The Motorhead Traveler Visits Martinsville-Henry County
Travelers from around the world will get to spend a half-hour in Martinsville and Henry County and the surrounding region, thanks to a visit from The Motorhead Traveler television show. The EDC's Tourism and Film Division worked in partnership with the Virginia Film Office to bring the Canadian company Water Productions to the area to film a 30-minute program on Virginia motorsports. In addition to shorter stops in Roanoke, Virginia International Raceway (VIR), and Smith Mountain Lake, the crew spent a day and a half touring Martinsville-Henry County.
The Motorhead Traveler is a HD TV series about going on the ultimate motorsport adventures. The program, hosted by Kevin Cullen, combines motorsports adventure with art, history, local points of interest and outdoor cooking. The program will air a total of six times in mid-September in the United States on MAVTV, on channels in Canada, Russia, and Italy and around the globe on High TV, an international 3D HD network.
According to the Virginia Film Office, USA-MAVTV, which is owned by Lucas Oil, is currently available in over 40 million households. The total value of the six programs is estimated at more than $51,900 worth of earned media coverage for our region.
While in Martinsville-Henry County the crew filmed four key activities: a tour at Arrington Performance, a stained glass workshop at Studio 107, tours at Martinsville Speedway and lunch at Clarence's Steak & Seafood.
During the tour at Arrington Performance, home of the internet parts store ShopHEMI.com, Cullen and his cameraman Kyle Francis enjoyed a tour of the facility led by Chris Gardner, Director of After Market and Danny Glad, Director of Research and Development. They saw the steps involved in building engine components from blocks of raw metal all the way up to the installation of components into custom vehicles.
Each episode of The Motorhead Traveler features a segment where the show's host creates a project with a local artist. In June and July of this year nearly half a dozen artists from around the community competed for the opportunity to lead an arts activity for the program. Lynn Berry of The Glassy Chix at Studio 107 was selected to appear on the show. "This opportunity was perfect to showcase Martinsville-Henry County's up-and-coming arts scene," said Jennifer Doss, Director of Tourism. "We have an incredible amount of talent right here in our own backyard and we are so proud to be able to share that talent on international television."
Berry instructed Doss and Cullen in a workshop where they created a stained glass pyramid made of recycled glass from historic area churches. Inside the pyramid, a fairy stone was suspended from the center and in the bottom they placed an assortment of tumbled river rocks from the Smith River, loose fairy stones and garnets, which all represent the unique geological features of this part of Virginia.
During their visit to Martinsville Speedway, Cullen met Camping World Truck Series Driver Timothy Peters where he rode along and received a short track driving lesson from him. Peters enjoyed spending time at the speedway with Cullen and Francis and said "For them to come here and see what I do on the weekend during race conditions so far has been pretty cool. I know that they have been all over the world filming various styles of motorsports and I hope that they are leaving here with a new respect for NASCAR."
The crew also enjoyed a tour of the speedway led by Mike Smith, Director of Public Relations. They toured the Press Box and the new Club 47 as well as the infield media center and garages. To complete the Martinsville Speedway experience, Cullen was introduced to another local legend - the Famous Martinsville Hotdog. According to Clay Campbell, Martinsville Speedway President, "Hosting The Motorhead Traveler is a real plus for us. We have lots of fans that make the trip every year from Canada for our events. This video segment for The Motorhead Traveler is a great way for us to reach all of those fans, and hopefully many more that will become fans of Martinsville Speedway."
After spending the morning at Martinsville Speedway, The Motorhead Traveler Crew rounded out the Martinsville Motorhead experience by visiting Clarence's Steak & Seafood. They dined with Peters in front of the world famous Martinsville Speedway Grandfather clock won by driver Philip Morris.
Also while in the area the crew stayed overnight at The Comfort Inn and enjoyed dining at Third Bay Cafe' and Wild Magnolia. Cullen summed up the visit saying "Our whole trip to Virginia has been an eye opener to me. Virginia is one of those places I always knew existed. I watched, of course as a big NASCAR fan, many races at Martinsville Speedway but I had never been there before and I don't know why. After being here in this community for such a short time we've already been able to see some amazing things and Martinsville is simply a place I want to come back to."
According to Doss, "A key goal of this project for both the Virginia Film Office and Martinsville-Henry County EDC's Tourism and Film Division was to showcase area amenities to Canadian audiences in an effort to boost ticket sales for the upcoming TUMS Fast Relief 500 at Martinsville Speedway while also showcasing activities that visitors can enjoy during race week or any other time that they choose to visit our area."
- Arrington Performance, located in the Patriot Center Industrial Park, offers free tours for groups of two or more on weekdays from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Reservations are required and can be made by calling 276.666.6767.
- Studio 107, located on Church Street, is open to the public and is free of charge on weekdays from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. and on Saturdays from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Visitors can watch artists at work, purchase locally made art and register for classes where they can make projects like the one featured on The Motorhead Traveler. Call 276.638.2107 for class schedules.
- Martinsville Speedway is open for free self-guided walking tours on weekdays from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. No appointment is necessary but participants are asked to sign-in at the ticket office prior to entering the track. Due to safety hazards, the walking tour is not offered on race week or the week prior to each race. Call 877.RACE.TIX for race tickets and additional track information.
Additional details on these and other area attractions, restaurant and lodging options are available online at www.VisitMartinsville.com, at the MHC Visitor Center on Church Street or by calling 888-PACE-4-YU.