Texas No Beer Sales at DIRECTV 500

FORT WORTH-DALLAS (Feb. 8, 2000) -- Texas Motor Speedway officials do not plan to sell beer during April's DIRECTV 500 weekend and will seek further input from its fans before making a decision regarding future events at the speedway. The...

FORT WORTH-DALLAS (Feb. 8, 2000) -- Texas Motor Speedway officials do not plan to sell beer during April's DIRECTV 500 weekend and will seek further input from its fans before making a decision regarding future events at the speedway.

The speedway made the announcement following the Feb. 5 vote allowing the sale and on-site consumption of alcohol in a previously dry part of Denton County where the speedway is located.

However, speedway officials have decided no change will be made to its current policy on beer, allowing fans to continue bringing beer in their coolers along with soft drinks, water and snacks to the April 2 DIRECTV 500.

"We're pleased that we have the option to sell beer now, but unless we find a clear-cut answer from our fans, we won't make any changes," said speedway general manager Eddie Gossage.

Gossage has been doing his homework over the past few weeks, calling ticket holders at random to get their opinions on the issue.

"The opinions vary, but I wanted to share all the details with the fans so they could offer a knowledgeable opinion," said Gossage. "We talked about pricing, brand choices and the laws of the State of Texas. We will undertake a broader study to determine what our fans want and they will ultimately make the decision."

The speedway's decision on beer sales is the latest effort to keep the facility fan friendly. In an effort to ease traffic congestion at race time, Gossage announced in January a joint project between Denton County and the speedway to construct a new interchange and frontage roads located on the northeast corner of the speedway property and Interstate 35-W. The speedway is one of the few which gives fans an opportunity to obtain free race qualifying tickets through the event sponsor. The facility is also the only sports venue in Dallas-Fort Worth to provide free parking for all events.

"Professional sports organizations would do well to fully understand what their fans want and some have made mistakes by not listening to their customers," said Gossage. "We would not be here if not for our fans and will follow their lead.

"We are in the process of meeting with our concessionaire contractor who will then meet with the Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission (TABC) on the options available to us in the future," said Gossage. "The State of Texas has very specific laws governing the sale of alcohol and prohibits individuals from bringing alcoholic beverages into a venue where they are sold. We believe it is the fans right to bring their cooler to the races. If the only way we could sell beer is to ban fans from bringing beer in their coolers, we will choose not to sell beer at our races."

Speedway officials, however, believe the Feb. 5 vote allowing the sale of on-premise alcohol is good for the venue.

"We have lost concerts and other sporting events because beer revenue was not available to promoters," said Gossage. "The promoters then look at other stadiums and arenas in the area. We believe having the ability to sell beer at non-racing events will bring in more business to Texas Motor Speedway and that is good for the community."

Gossage commended the Denton County Commissioner's Court for calling the election.

"The Denton County Commissioner's Court has done a great service for Denton County, ultimately creating a new tax base and more jobs," said Gossage. "The more events that are held at the speedway, the better for Denton County's economy. This election makes the speedway competitive with the other area sports and entertainment venues as we consider other non-racing events. We will work closely with the Denton County Commissioner's Court and the TABC as we learn more about our options.

"The Commissioner's Court put the decision in the hands of the citizens of Precinct 7 and they overwhelmingly supported this option," said Gossage. "Commissioner Scott Armey and the other members of the court have shown great leadership."

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Series NASCAR Cup