Texas Motor Speedway’s “Big Hoss” nearing completion

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The race names are bigger in Texas, as we learned with the release of the “Duck Commander 500” a couple weeks ago, and so are the television screens.

“Big Hoss,” the new and world’s largest HD video board created by Panasonic at Texas Motor Speedway, was announced last year with the first update provided in January.

And as we’re less than two months out from the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series weekend in Texas, TMS thought it a good time to provide a further update on the construction of the video board.

Local Dallas/Fort Worth media members had a chance to tour the board on Friday in a special sneak preview, led by TMS President Eddie Gossage. Work has continued on the board despite the frigid winter temperatures.

Towering 12 stories high over the backstretch is the completed steel framework that will serve as the foundation for “Big Hoss TV.” Workers have installed 28 of the 40 LED modules – each measuring 54.5 feet by 9.5 feet – that will be placed in 10 rows of four that will serve as record HD display area that measures 218 feet (width) by 94.6 feet (height).

The finished product will be 79 percent larger than the one at Dallas’ AT&T Stadium, home of the Dallas Cowboys (20,633.34 square feet at TMS, compared to 11,520 at AT&T and 16,000 at Charlotte Motor Speedway).

“This is the largest fan amenity we have ever undertaken in the history of Texas Motor Speedway and it truly should be a game changer in the industry,” Gossage said in a release. “Panasonic has done a tremendous job in keeping the project on schedule and have their crews working around the clock seven days a week on this enormous undertaking. Given the target completion date of March 1, we’re working on a “Big Hoss TV” sneak preview event with a dynamic entertainment element that will be open to the public in mid-March that will be announced soon.”

Additionally, a state-of-the-art control room for the board is being built adjacent to timing & scoring on the front-stretch. Here’s a pic of it, below.

source: Getty Images
Photo courtesy Texas Motor Speedway

IndyCar’s season finale at St. Pete approved to have 20,000 fans

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The NTT IndyCar Series’ season finale will be permitted up to 20,000 fans, making the Firestone Grand Prix of St. Petersburg possibly the circuit’s most well-attended race of 2020. The race originally was scheduled as the season opener before being moved to Oct. 25 because of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

IndyCar has enjoyed limited crowds at Road America, Iowa Speedway, Gateway, Mid-Ohio and this weekend’s doubleheader races at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway road course, which could have up to 10,000 fans in attendance. That had been the largest maximum grandstand crowd for an IndyCar race this season.

At a St. Petersburg city council meeting Thursday, Mayor Rick Kriseman approved plans by race organizers Green Savoree Racing Promotions to hold the Oct. 23-25 weekend for the IndyCar Grand Prix of St. Pete with 20,000 fans who would follow health and safety protocols that include mandatory temperature checks and masks.

 “My thanks to Green Savoree Racing Promotions and IndyCar for their flexibility and resilience during this challenging time,” Kriseman said in a release. “I know that everyone is excited to get back on the track in St. Pete. I can’t wait for Oct. 23rd. I know everyone will embrace this race the St. Pete way, adhering to the COVID-19 health and safety protocols. Let’s have some great racing in the Sunshine City.”

Paddock and the pit lane will remain closed to spectators, and social distancing of at least 6 feet will be observed on site.

“Our entire team greatly appreciates the patience and understanding of our ticket holders as we worked through this process with Mayor Kriseman, City Council and local health officials,” Kim Green, co-owner, chairman and CEO of Green Savoree Promotions. “It’s important for everyone who attends to read and follow all the COVID-19 protocols to contribute to a fun, safe and successful event for us all.”

“The ongoing guidance and support of Mayor Kriseman, City Council, and the City of St. Petersburg’s event team have been phenomenal,” said Kevin Savoree, co-owner, president and COO of Green Savoree Promotions. “We also would not be in this position to move this spring tradition to fall without Firestone’s unwavering commitment and dedication. It’s going to be a terrific weekend again in downtown St. Pete in three weeks featuring world-class racing from INDYCAR.”