Drivers Hoping to Be "Grandfathered" Into The Chase at Martinsville

Winner gets an unusual trophy

Apart from Sprint Cup Series, Martinsville Speedway also hosts NASCAR Camping World Truck Series and NASCAR Whelen All-American Series, while the Xfinity Series was dropped from the calendar in 2007. Starting from 1964, winners of the races at Martinsville Speedway receive a longcase clock as a trophy, a nod to Martinsville’s famous furniture industry.

Richard Petty holds several records at Martinsville Speedway

The first NASCAR event at Martinsville Speedway was held in 1948, on 4th of July, with just 750 seats but with a crowd of over 6.000 fans around the dusty track. Twelve years later, legendary Richard Petty became the youngest winner at this speedway and he is also the record holder with 15 wins here. Petty also had the most starts, most laps completed and most top five finishes.

One of the racing ‘paper-clips’

The track is often called ’paper-clip’ and is banked only 12 degrees in the turns. One of the characteristics which made Martinsville notorious in the past was the existence of two pit roads. The backstretch pit road was generally avoided because if a team had to pit there during a caution, any car going into the pit on the front stretch had the advantage of pitting first and not having to adhere to pace car speed upon exiting their pit road. This was changed when the pit road was reconfigured to extend from the entrance of turn 3 to the exit of turn 2

The shortest track in NASCAR

Located south of Martinsville, in Henry County in Ridgeway, Virginia, this Speedway was opened in 1947 and founded by a local businessman H. Clay Earles. This is the shortest track in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series with a length of only 847 meters. Martinsville is also the only NASCAR oval track with an asphalt surface on the straights and concrete over the four turns. The stands of Martinsville Speedway capacity can hold around 60.000 souls, with VIP suites and a state-of-the-art press box, but plans for boosting the capacity over 80.000 seats is a long-standing wish.

The track was paved in 1955 and the following year, it hosted its first 500 laps race. The track was repaved in 1976, or more precisely, the turns were repaved with concrete which was an unusual concept in the 1970s. After 28 years, that concrete became worn and damaged, so third ‘facelifting’ of the track was made in 2004 when the complete track was repaved with new concrete and asphalt. Martinsville Speedway is now modern and safer

The future looks bright for Martinsville Speedway

Apart from the plans for the expansion of stands, this historic track has no need for any major reconstruction or modernization, so neither the track owners nor NASCAR should be afraid of this track being removed from the racing calendar. There are rumours about a potential night race at Martinsville, but in the early spring, the temperature in the mountains of Virginia might be freezing whilst in autumn, nights are fairly chilly.