To paraphrase a Christmas carol, "kids from one to 92" had a big time at the 16th Annual Martinsville Speedway Toy Drive Saturday, and in the process helped make Christmas much brighter for children in the area.
From 92-year-old Mary Frith taking a pace-car ride to toddlers shyly sitting in Santa's lap and a bunch of bold souls taking Sprint Cup car rides, it was one of the most successful days in the history of the toy drive.
"It was an amazing day," said Martinsville Speedway President Clay Campbell, who was behind the wheel for the more than 40 Sprint Cup rides. "I couldn't believe how many people turned out today, but that's the way our community is. Everyone pitches in to help on days like today.
"Christmas day is going to be so much better for so many children in our area. We thank everyone who helped out. It was a great team effort from our entire community."
Over 1,500 toys were collected Saturday and another $4,500 was donated through Sprint Cup car rides, driving private cars on the track and concession sales.
The Grace Network, a local group comprised of almost 100 churches, will distribute the collected toys to families in need. All monetary donations will be used to purchase additional toys. All of the toys will remain in the Martinsville and Henry County area.
The Grace Network utilized about 35volunteers Saturday. They collected toys and cash from those people who wanted to drive around the track in their cars. They transported toys to the infield, sorted them by age group and then boxed them for distribution to families.
The staff of Martinsville Speedway donated their time Saturday to man the infield concession stand to cook and sell hot dogs, coordinated the hot laps and Sprint Cup car laps with Campbell.