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Hello, Officer…… Don’t Speed in Texas

Earlier this week, we went to the Texas Motor Speedway in Ft. Worth, TX for the Texas Auto Writers Association (TAWA) Auto Roundup. This event brings journalist members together with a myriad of auto manufacturers for a full day of hardcore driving on the in-field road course. This year, we had over 58 cars in the field, including some very cool super cars such as the 2013 Jaguar XKRS, the Mercedes SLK55 AMG and the Nissan GT-R Black Edition.

To start the day, I hopped into the 2013 Ford Mustang GT California Special, which feature 424 horsepower, 6-speed stick and all the handling that the GT platform offers. To say the least, it was fun.

All of this came with a bitter pill. When we first started attending this event 4 years ago, we were told by the track officials that the entire facility, including the 5-mile outer ring road that encompasses the parking lot, was private property. There is a 3/4-mile stretch that is flat, 4-lanes wide and perfect for triple digits. Many journalists have been known to traverse this road at speeds well over 140 MPH, I even have a few videos….

The problem is that apparently, we were not told the correct information. The outer ring road is actually a Ft. Worth public street with a 35 MPH speed limit. Oops. As we all learned on Monday, in the state of Texas, speeding 25 MPH over the posted limit is an automatic go to jail, impound the car and face 6 months in jail and up to $3000 in fines. How many of us are guilty of driving 120 OVER that limit? I know of several.

You may think we found out during the driver’s meeting, or that the track officials let us know at the beginning of the day, but you would be wrong. Instead of something logical, we start the day out lik,e usual, only to find a few cops trolling the grounds. After a few of us were stopped and made aware of the situation, the tone of the day was soured a little. The typical process was to drive the outer ring road, get a feel for the power and handling of the car, then take it for a few laps on the in-field road course and have at it. Without the outer ring road to get a feel for the car, the track was the only place we had to really test the cars. The cop that stopped me was cool about all of it, he wasn’t giving out tickets or impounding cars, even though was within the law to do so. I was “lucky” enough to have my GoPro HD on the side of the Mustang when he pulled me over for doing 65 in a 35,  so I captured the entire conversation. Enjoy.


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