Martinsville Speedway toy drive successful

MARTINSVILLE, VA. (December 2, 2000) -- Bitter cold winter weather was no match for warm hearts at Martinsville Speedway Saturday. More than 800 toys and over $2000 were raised during the Seventh Annual Souvenir Day Toy Drive at the track...

MARTINSVILLE, VA. (December 2, 2000) -- Bitter cold winter weather was no match for warm hearts at Martinsville Speedway Saturday. More than 800 toys and over $2000 were raised during the Seventh Annual Souvenir Day Toy Drive at the track Saturday to help needy youngsters in Martinsville and Henry County. "We're always amazed at everyone's generosity this time of the year," said Martinsville Speedway president Clay Campbell. "It was very, very cold today, but everyone just bundled up and came on out. We want everyone to know how much we appreciate what they did today." Despite temperatures in the high 30s and a forecast of heavy overnight snowfall, the pit area was busy from the time the gates opened at 9 a.m., as shoppers milled about the 13 Winston Cup souvenir trailers, shopping for year-end bargains. And most everyone who visited the track had either a toy or money to donate. "This is the second time I've been to one of these and I do it mostly for the kids. I want to help put a smile on their faces," said Greg Wall of Bassett after he finished a heavy shopping spree at Rusty Wallace's trailer. Although a staunch Wallace fan, Wall did admit to buying a couple of Jeff Gordon items, also. "This is for the kids," Wall said, "but I did find a couple of pretty good bargains." Members of the Henry County Baptist Association and other volunteers were busy for a good portion of the day, hauling toys from the pit road area to the Infield Media Center. By mid-afternoon, one side of the large room was covered in toys. At days end, the toys were boxed up and carted away by the Martinsville Salvation Army, who will distribute them to needy families throughout the area in time for Christmas. "Between the race track and the Baptist Association, we've had a good day," said Lieutenant Erik Nickell of the Salvation Army. "It's going to make a difference in Christmas for a lot of people this year." Melvin Mullins made the trip from Ferrum to drop off a gift and pick up a few for family and friends. He heard about the event on his car radio Saturday morning and decided he needed to make another trip to the track he' s been visiting for a few years. "I came here for the first time to a race in 1949," said Mullins, recalling a time before Martinsville Speedway's racing surface was paved. "I was five years old then and I can remember picking dirt out of my hair." Mullins said he bought a couple of Christmas presents from the souvenir vendors and as a bonus he got to watch the 30-lap Allison Legacy Series race. Jay Godley of Charlotte, N.C. won the race for the Allison Legacy Series cars, a scaled-down version of a stock car powered by a four-cylinder engine. It was a fitting win for Godley in the final Legacy Series race of the year. He wrapped up the Series' championship a few weeks ago and was scheduled to accept the national championship trophy at the Series' banquet held in Martinsville Saturday night. "This is real special to win on a track where the Winston Cup cars run" said Godley, whose father Johnny won a 15-lap race for rookies later in the day. "It's a pretty big deal for us to run here and then to win is a big honor." Edith Withrow of Fieldale, Va., also had a big day at the Speedway, winning a pair of tickets to the April 8 Virginia 500 NASCAR Winston Cup race. Also on Saturday, 30 pints of blood were donated during a four-hour American Red Cross blood drive. "It was a great day for everyone," Campbell said at day's end. "Everyone had a great day out here and that's going to make for a better Chrismas for a lot of youngsters around Martinsville and Henry County." The next NASCAR Winston Cup action at Martinsville Speedway is the Virginia 500 on Sunday, April 8, 2001. Tickets are $40-$70 and are available by calling toll free at (877) 722-3849 or online at www.martinsvillespeedway.com.

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Series Automotive
Drivers Rusty Wallace , Jay Godley , Clay Campbell