When you try to track down the owner of a long-defunct and almost forgotten race track in Central Texas, and numerous people tell you the person you’re after is actress Sandra Bullock, there are plenty of reasons not to believe them.
But then, when you start looking at the facts, you realize that not only is this possible, it’s not even the strangest thing at work in this story.
Let’s start from the beginning. I recently had to do a lot of research for a feature I wrote on the old Longhorn Speedway, originally known as Speed-O-Rama, which operated for about four decades in southeast Austin. Of all of the people I talked to about the speedway, and of all of the forum postings I read, there was one strange thing that kept popping up: “You know that Sandra Bullock bought the track while she was married to Jesse James, right?”
Huh? Sandra Bullock of Miss Congeniality and Speed and The Net? How could she be the owner of a defunct race track on a rural road outside of Austin?
It sounded too random to be true. But then again, both Bullock and James have business and personal ties in Austin. James and Bullock divorced in 2010 when he admitted to cheating on her, after having been married since 2005.
Note that these days it’s fair to say James doesn’t have the greatest reputation, having been caught costuming or using Nazi imagery on multiple occasions. He denies being a racist, and a source close to him told Us Weekly that he’s just a history buff and the swastikas and Iron Crosses are part of “biker culture.” Sure.
James is a noted car and motorcycle guy, so the idea that he might own a track—for testing or future plans involving speed—seemed plausible. If anything, it was worth a shot to research the claims. That’s when things got weirder.
Using a public property search for Travis County, the county in which the race track resides, I looked up its address: 6401 South U.S. 183 in Austin, if you want to try for yourself. The county tax listing only showed the most recent three deed transactions on the property, which were in 2011, 2012 and 2013.
That’s odd for a defunct facility. There was no information on what the transactions were and whom they were between. In fact, that’s odd for any facility.
I called the Travis County Appraisal District, which maintains property records in Austin, to try to get more information. The person on the other line said the only real transaction was one on Oct. 11 2006, when a company called the “Band Aid Trust” took the land over. As for the rest of the “transactions,” the person said the trust still owns the property and that there “must have been something going on” between multiple parties on those later dates.
Whatever was “going on” in the property holding was hidden, even to the office workers. But things got weirder.
Confused as to why the search ended that way, the office workers gave me an address for this “Band Aid Trust.” It was 500 West Sixth Street, Suite 401 in Austin. A Google search led me to find that the address actually belongs to a company called Stratford Arms, and that the location of the Stratford Arms office is the location of Bullock’s former Austin restaurant, Bess Bistro. It closed a couple of years back.
The contact name for Stratford Arms is John Bullock, according to a business website called Manta. He’s listed as a partner in the business. Sandra Bullock has a father named John.
If that wasn’t enough, publicly accessible documents from a Harris County lawsuit list both Sandra and John Bullock as trustees in the Band Aid Trust. And let’s remember, the Band Aid Trust took over the deed for Longhorn Speedway in 2006.
It fits right into that time slot of when James and Bullock were married, perhaps even during the honeymoon period of that weird pairing. So do the strange 2011, 2012 and 2013 transactions, which would have come after the divorce.
Representatives for Sandra Bullock didn’t respond to a request for information on potential ownership of the track. James, whose Texas business endeavors include the Austin Speed Shop and West Coast Choppers, did actually respond—personally.
I emailed him to ask and this is what I got in return:
Which is a fair response, but again, don’t cosplay as a Nazi. Solid life advice for anyone, that is.
So, that’s as far as I got. Sandra Bullock and Jesse James might have once owned a defunct race track in Texas, and they may still own it. The mysterious Band Aid Trust does, at least. But unless you can call one of these two up—and not get a “Fuck Off” like we did—the world may never know.
By the way, the current property value is $868,717, if you’d rather buy an old race track instead of a Porsche 918 or something.