Gentlemen... Start Your Engines!
In addition to motorcross and dirt track action, Martinsville-Henry County, Virginia is also home to the Martinsville Speedway, NASCAR's oldest and shortest track. Remember, no trip to Martinsville Speedway is complete without a taste of the world famous Martinsville Speedway Hot Dog. The track is open daily for free self-guided walking tours. Contact the MHC Visitor Center for information on how your Group Tour can enjoy a thrilling ride around the track!
NASCAR fans and car buffs of all ages will enjoy taking free guided tours of Arrington Performance Sports, home of shopHEMI.com, where their skilled staff manufacture engines for NASCAR and NHRA race teams as well as HEMIs and performance parts for your own personal vehicle.
History of the Martinsville Speedway
September 7, 1947 - H. Clay Earles opens Martinsville Speedway as a dirt track with 750 seats and a paid crowd of 6,013. Red Byron wins the 50-lap feature for "Modified Stock Cars" and earns $500 out of a $2,000 purse.
July 4, 1948 - Martinsville runs its first race under a NASCAR sanction, with Fonty Flock winning the feature followed by Pee Wee Martin of Bassett. Va., Buck Baker, Bill Blair, and Tim Flock as 4,000 watched. Bill France finishes eighth while one of those sidelined with mechanical problems is a 19-year-old Fireball Roberts.
September 25, 1949 - NASCAR's "Strictly Stock" division makes its first appearance at the speedway and Byron wins again in an Oldsmobile 88 with Lee Petty second in a 1949 Plymouth. Seating increased to 10,000.
Richard Petty with Mr. Clay Earles in Victory Lane
1952 - First race broadcast from the speedway on October 19, 1952 and almost was the first stock car event to be aired. "I think Darlington beat us by about five weeks," said Hal Hamrick, who talked Earles and Bill France into letting him try the innovation despite the fact they feared it might decrease the attendance." But we had a bigger network. They had five stations and we had seven." Hamrick broadcast while sitting atop a concession stand on Pepsi-Cola crates.
October 3, 1955 - Martinsville paves its track and Billy Myers wins the first race on the smooth pavement. It was a 100-lap sportsman event.
October 16, 1955 - Speedy Thompson drives a Chrysler to victory in a 200-lap, 100-mile Grand National event. It was the first Grand National run on Martinsville Speedway's newly paved track.
Richard and Lee Petty wreck 1957
1960 - Martinsville builds the first enclosed, air-conditioned press box on the circuit, first used at the Virginia 500 won by Richard Petty in a Plymouth on April 10, 1960.
1973 - Speedway joins Motor Racing Network of Daytona Beach, Fl., which now broadcasts its Winston cup events as MRN radio. MRN's first broadcast was the Virginia 500 on April 29. 1973, won by David Pearson in a Mercury.
1973 - Hollywood comes to the track, filming the climactic race of a film at the speedway, using live action scenes from the Old Dominion 500 on September 30, 1973, won by Richard Petty in a Dodge. The movie also included staged action during the month of October. The movie was called "The Last American Hero," and was based on the life of Junior Johnson.
1976 - In the fall, Earles installs several lanes of concrete in the turns on both ends of the track to prevent pavement problems. The concrete lanes are still in use today. First used in the Old Dominion 500 on September 26, 1976 with Darrell Waltrip setting a track qualifying record in a Chevrolet. Earles stuns the racing world with posted awards of $100,000 the richest of any short track and above some of the longer tracks.
1978 March - NBC tapes 1978 Dogwood 500 Modified and Grand National race for showing on its "Sports World," series. It was the first race televised nationally from Virginia, on March 12. 1978. Richie Evans won the Modified race and Sonny Hutchins the Grand National.1978 - Martinsville builds a new press box and turns old press box into first enclosed, air-conditioned scorer's stand on the tour. First used for a Winston Cup event at the Virginia 500 on April 23, 1978. The race was won by Darrell Waltrip in a Chevrolet.
1982 - Virginia National Bank becomes the track's first Winston Cup race sponsor, turning the Virginia 500 into the Virginia National Bank 500 on April 25, 1982. In that race, Harry Gant scoring his first Winston cup victory in a Buick.
1983 - Goody's Manufacturing Corporation sponsors the September Winston Cup race, the Goody's 500 on September 25, 1983, and Goody's remains as a sponsor at the track today. The race was won by Ricky Rudd in a Chevrolet.
1988 - First live telecast from the speedway. The 1988 Goody's 500, on September 25, 1988, was on ESPN and won by Darrell Waltrip in a Chevrolet.
June 1, 1988 - W. Clay Campbell named president of Martinsville Speedway with H. Clay Earles becoming chairman of the board and chief executive officer. Added seats.
1995 - Built access road to U.S. 220/58 bypass, acceleration lanes from pits and concession stands.
1996 - added new seats in turns three and four, two rest rooms facilities, one concession stand, and completed 50 additional acres of parking, concession stand and restrooms.
1997 - September 28 - Martinsville speedway celebrates its 50th anniversary with the Hanes 500 won by Jeff Burton. Added seats to the Bill France Tower in turns three and four.
1998 - Added seats to the front straightaway and 13 corporate suites, new scoring stand, radio and TV booths. Added 43rd pit stall, concession stands and restrooms.
1999 - Added four additional suites and created one pit road. 50 acres of parking added.
2000 - Added additional seats, eight new suites, a press box and new concession stands, restrooms.
2001 - Added garage area and tunnel to infield.
2003 - Completed new infield care center; built new entrance to track and constructed new seats in the first and second turns.
2004 - Track purchased by International Speedway Corp.; Track repaved, work started on moving railroad track and installing new catchfence.
2005 - Work finished on relocation of railroad track and installation of catchfence.
2007 - Added Champions' Overlook, paved display and souvenir area, added paved accessible parking lot for over 200 cars, added accessible seating in first and second turns, did paving and grading work in campground.
2010 - An additional exit for spectators was constructed to reduce wait time as vehicles exit the property. Construction began on new, updated restrooms and concession stands to enhance the fan experience.
2011 - A new sound system is installed to ensure that each and every fan can hear the excitement that surrounds a NASCAR race.
2012 - Club 47, Martinsville Speedway's new luxury suite opens
Come experience the excitement for yourself!
Call 877-RACE-TIX to reserve your seat today!