The year 2022 will set off a yearlong celebration by Martinsville Speedway to honor the track’s 75th anniversary.
Martinsville Speedway President Clay Campbell said Sunday that the anniversary celebrations next year won’t be focused on one single event, but will feature many smaller celebrations throughout the entire year.
Campbell was joined by Vice chairman of NASCAR Mike Helton, NASCAR HOF Crew Chief Dale Inman, and Executive Director of NASCAR HOF Winston Kelley in a press conference prior to Sunday’s NASCAR Cup Series Xfinity 500 at Martinsville.
Martinsville Speedway opened in September 1947, and it is the only NASCAR track to have hosted a race every season since the sport began as a sanctioning body in 1949. It is also the only track to have hosted an event with every level of NASCAR racing, including the Cup, Xfinity, and Truck Series, the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour and the NASCAR Advance Auto Parts Weekly Series late models.
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“Obviously a 75th anniversary for anything is pretty special,” Campbell said. “To be around for as long as this place has been here, to grow, to evolve, to keep moving forward throughout all the decades that NASCAR has been in existence I think is a feat.”
“Being able to continue to come back to Martinsville and revisit the memories and wonder what the next one is going to be like is spectacular for our sport,” Helton said. “We’re very fortunate to have existed as long as we have as a racing sanctioning body, but you don’t do that without character. We talked a lot of about cars, car drivers, and owners and crews and crew chiefs. All of those elements put a lot of character in our sport, but so do the racetracks. Martinsville is one of them.”
Part of the anniversary celebration will include a first-of-its-kind Martinsville Speedway exhibit at the NASCAR Hall of Fame in Charlotte, North Carolina. Kelley said the museum will do a display that honors and recognizes the history of Martinsville, and they plan to have it open before the April spring race weekend.
“That’s what the NASCAR Hall of Fame is about, honoring our history and heritage and our family-oriented traditions that we’ve had all these years, and I don’t think a place says that any more than Martinsville Speedway,” Kelley said. “This is about family here and we’re honored to partner with them.
“We look forward to telling that story that it’s about the NASCAR history here at Martinsville, not just the NASCAR Cup history, which of course is phenomenal in its own right.”
“To be able to honor and for our fans to see the various things that have gone on at Martinsville Speedway at the NASCAR Hall of Fame, that’s quite an honor for us to be on display there throughout the year,” Campbell said. “We’re looking forward to contributing to that and giving fans who come to the Hall of Fame something to see.”
Martinsville will host two NASCAR race weekends in 2022, as well as the annual ValleyStar Credit Union 300 late model race in September. The first NASCAR weekend will be on April 7-9.
“My grandfather started this track as a hobby. Not in his wildest dreams did he imagine what he would see today if he was here,” Campbell said. “I know he would be quite pleased to see the direction that NASCAR has gone.
“Our goal is to continue that… We want to continue that, continue cultivating the stars and people of tomorrow.
“We’re in as good a shape now as we’ve ever been.”
Cara Cooper is a sports writer for the Martinsville Bulletin. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org