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May 16, 2024

Eddie Gossage, former track president and longtime promoter, dies at age 65


Eddie Gossage speaks to media in a 2020 press conference.
Adrian Garcia
Getty Images

Eddie Gossage, a race promoter known for bold creative ideas and an unwavering passion for motorsports, died Thursday at the age of 65. His longtime employer Speedway Motorsports confirmed his passing.

“Today we have lost one of the world’s biggest race fans,” Speedway Motorsports President and CEO Marcus Smith said in a press release. “From his legendary promotions to the lasting relationships he developed throughout the sports and entertainment industries, Eddie Gossage meant so much to the world of motorsports. On behalf of our Speedway Motorsports teammates across the country, our hearts go out to his many friends and his beloved family.

“We are praying for his wife, Melinda, daughter Jessica, son Dustin and daughter-in-law Lauren during this trying time as well as his grandchildren Lyra, Evelyn and Oliver. We know the children were the light of his life.

“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,” Smith added. “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.”

Gossage’s passing comes on the eve of the 40th NASCAR All-Star Race weekend. One of the first major races he ever promoted was the 1992 NASCAR All-Star Race, known then as The Winston and marketed as ‘One Hot Night.’ The event, held at Charlotte Motor Speedway, was the first-ever NASCAR night race at a superspeedway.

“Eddie Gossage was a consummate promoter whose outside-the-box ideas helped engage fans across the country,” a NASCAR statement read. “He was truly passionate about motorsports and always looking for the next great idea to bring new fans to the sport and keep them entertained at the racetrack. Our deepest condolences go to Eddie’s family and friends.”

Gossage’s successes at Charlotte, alongside Speedway Motorsports Chairman and Founder Bruton Smith and CMS President and General Manager Humpy Wheeler, paved the way for Gossage to chart his own course at Texas Motor Speedway. When the track was built in 1996, Gossage was named its first general manager. For 25 years, until his retirement in 2021, Gossage hosted major sports and entertainment events, establishing Texas as an iconic venue that welcomed sports fans and entertainment-seekers from around the world.

Gossage excelled in a state where everything is bigger and his personality and promotional flair were popular from the campgrounds to suite level.

As passionate as he was about big events, Gossage also had a tremendous heart for children and the fundraising efforts of the Texas chapter of Speedway Children’s Charities.

“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 Texas Motor Speedway Executive Vice President and General Manager 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.”

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