It’s a warm Texas night, and you’re sitting in the stands watching a blur of cars fly by. The beer in your hand is cold and the stars above you are burning bright. You can feel the rumble from the stream of vehicles, and even though the sound of all of those roaring engines is deafening, the sound of the crowd’s cheering is even louder. You climb to your feet and shout alongside them, watching as your favorite driver careens across the finish line. No, this isn’t NASCAR; you’re at Devil’s Bowl Speedway in Mesquite, Texas.
If you’ve never experienced it, you owe it to yourself to give it a try. You may have been to other auto races, but what goes on at the Mesquite racing hub is something else entirely. The Devil’s Bowl Speedway features dirt-track racing with a community feel — there’s not a bad seat in the house. And as an added bonus, it’s got a very affordable price tag. Many families have been going to races for generations, and the family-atmosphere is welcoming for kids.
Ready to see for yourself? Here’s everything you need to know.
Located on the edge of Mesquite city, the Devil’s Bowl Speedway is the area’s premier dirt-track racing venue. Unlike the paved surfaces that you’re might have seen in other races, the track is made of black clay (most dirt track race courses are made of clay, though some are made of other types of dirt). The track at Devil’s Bowl Speedway is also just a half-mile long and curved in the shape of a D. The venue offers 10,000 seats in the grandstand, all of which have sweeping views of the track. One thousand of these seats are reservable near the finish line. About 1,500 additional seats are reservable and situated on the upper deck. You’ll also find six reservable air-conditioned suites on the third floor.
Vehicles at the Devil’s Bowl Speedway race at upwards of 100 mph and the events during racing season are high energy and action-packed, making it the perfect event for the adrenaline junkies in your family.
Attending a Race
The season at Devil’s Bowl Speedway kicks off in March and continues until October, so you’ve got plenty of time to take in a race (or two or three). The speedway is open-air, and most races start before sunset and last long after the sun goes down. The mild Texas weather makes the summer season the perfect time to attend a race.
Keep an eye on the racing schedule, which includes a series of national championships and local events including the USRA Modifieds, the USA Limited Modifieds and even holiday celebrations. For most races, you can plan on purchasing tickets at the gate, but for special events, you’ll want to get them in advance online. Military, senior and children’s discounts are available.
When looking at the schedule, you’ll notice that doors typically open up to three hours before the racing starts. This is because pre-race festivities are a huge part of the fun at Devil’s Bowl Speedway. Get there early if you want to tailgate in the parking lot or find the best seats in the stadium — though honestly, it’s hard to find a bad view from anywhere in the stands. Visitors can get an up-close experience by purchasing a pit pass, allowing them to go down to the "pit" for opportunities to talk to drivers and get into the cars. They can even watch the race from there if they like.
Speaking of the parking lot, at Devil’s Bowl Speedway, parking is ample and free. After you’ve parked your car or truck (sorry, no RVs), spend some time grilling and chilling and then head in for the action. Once inside, hit up the concessions stand before the race begins. No outside food is allowed inside, but you’ll find a wide variety of race-day fare. Concessions are cash-only, and there is no ATM on-site, so bring cash if you want to enjoy a burger and a cold beer while watching the race.
Once you’ve found your seats, settle in for a few hours of adrenaline pumping dirt track racing. Races typically last for three to three and a half hours, but they can often last much longer depending on the number of cars and the number of wrecks. Fair warning: It’s going to get loud, and it’s going to get muddy. (Tip: Bring earplugs to dull the sound!) As far as flying dirt goes, consider it part of the Devil’s Bowl Speedway experience. The Devil’s Bowl Speedway has a grittier, scrappier and more community-oriented feel than any speedway you’ve ever been to before.
Ever have the desire to race a car yourself? Take advantage of the Kenny Wallace Dirt Racing Experience, in which you can either go for a ride with an seasoned driver or learn to ride on the track yourself. Packages are available to drive a variety of different cars on the Devil’s Bowl Speedway. It’s a chance to see just how much power these cars have—and the skill the drivers need to control them.
Whether you’re a Texas local or a visiting racing fan, you’re sure to have a memorable experience at this unique venue, whether your driving a car or watching from the stands. It’s a true Mesquite tradition that’s not to be missed.
Written by Krista Diamond for RootsRated in partnership with Mesquite CVB.