FORT WORTH — The star of Texas Motor Speedway’s spring race weekend won’t take its best act to the stage until the day of the big show.
Big Hoss TV, which will be the largest high-definition video board in the world, is set to make its official debut the week of the Duck Commander 500. Speedway president Eddie Gossage said Friday that officials decided to not fully activate the board until a ceremony before the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race.
“The big screen will not be turned on until Sunday, [April 6],” Gossage said. “We’ll only use a portion of the screen on Thursday, Friday and Saturday.”
The weekend schedule is highlighted by Nationwide Series practice on Thursday, April 3, the O’Reilly Auto Parts 300 Nationwide race April 4 and Sprint Cup qualifying April 5. All of the board’s 14 million LEDs won’t be lit until Sunday’s main event.
“Elvis never opened for anybody,” Gossage said while giving a behind-the-scenes look at Big Hoss.
On a day too windy for workers to install the eighth of 10 rows of LED panels, Gossage also announced that the track is planning a public preview of the fully lit screen for mid-March.
Gossage said the 218-foot-by-94-foot board is designed to withstand winds of 130 mph before any damage occurs. The LEDs, which allow for 4.7 million pixels, are protected from hail by plastic ledges that act as visors over each three-diode grouping. Gossage said the panels sustained no damage when manufacturer Panasonic tested their durability by driving golf balls into them.
“I cannot tell you what the cost is,” Gossage said of his track’s new TV, adding that the expenditure will not have any effect on ticket prices.
“We closed the backstretch to ticket buyers,” Gossage said. “We want everybody seated on the frontstretch so they can see it.”
Since the cheaper seats between turns 2 and 3 will not be available, Gossage said the track is selling reserved frontstretch tickets to the Cup race for $30 for adults and $10 for children.
Currently, the world’s largest HD video board (16,000 square feet) is at Charlotte Motor Speedway in Concord, N.C. Big Hoss will measure 20,633 square feet, and Gossage said it will cost $40 per hour to power the full board.
Audio accompanying the video will be transmitted to fans via an FM signal, and the speedway’s featured concession item this season will be the Big Hoss TV Dinner.
MATT CRIDER can be reached at 940-566-6906.