Shootout victory lane celebrations continue in Texas

by SM Staff On Mon, May. 14, 2018

Photo Credit: Don Dunn/

There has been much discussion around the subject of gun control in the US over recent months. The student protests following the Parkland school shooting have brought the issue to the forefront of American life.  Despite the protests, it does not look as though any changes to gun controls are likely, in the immediate future.

The most likely change that could occur at some point in the future is the expansion of background checks to include all weapons purchased. This is a potential change that has even garnered support from many gun owners who responsibly search for the best products for their sport at sites such as Whether this change ever happens remains to be seen, but in most aspects, life with guns seems set to carry on as usual. This includes the six-shooter traditional that surrounds championship race victories at Texas Motor Speedway.

Why the tradition was temporarily suspended
The tradition of the winner shooting blanks from a pair of six shooters, at Texas Motor Speedway, has been in place since the spring 2005 championship race. It was temporarily suspended for Kevin Harvick’s win in November 2017 as a sign of respect for the people affected by the Sutherland Springs shooting. The decision was a one-off and was never intended as a permanent change to the traditional celebrations.

Shooting symbolises the state of Texas
Eddie Gossage, president of the Texas Motor Speedway track, has spoken about the decision to continue with the six-shooter tradition, in the current climate of disagreements over the need for further gun control. He has said that the winner shooting blanks from a pair of six shooters, while wearing a Stetson, has nothing to do with making a political statement. The tradition has always been intended to capture the spirit of Texas, so that people immediately recognize which race is involved. It’s also worth noting that live ammunition has never been involved.

The winner of the race also receives a shotgun, sponsored by Henry Repeating Arms. This is a tradition that will also continue. Gossage is quick to point out that the shotgun is handed over after the track celebrations, and in accordance with regulations applicable to the home state of the winner.

Despite the awarding of this weapon, Gossage insists that the celebrations at championship race victories are all about fun and enjoyment; involving a stereotypical depiction of Texans and using historic weapons rather than current models. There is no political motivation involved with the use of sharpshooters as part of the celebrations. There has been some argument from those in favour of gun control that, even though blanks are used, the celebrations help to glorify the use of guns. However, much like the gun laws of the US, it does not seem as though tradition at the Texas Motor Speedway is going to change anytime soon. Winners will continue to fire blanks from two sharpshooters as part of the victory celebrations.

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