MARTINSVILLE, VA. (Oct. 3, 2001) -- It was an opportunity Rusty Wallace welcomed, but one he never imagined he would get.
Wallace was on hand at Martinsville Speedway Wednesday afternoon to oversee the grand opening of the track's new pedestrian tunnel. And with a snip of the scissors he and track president Clay Campbell officially opened the underground walkway.
"Man, this is great," Wallace said of the tunnel located in the fourth turn. "I remember in the past it seemed like as soon as I would go out to practice the red flag would come out to let people in (the infield) and that would really foul up practice.
"This was a monumental project putting this tunnel in. You have to hand it to Clay and his guys here."
The tunnel dedication was part of a busy day at Martinsville Speedway.
Wallace also took part in a check presentation from Miller Brewing Company, his sponsor, to the Martinsville Speedway Children's Foundation. And sandwiched around the noon-hour festivities was seven hours of testing by six different Winston Cup teams.
It was the third day of testing this week at the .526-mile track as teams prepared for the October 14 running of the Old Dominion 500 NASCAR Winston Cup race.
Wallace tested on Monday and Tuesday, and Wednesday he spent most of his time talking about the track where he has won six Winston Cup races.
"You have to admit this is one beautiful race track," Wallace said. "And it is one exciting place to watch a race"
Wallace also touched on another off-season project at Martinsville Speedway -- the filling of the lake adjacent to the fourth turn.
"If your grandfather knew you filled in the pond, he'd kick your butt," Wallace said to Campbell, referring to his grandfather and track founder H. Clay Earles.
Wallace joined with Brenda Williams, Community Affairs Specialist with Miller Brewing in Eden, N.C., to present the Martinsville Speedway's Children Foundation's board of directors with a check for $5,000. Board members Kim Campbell, Dr. Jim Rountree and Dr. Jack LaFave accepted the check.
Drivers testing at Martinsville Wednesday included Ken Schrader, Hermie Sadler, Tony Stewart, Terry Labonte, Bobby Hamilton and Ricky Craven. The track will be quiet until the NASCAR Winston Cup Series rolls into town for the Old Dominion 500, set for Sunday, October 14 at 12:30 p.m. Great reserved seats are available in the towers for $40-$60. Tickets can be ordered by calling the speedway ticket office toll free at 1-877-722-3849 or (540) 956-3151. Tickets also can be ordered online at www.martinsvillespeedway.com.