Rod Association.) It has been home to some of the greatest record-breaking performances.
Billy Meyer, a former Funny Car driver, would break ground to build the first NHRA super track after signing an agreement in 1985 to host an event the following year. In 1986, construction began with a plan to create the first post-tension, all-concrete, stadium-style, quarter-mile facility designed particularly for drag racing.
The design and finish were phenomenal, and Darrell Gwynn took to the track in 1986 to make his mark in its history. He broke the 5.3-second barrier with an astonishing pass of 5.261 seconds, securing the honorary title of "fastest racer in NHRA history!" That's not all; he also broke the 275 mph speed barrier by reaching a top speed of 278.55 mph.
In 1987, the Texas Motorplex became the first non-NHRA owned facility to host multiple national events and the only track to host a hall of fame. It also became the first facility to establish a permanent VIP Hospitality structure, originally known as the Top Eliminator Club and later the Champion's Club.
Only two years after Darrell, Eddie Hill eclipsed his run, breaking the 5-second barrier with an outstanding 4.990-second pass on April 9, 1988. This was the first time anyone had achieved this monumental task.
Nine years later, on October 19, 1997, Cory McClenathan broke the 320 mph speed barrier, setting the track ablaze and reaching a top speed of 321.77 mph, a new NHRA national record.
On October 23, 1999, Top Fuel racer Tony Schumacher won his first national event at the Motorplex, going on to win his first NHRA championship title later that year. On the same day, John Force secured his 9th championship title in the NHRA's Funny Car category by defeating his opponent Tommy Johnson Jr. in the closest side-by-side race in Funny Car history! In 2001, he would eclipse Bob Glidden's record of 10 series championships with his 11th win.
Another memorable event from the Texas Motorplex’s rich history was Greg Anderson’s second consecutive NHRA Pro Stock win in 2004, becoming the first driver in NHRA history to accomplish this in such a short time. He went on to win the Speed Driver of the Year award that same year.
On September 23, 2007, John Force and Kenny Bernstein were in a terrible car crash in the Final Eliminations after their second-round matchup. Force was subject to severe injuries preventing him from racing until the 2008 season. However, he would make an awe-inspiring comeback, earning a semifinal finish at the Motorplex in 2008 and a second-round finish in 2009. In 2010, he made his first final round appearance since the crash, losing the title to Matt Hagan, a legendary racer in his own respect. In an emotional speech, John Force, known by his fans and fellow racers as "Brute Force," would vow to win again at the Texas Motorplex in the coming years.
Currently held track records at the Texas Motorplex include an ET of 3.761 seconds by JR Todd and a top speed of 326.71 mph by Doug Kalitta in the Top Fuel category, an ET of 4.039 seconds, and a top speed of 314.90 mph by John Force's daughter Courtney in the Funny Car category, and an ET of 6.550 seconds and a top speed of 211.99 mph by Allen Johnson in the Pro Stock category.
The Texas Motorplex continues to be a top-of-the-line and state-of-the-art facility which entertains all kinds of racers and events. The track’s rich history has become part of the Texan culture and invites racers of all pedigrees to compete on these famed and revered grounds.
The 2021 calendar of events at the Motorplex features many exciting and spectacular events, such as the Funny Car Chaos + Outlaw Fuel Altered Nitro Madness event in March and the Street Car Super Nationals in June. However, the most anticipated event of them all is the Season 4 Street Outlaws No Prep Kings race scheduled for July 9-10. At this event, the fastest underground street racers in America will take part in a ruthless and fierce competition to be crowned "No Prep King" and take home the massive cash prize. Please book your tickets here, before they run out!