MARTINSVILLE, Va (WFXR)– The half-a-mile of mayhem, and Virginia favorite, is celebrating a milestone in the racing industry.
You guessed it!
The Martinsville Speedway turned 75 years old, and festivities kicked off by welcoming fans to thank them for their continuous support throughout the years.
On Sept. 7th of 1947, the Speedway held its very first race ever. President of the Speedway Clay Campbell says it’s once again time to give back to the fans who’ve made it all possible.
“Everything that we do here in some form of fashion is because of the fans. Everything that we build, everything that we remodeled, every initiative that we do is for the fans. They’re responsible for us being around for as long as we have,” said Campbell.
The event had Martinsville’s famous hotdogs, cold drinks, birthday cake, live music, iconic photo moments with the 75th-anniversary logo, and more.
However, the main is attraction is what everyone was lined up for.
Fans got to lap the track in their very own personal vehicles.
The history of Speedway was founded by H. Clay Earles, Campbell’s grandfather, which was three months before the creation of NASCAR.
Originally it was a dirt track with 750 seats.
Two years later, on Sept. 25, 1949, NASCAR Hall of Famer Red Byron won the first NASCAR race held at the Martinsville Speedway dirt track.
In the 1950s, the founder of NASCAR, Bill France Sr. partnered up with Earles owning 50 percent of the track.
Then, in 1964 Earles introduced the Martinsville grandfather clock, which still remains a historic tradition.
Earles stayed the Chairman of the board and CEO of Martinsville Speedway until he passed away on Nov. 16, 1999.
Campbell continued his grandfather’s legacy by taking the speedway to new heights and allowing it to be recognized for the greatness it possesses.
Fans who showed up at the event told WFXR News why they call the Martinsville Speedway home.
“Just growing up a NASCAR fan, just not being able to go to a lot of tracks because there’s not a ton of tracks close to Kentucky. So being able to come here to see the history, walk around, and take it all in means a lot,” said Trey Woosley.
Another fan, Blake Stultz says he has been to the Speedway multiple times.
“It’s just they are so good of Speedway. They do a lot of stuff,” said Stultz.
Campbell says he is grateful for everyone who has kept the speedway up and running.
“Seventy-five years of anything is a feat, but this place has been through the highs and lows before NASCAR started. To put it in perspective, next year is NASCAR’s 75th anniversary, so we predated NASCAR. And to celebrate our this year and NASCAR’s next year, we have some big things in store,” said Campbell.