Martinsville, Virginia


Meet The Wagamans from West Virginia

When Ed and Paula Wagaman made their first trip to Martinsville Speedway from Palestine, WV, in 2007, they had no intentions of becoming race fans. They just wanted to see a race.

Six years later the retired couple are race fans, but moreover, they are almost fanatical Martinsville fans. Not just Martinsville Speedway fans, but fans of the Martinsville and Henry County area.

"We got over to Martinsville for that first trip and we just fell in love with it," said Ed. "We didn't come planning to be fans, but after that first trip we've come back for every race ... twice a year we come. We've tried a couple of the other tracks, but we keep coming back to Martinsville."

The couple had watched a few races on television, but had never taken in the full experience of a race weekend at a track until that first race at Martinsville in 2007. "That first trip ... that got us interested, excited. Everybody at the track, the workers, the fans, everyone is so nice," said Ed. "It's like a reunion twice a year. We've brought other people with us, and they fall in love with the place and keep coming back."

The on-track action is obviously the most important part of the weekend for the Wagamans.

"We sit down there off of turn four. That's where some of the most exciting parts of the race happen," said Ed. "When we first started going we sat way down low in the fourth turn, so low we would get hit by pieces of rubber. That was fun, but we decided to move up a bit higher."

It is the Martinsville and Henry County area, its residents and its beauty that always completes the Wagaman's trip.

"The people in Martinsville are the most hospitable, most friendly people I've ever seen," said Ed. "The people we deal with in the stores and the shops, they welcome race fans."

Ed recalled an experience on a recent trip when he went to a building supply center in Martinsville in search of an item he needed for the couple's camper. The store didn't have what he wanted in stock, but someone at the store quickly built what he needed.

"He made me what I needed and just charged me for the two-by-fours he used. That's amazing," Ed said.

Ed and Paula, who normally arrive in the Martinsville Speedway campground early in race week, always spend some time exploring the Martinsville area during their stay.

"The town is beautiful. The waterfall headed into the city is beautiful," said Ed. "The downtown area is pretty. The whole area is just nice."

Ed and Paula's PT Cruiser can always be spotted in line for "hot laps" at the track, a race-week opportunity for ticket renewal customers the track offers.

"We love the hot laps. We try to do it every race," said Ed, who has crafted special magnetic signs for the PT Cruiser that read "Hillbilly Hill Construction" and "Support our Troops."

Ed, retired from the Air Force, and Paula, retired from the police department, say they can't imagine not making the 600-mile round trip to Martinsville twice a year.

"We're treated like family there," Ed said.

Ed and Paula will be returning to Martinsville in just a couple of months for the Virginia 500, which is scheduled for April 7, the day after the Kroger 250 NASCAR Camping World Truck Series race. Pole day is Friday, April 5.

Ticket prices for the Virginia 500 start as low as $37. Tickets for the Virginia 500, the Kroger 250 and Martinsville Pole Day may be purchased by calling 877.RACE.TIX or by visiting online.