Texas Motor Speedway flag flies on shuttle, returns to earth

Jay Busbee

When the Atlantis space shuttle landed on Thursday marking the end of America's current spaceflight era, it carried with it a flag from, of all places, Texas Motor Speedway.

Turns out Atlantis STS-135 pilot Doug Hurley is a Texas season ticketholder, and track president Eddie Gossage, never one to miss a promotional opportunity, helped orchestrate the flag flight. In all, the 4x6-foot flag traveled 5.3 million miles over the course of 200 complete orbits of the planet. Hurley also invited Gossage and TMS VP Mike Zizzo to the July 8 launch of the 135th and final flight of the space shuttles.

The flag will be formally presented to the track at a later date; we're guessing the Chase race. Just make sure that it doesn't have any space viruses on it. Zombie Texas race fans would be one hell of a PR problem for NASCAR.