Martinsville, Virginia


Martinsville Speedway Alive with Old Automobiles on National Collector Car Day



MARTINSVILLE, Va. (July 12, 2013) - History was on parade at Martinsville Speedway Friday as automobiles from years past slowly lapped the track. There was a 1934 Ford Roadster, a 1949 Cadillac, a 1954 Hudson Hornet, a 1955 Chevrolet Bel-Air, a 1952 MGTD and more than a dozen other vintage automobiles.

They were all visiting the historic Martinsville Speedway to celebrate National Collector Car Appreciation Day.

Both Martinsville Speedway NASCAR Sprint Cup races in 1952 were won by Hudson Hornets, Dick Rathman driving one to victory lane in the spring and Herb Thomas in the fall. Chevy Bel Airs were the car of choice for many drivers during the 1950s. And occasionally a Cadillac could be spotted in the starting lineup of NASCAR events during the 1950s.

About 20 vintage cars rolled around the historic half-mile Friday bringing back memories to some of those driving the cars.

"I was here for a race in 1957 and I remember Tom Pistone hitting the wall down there in the first turn," said car enthusiast and club member Paul Gover. "I remember people sitting in the trees watching the race. It certainly doesn't look anything like it did then."

The collectors that visited the track are members of the Old Salem Chapter of the Antique Automobile Club of America from the Kernersville and Winston-Salem areas of North Carolina.

"We just thought this would be a cool place for our members to visit," said Ruth Ann Ronchetti, organizer of the trip. "One member of our group is actually a retired driver and worked for (NASCAR team owner) Richard Childress in his early years. Unfortunately he couldn't make the trip today."

Over 40 members of the Old Salem Chapter of the Antique Automobile Club of America made the hour or so trip to the track, but because of threatening weather several did not bring their restored cars. According to Ronchetti this was the third year the club had celebrated the National Collector Car Appreciation Day.

Even at reduced speeds behind a pace car, the owners of the restored cars got a pretty good idea what it must have been to manhandle one of the old cars around the half-mile track.

Modern racing action, with the new Gen-6 car returns to Martinsville Speedway on October 27 with the Goody'sTM Headache Relief ShotTM 500. Advance tickets start at just $37.

Advance tickets for the Kroger 200 NASCAR Camping World Truck Series race on Saturday, Oct. 26 are just $30 with youth 12 and under admitted free. Tickets for Pole Day, Friday, Oct. 25, are $15. To purchase tickets for the Goody'sTM Headache Relief ShotTM 500 weekend, call 877.RACE.TIX or visit