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There’s a little bit of everything in Texxasss.

So did the late, great Ernest Tubb sing, and I’ve seldom seen his point disputed. The distance from Fort Worth to El Paso is greater than the highway miles, and the same is true of Amarillo to Corpus Christi, or Lubbock to Laredo.

It’s hard to sum up Texas with a speedway, or a stadium, or a home on the range where the deer and the antelope play.

Personally, I love South Carolina as much as any Texan loves Texas, but no Texan would believe that is possible. They don’t believe in hyperbole. To exaggerate is to describe accurately in their prideful minds.

The state motto is simply, “Friendship.” It ought to be, “You ain’t seen nothing yet.”

But I kid the Texans.

I love Texas. I had relatives there growing up. The biggest influences on my musical tastes came from there. My first novel began in Killeen. I have played my guitar in Luchenbach, though not with Waylon and Willie and the boys. I have seen the Longhorns play the Sooners in the Cotton Bowl. Over 20 years riding the NASCAR range, only once did I miss the start of a race. That’s because, in the early years of Texas Motor Speedway, the traffic jams were bigger in Texas, just like everything else.

Eddie Gossage, the president of TMS, is from Nashville, and Austin and Nashville have always, at least during my lifetime, had a fierce rivalry. I once saw a bumper sticker that said, “I’d rather be a fence post in Texas than the governor of Tennessee.” Nowadays, Gossage is as Texan as LBJ, though considerably more conservative. He made the transition from Tennessee to Texas considerably more smoothly than Davy Crockett.

Gossage and I have had our differences over the years, but that track fits him like a 10-gallon hat.

The Austin Lounge Lizards – surely you’ve heard of them, right? – recorded “Another Stupid Song about Texas,” a verse of which reads:

Our accents are the drawliest, our howdies are the y'alliest / Our lone star flag's the waviest, our fried steak's the cream-graviest / Our rattlesnakes the coiliest, our beaches are the oiliest / Our politicians most corrupt, our stop signs most abrupt.

For decades after I saw the movie Smokey and the Bandit, I searched for a restaurant where I could have “a Diablo sammitch and a Doctuh Peppuh” in a profane hurry. I found one in Fort Worth. It was profanely hot, thus inspiring me to drink beer really fast.

It’s been five and a half years since I’ve been to Texas Motor Speedway. I miss the pomp, the pageantry. Gossage knows how to throw a party. If the race underachieves, fans still get to see an infield rodeo, or a jam-up concert, or a cowboy named Woody riding up and down pit road, waving a Lone Star flag and singing “The Yellow Rose of Texas.”

You may talk about your Clementine and sing of Rosa Lee / But the Yellow Rose of Texas is the only girl for me.

That’s Texas in a nutshell, all right.