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Martinsville Speedway

Martinsville Speedway

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Encyclopedia
Martinsville Speedway is an International Speedway Corporation
International Speedway Corporation
International Speedway Corporation is a corporation whose primary business is the ownership and management of NASCAR race tracks. ISC was founded by NASCAR founder Bill France, Sr. in 1953 for the construction of Daytona International Speedway and in 1999 they merged with Penske Motorsports to...

-owned NASCAR
NASCAR
The National Association for Stock Car Auto Racing is a family-owned and -operated business venture that sanctions and governs multiple auto racing sports events. It was founded by Bill France Sr. in 1947–48. As of 2009, the CEO for the company is Brian France, grandson of the late Bill France Sr...

 stock car racing track located in Henry County
Henry County, Virginia
As of the census of 2000, there were 57,930 people, 23,910 households, and 16,952 families residing in the county. The population density was 152 people per square mile . There were 25,921 housing units at an average density of 68 per square mile...

, near Ridgeway, Virginia
Ridgeway, Virginia
Ridgeway is a town in Henry County, Virginia, United States. The population was 775 at the 2000 census. It is part of the Martinsville Micropolitan Statistical Area. Ridgeway is also home to Martinsville Speedway.-HIstory:...

, just to the south of Martinsville
Martinsville, Virginia
Martinsville is an independent city which is surrounded by Henry County, Virginia, United States. The population was 13,821 in 2010. The Bureau of Economic Analysis combines the city of Martinsville with Henry County for statistical purposes...

. At 0.526 mile (0.84651284 km) in length, it is the shortest track in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series. The track was also one of the first paved oval tracks in NASCAR, being built in 1947 by H. Clay Earles. It is also the only racetrack that has been on the NASCAR circuit from its beginning in 1948.

Layout



The track is often referred to as paper clip
Paper Clip
"Paper Clip" is a 1995 episode of The X-Files television series. It was the second episode broadcast in the show's third season. Paper Clip concludes the story regarding the agents' possession of a digital tape containing government secrets on extraterrestrials.- Plot :Continuing from the previous...

-shaped and is banked only 12° in the turns. The combination of long straightaways and flat, narrow turns makes hard braking going into turns and smooth acceleration exiting turns a must. Martinsville's surface is unique, as it is paved with a combination of asphalt (straightaways) and concrete (corners). The track was paved in 1955 and in 1956 it hosted its first 500 lap event. By the 1970s, a combination of high-traction
Traction
- Engineering :*Forces:** Traction , adhesive friction or force in the context of vehicle** Traction vector, in mechanics, the force per unit area on a surface, including normal and shear components...

 slick tires and high speed were putting excessive wear on the asphalt surface. In 1976 the turns were repaved with concrete (a rare concept in the 1970s). http://www.circletrack.com/thehistoryof/1794/index.html By 2004, the then 28-year-old concrete had shown significant wear. On April 18, 2004 a large chunk of concrete had become dislodged from the track's surface and caused severe damage to the body of Jeff Gordon
Jeff Gordon
Jeffery Michael "Jeff" Gordon is a professional NASCAR driver. He is the driver of the #24 Drive to End Hunger/DuPont/Pepsi Chevrolet Impala. He is a four-time Sprint Cup Series champion and a three-time Daytona 500 winner. He is third on the all-time wins list, with 85 career wins, and has the...

's car. In reaction to this, the track was fully repaved with new concrete and asphalt. http://sportsillustrated.cnn.com/2004/racing/10/23/bc.car.nascar.martinsville.ap/

Until 1999, Martinsville was notorious for having two pit roads
Pit stop
In motorsports, a pit stop is where a racing vehicle stops in the pits during a race for refuelling, new tires, repairs, mechanical adjustments, a driver change, or any combination of the above...

. The backstretch pit road was generally avoided because if a team had to pit there during a caution period, any car pitting on the frontstretch had the advantage of pitting first and not having to adhere to pace car speed upon exiting their pit road. This was rectified when pit road was reconfigured to extend from the entrance of turn 3 to the exit of turn 2. http://www.martinsvillespeedway.com/track%5Finfo/track%5Ftimeline/

History


The first NASCAR sanctioned event was held on July 4, 1948. In 1951, only 4 cars were running at the finish, the fewest of any race held at the speedway. In 1960, Richard Petty
Richard Petty
Richard Lee Petty is a former NASCAR driver who raced in the Strictly Stock/Grand National Era and the NASCAR Winston Cup Series...

 became the youngest winner at Martinsville, at ; to date Petty has the most wins (15). In 1991, Harry Gant
Harry Gant
Harry Phil Gant is a retired American racecar driver best known for driving the #33 Skoal Bandit car on the NASCAR Winston Cup circuit during the 1980s and 1990s.-Nicknames:...

 became the oldest winner at . It was Gant's fourth win in a row, earning him the nickname Mr. September.

Ownership of the track was a joint venture of brothers Jim and Bill France, Jr.
Bill France, Jr.
William Clifton France , nicknamed "Bill Jr." and "Little Bill," was an American motorsports executive who served from 1972 to 2000 as the head of NASCAR, the sanctioning body of United States-based stock car racing. He succeeded the founder of NASCAR, his father Bill France, Sr., as its head...

, and H. Clay Earles
H. Clay Earles
Henry Clay Earles was the founder and chairman of the board of Martinsville Speedway, a NASCAR stock car racing track that Earles built in 1947 in Ridgeway, Virginia that was one of the circuit's first paved oval tracks and stands as one of its shortest.Born in Axton, Virginia on August 11, 1913,...

, the majority owner, along with daughters Dorothy Campbell and Mary Weatherford, and Dorothy Campbell's children, Sarah Fain and Clay Campbell. In 2004, the track was sold exclusively to the France family for $
United States dollar
The United States dollar , also referred to as the American dollar, is the official currency of the United States of America. It is divided into 100 smaller units called cents or pennies....

192 million as a result of an estate sale following the death of Weatherford.

Plans had existed to add an additional 20,000 seats along the back stretch, boosting capacity to over 85,000 seats. In 2005-2006 the Norfolk Southern Railway
Norfolk Southern Railway
The Norfolk Southern Railway is a Class I railroad in the United States, owned by the Norfolk Southern Corporation. With headquarters in Norfolk, Virginia, the company operates 21,500 route miles in 22 eastern states, the District of Columbia and the province of Ontario, Canada...

 behind the track was moved 200 feet to make way for the added seats, but nothing more has been officially mentioned regarding this by track management since the sale of the track to ISC.

From 1982 until 1994, and again in 2006, the speedway hosted Busch Series events. This occurred first with 200- and 150-lap features (200 laps for the two races with Whelen Modifieds, 150 laps with the September Winston/Nextel Cup race), then 300 laps from 1992 until 1994 as part of a Late Model/Busch Series doubleheader, and 250 laps in the one-off in 2006. The venue was dropped from the Busch Series schedule for 2007 and a race at Circuit Gilles Villeneuve
Circuit Gilles Villeneuve
The Circuit Gilles Villeneuve is a motor racing circuit, venue for the Formula One Canadian Grand Prix, NASCAR Canadian Tire Series, NASCAR Nationwide Series and Grand-Am Rolex Sports Car Series....

 in Montreal
Montreal
Montreal is a city in Canada. It is the largest city in the province of Quebec, the second-largest city in Canada and the seventh largest in North America...

 was run on the open date.

Currently, Martinsville hosts two Sprint Cup Series races - the Goody's Cool Orange 500 in April and the TUMS QuikPak 500 (race six in the Chase for the Sprint Cup) in October - along with Camping World Truck Series, Whelen Modified Tour
Whelen Modified Tour
The NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour is a stock car racing series owned and operated by NASCAR in the Modified division. The Modified division is NASCAR's oldest division, and its one of two open-wheeled divisions...

 which is held on Labor Day weekend under the lights, and Late Model races.

Winners of the Sprint Cup, Truck Series, and Whelen Modified events receive a longcase clock
Longcase clock
A longcase clock, also tall-case clock, floor clock, or grandfather clock, is a tall, freestanding, weight-driven pendulum clock with the pendulum held inside the tower, or waist of the case. Clocks of this style are commonly 1.8–2.4 metres tall...

 as a trophy, a nod to Martinsville's famous furniture industry. This tradition started in 1964, when Earles decided he wanted to present a trophy that would reflect the Martinsville area. He chose clocks made by a local company, Ridgeway Clocks
Ridgeway Clocks
Ridgeway Clocks is a division of Howard Miller Company, and is a producer of longcase clocks, mantle clocks, and wall clocks. The company's facilities were located in Ridgeway, Virginia...

 (now a subsidiary of Michigan
Michigan
Michigan is a U.S. state located in the Great Lakes Region of the United States of America. The name Michigan is the French form of the Ojibwa word mishigamaa, meaning "large water" or "large lake"....

-based Howard Miller
Howard Miller Clock Company
The Howard Miller Company is a Zeeland, Michigan based manufacturer of longcase clocks and other home furnishings.-History:Howard Miller Clock Company was founded in 1926 as the Herman Miller Clock Company division of office furniture manufacturer Herman Miller. It was spun off in 1937 and...

). The clocks presented as trophies are currently (2009) valued at around $
United States dollar
The United States dollar , also referred to as the American dollar, is the official currency of the United States of America. It is divided into 100 smaller units called cents or pennies....

10,000.

Future


The two NASCAR Sprint Cup Series races at Martinsville seem to be on solid footing, despite the somewhat frequent rumblings of the track losing one of its race dates. As recently as December 2008, Track President Clay Campbell said that no one, either from NASCAR, or track owner ISC, has hinted at taking a race from Martinsville and he plans on the sport being there in the long-term future.

Something else that does not appear to be in the cards for the speedway is permanent lighting (the Labor Day weekend races take place under temporary lighting). Although once a proponent to the idea, Campbell says the NASCAR race dates do not justify running a race at night, as temperatures in the mountains of Virginia in March can often dip below freezing, and October is fairly cool as well at night.

NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Records


(As of 4/3/11)
Most Wins 15 Richard Petty
Richard Petty
Richard Lee Petty is a former NASCAR driver who raced in the Strictly Stock/Grand National Era and the NASCAR Winston Cup Series...

Most Top 5s 30 Richard Petty
Richard Petty
Richard Lee Petty is a former NASCAR driver who raced in the Strictly Stock/Grand National Era and the NASCAR Winston Cup Series...

Most Top 10s 37 Richard Petty
Richard Petty
Richard Lee Petty is a former NASCAR driver who raced in the Strictly Stock/Grand National Era and the NASCAR Winston Cup Series...

Most Starts 67 Richard Petty
Richard Petty
Richard Lee Petty is a former NASCAR driver who raced in the Strictly Stock/Grand National Era and the NASCAR Winston Cup Series...

Most Poles 8 Darrell Waltrip
Darrell Waltrip
Darrell Lee Waltrip is a 3-time NASCAR Cup Series champion , 3-time runner-up , winner of the 1989 Daytona 500 and 5-time winner of the prestigeous Coca-Cola 600 ,...

Most Laps Completed 27891 Richard Petty
Richard Petty
Richard Lee Petty is a former NASCAR driver who raced in the Strictly Stock/Grand National Era and the NASCAR Winston Cup Series...

Most Laps Led 3784 Cale Yarborough
Cale Yarborough
William Caleb "Cale" Yarborough , is a farmer, businessman and former NASCAR Winston Cup Series driver and owner. He is one of only two drivers in NASCAR history to win three consecutive championships...

Best Avg. Start* 4.3 Fred Lorenzen
Fred Lorenzen
Fred Lorenzen , nicknamed The Golden Boy, Fast Freddie, The Elmhurst Express and Flyin Freddy, is a former NASCAR driver active between 1958 and 1972. He won the 1965 Daytona 500. Lorenzen was born in Elmurst, Illinois.-Early career:Lorenzen first caught the car bug young, and had built his first...

Best Avg. Finish* 5.5 Lee Petty
Lee Petty
Lee Arnold Petty was an American stock car driver in the 1950s and 1960s. He was one of the pioneers of NASCAR, and one of its first superstars. He was born near Randleman, North Carolina.-Career:...


* from minimum 10 starts.

Records


  • NASCAR
    NASCAR
    The National Association for Stock Car Auto Racing is a family-owned and -operated business venture that sanctions and governs multiple auto racing sports events. It was founded by Bill France Sr. in 1947–48. As of 2009, the CEO for the company is Brian France, grandson of the late Bill France Sr...

     Sprint Cup Series Qualifying: Tony Stewart
    Tony Stewart
    Anthony Wayne "Tony" Stewart is an American auto racing driver and owner. Throughout his racing career, Stewart has won titles in Indy cars and stock cars as well as midget, sprint and USAC Silver Crown cars, giving him the recognition of "one of the finest racers of his generation."Stewart...

    , 19.306 sec. (98.084 mph), October 21, 2005

  • NASCAR
    NASCAR
    The National Association for Stock Car Auto Racing is a family-owned and -operated business venture that sanctions and governs multiple auto racing sports events. It was founded by Bill France Sr. in 1947–48. As of 2009, the CEO for the company is Brian France, grandson of the late Bill France Sr...

     Sprint Cup Series Race: Jeff Gordon
    Jeff Gordon
    Jeffery Michael "Jeff" Gordon is a professional NASCAR driver. He is the driver of the #24 Drive to End Hunger/DuPont/Pepsi Chevrolet Impala. He is a four-time Sprint Cup Series champion and a three-time Daytona 500 winner. He is third on the all-time wins list, with 85 career wins, and has the...

    , 3 hrs. 11 min. 54 sec. (82.223 mph), September 22, 1996
  • NASCAR
    NASCAR
    The National Association for Stock Car Auto Racing is a family-owned and -operated business venture that sanctions and governs multiple auto racing sports events. It was founded by Bill France Sr. in 1947–48. As of 2009, the CEO for the company is Brian France, grandson of the late Bill France Sr...

     Nationwide Series Qualifying: Clint Bowyer
    Clint Bowyer
    Clint Bowyer is a NASCAR driver. He drives the #15 5 Hour Energy Toyota Camry in the Sprint Cup Series for Michael Waltrip Racing. Early in his career, he drove for Richard Childress Racing. He won the 2008 Nationwide Series championship....

    , 19.735 sec. (95.951 mph), 2006
  • NASCAR
    NASCAR
    The National Association for Stock Car Auto Racing is a family-owned and -operated business venture that sanctions and governs multiple auto racing sports events. It was founded by Bill France Sr. in 1947–48. As of 2009, the CEO for the company is Brian France, grandson of the late Bill France Sr...

     Nationwide Series Race: Jack Ingram, 1 hr. 42 min. 16 sec. (77.751 mph), March 25, 1984 (250 laps)
  • NASCAR
    NASCAR
    The National Association for Stock Car Auto Racing is a family-owned and -operated business venture that sanctions and governs multiple auto racing sports events. It was founded by Bill France Sr. in 1947–48. As of 2009, the CEO for the company is Brian France, grandson of the late Bill France Sr...

     Camping World Truck Series Qualifying: Matt Crafton
    Matt Crafton
    Matthew Crafton is an American race car driver in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series. He currently drives the #88 Menards Toyota Tundra for ThorSport Racing.-Early career:...

    , 19.653 sec. (96.352 mph), October 29, 2011
  • NASCAR
    NASCAR
    The National Association for Stock Car Auto Racing is a family-owned and -operated business venture that sanctions and governs multiple auto racing sports events. It was founded by Bill France Sr. in 1947–48. As of 2009, the CEO for the company is Brian France, grandson of the late Bill France Sr...

     Camping World Truck Series Race: Rich Bickle
    Rich Bickle
    Richard "Rich" Bickle, Jr. is a journeyman NASCAR driver. Bickle, who has never completed a full season in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series, has a long history in short track racing.-Early career:...

    , 1 hr. 47 min. 18 sec. (75.296 mph), September 27, 1997
  • NASCAR
    NASCAR
    The National Association for Stock Car Auto Racing is a family-owned and -operated business venture that sanctions and governs multiple auto racing sports events. It was founded by Bill France Sr. in 1947–48. As of 2009, the CEO for the company is Brian France, grandson of the late Bill France Sr...

     Whelen Modified Tour
    Whelen Modified Tour
    The NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour is a stock car racing series owned and operated by NASCAR in the Modified division. The Modified division is NASCAR's oldest division, and its one of two open-wheeled divisions...

     Qualifying: Greg Sacks
    Greg Sacks
    Greg Sacks is a NASCAR driver. He is married to his wife Vicky and lives in Ormond Beach, Florida. Together they had three children: Paul, Brian, and Rachel. He and his sons are partners in Grand Touring Vodka.Sacks has spent most of his career as a Research & Development driver for many NASCAR...

    , 18.746 sec. (101.014 mph), 1986.
  • NASCAR
    NASCAR
    The National Association for Stock Car Auto Racing is a family-owned and -operated business venture that sanctions and governs multiple auto racing sports events. It was founded by Bill France Sr. in 1947–48. As of 2009, the CEO for the company is Brian France, grandson of the late Bill France Sr...

    Combined Modified Race: Ted Christopher, 55.773 mph, 2005 (combination races only with 250-lap format)

External links