The Texas Motorplex announced drag racing Hall of Famer Darrell Gwynn, three-time Top Fuel world champion Antron Brown and long-time NHRA volunteer Mickey Prestridge have been named Texas Motorplex Legends in advance of the 2023 NHRA Texas Fall Nationals at the Stampede of Speed. The trio has made significant history at Texas Motorplex both on and off the track since 1986 when the first NHRA super-track held its inaugural event.
“These three individuals highlight what it means to be a Texas Motorplex Legend. It isn’t always about winning the most races. Darrell, Antron and Mickey have made a positive impact on Texas Motorplex’s fans, sponsors and the history of the facility,” said Christie Meyer Johnson, Texas Motorplex co-owner. “Darrell was the first driver to make a pass down our all-concrete racetrack and helped put our facility on the map. Antron won his first professional race here and has continued a winning legacy. Mickey has been a supporter of DRAW and has had a universal presence at events for decades.”
Darrell Gwynn’s first pass down the Motorplex quarter mile not only propelled him to the No. 1 qualifying position at the inaugural event, it also set NHRA national records for both time and speed at 5.261 seconds, 278.55 miles per hour. Although he eventually lost to “Big Daddy” Don Garlits in the final round, he also posted the quickest time during eliminations at 5.272 seconds. The following year, he beat Eddie Hill in the final round while lowering the NHRA record from 5.171 seconds to 5.084. In four career appearances at the Motorplex, before his career was cut tragically short by an accident, he never failed to reach the final round, losing to Hill in the 1988 final and to Gary Ormsby in 1989.
“Being a Texas Motorplex Legend is a great feeling because we had so many great memories of racing and winning there in the 1980s. It means the world to me,” said Darrell Gwynn. “The Gwynn family racing team history at the Texas Motorplex is quite a story. We went there in 1986 when it first opened, and we knew that place was going to be fast. We heard all about it being built, this all-concrete drag strip. We just could not wait to get on it. As soon as we got on that magic strip at the Texas Motorplex we started setting records.”
Antron Brown is one of five drivers to have won at the Motorplex in two different pro categories but is the only one of the five to have done so in Pro Stock Motorcycle and Top Fuel. The others, Mike Dunn, Don “the Snake” Prudhomme, Kenny Bernstein and Ed “the Ace” McCulloch, won in Funny Car and Top Fuel. Brown’s 1999 Pro Stock Motorcycle win came in the briefly contested spring event and was the first win of his professional career in his very first start on the all-concrete Texas track. He beat No. 2 qualifier Matt Hines in the semifinals and No. 1 qualifier Angelle Sampey in the final. He added Top Fuel wins in 2012 and again in 2016, winning the latter from the No. 1 qualifying position.
“This is a huge honor and I want to thank Billy Meyer and his family,” said Brown. “The Texas Motorplex is a special place for me because I won my first Pro Stock Motorcycle race in Dallas and that really helped put me on the map. Every year I go back I think of all the history there and now to be named a Texas Motorplex Legend I am part of that history.”
Mickey Prestridge has been a fixture at nearly every DRAW auction held during the Texas Fall Nationals and he and his wife Beth were named 2005 DRAW Person of the Year by the organization. His commitment to supporting and coordinating the audio efforts for a variety of events not just at the Texas Fall Nationals but across the country are legendary. His commitment to supporting teams, organizations like Racers for Christ, DRAW and the sanctioning body have improved the fan experience for decades.
“When Christie called, I was in Denver at the Mile High Nationals and I thought I was being overcome by the altitude,” said Prestridge. “I have loved being involved with the NHRA for so many years and this is a great honor. You look at the people who have been named Texas Motorplex Legends and I’m sitting here in high cotton right now. I don’t know why I’m here but I’m glad to be here. This is great and I want to thank Billy Meyer and Christie and Barry Johnson for this honor.”
The Texas Motorplex Legends will be recognized and presented with their one-of-a-kind Legend spurs at separate ceremonies throughout the NHRA Texas Fall Nationals, October 13-15. For tickets to the Stampede of Speed or the NHRA Texas Fall Nationals visit www.stampedeofspeed.com.