Major Martinsville changes will greet drivers, fans

MARTINSVILLE, VA (March 15, 2001) -- When fans and drivers arrive at Martinsville Speedway for the Virginia 500, they will find some major changes from last fall, changes that will make race weekend more enjoyable for both groups. The ...

MARTINSVILLE, VA (March 15, 2001) -- When fans and drivers arrive at Martinsville Speedway for the Virginia 500, they will find some major changes from last fall, changes that will make race weekend more enjoyable for both groups. The biggest and most apparent change will be right in the heart of the infield where the new garage has been built. A little closer to the action, fans and drivers alike won't be able to miss the wider pit road. And thousands of fans will find race weekend a bit more comfortable now that all of the concrete bleachers have been covered with aluminum, chair-backed seats. "My grandfather (track founder H. Clay Earles) always said work would never be finished here at Martinsville Speedway," said track president Clay Campbell. "Our latest projects are an example of that. We want to keep making things better for the fans and competitors." The 600-foot long metal garage building is located on the backstretch side of the infield. It is divided into 20 bays that will accommodate the entire starting field. The garage sits atop a concrete pad which extends 60 feet in front of the building. "The world of NASCAR Winston Cup racing has been changing and Clay always keeps up," said three-time Martinsville winner Rusty Wallace when he heard the news. "This has always been a first-class place and to see a garage area come in here ... that's just great." The pit road at Martinsville, which had been a tad tight since it was expanded to one pit road three years ago, grew 10 feet wider over the winter. "We have always tried to listen to our competitors as well as our fans. That's the best way I know of to improve what we already have," said Martinsville Speedway President Clay Campbell. "When we developed the one pit road, it was a major improvement and one I felt was necessary in today's environment. While it was welcomed by most everyone, it did have one problem in that it needed to be wider. After hearing from the drivers and crews and taking into consideration the safety aspect of it, we decided it would be better to widen pit road by 10 feet. We feel this will make pit stops more exciting for the fans to watch and much safer for the guys who go over the wall." Just how wide is the new pit road? Forty-six feet or wide enough for five Pontiac Bonnevilles to be lined up door-to-door across pit road with room to spare. "Ten feet might not sound like much, but it's a hundred miles to these race cars on a tight pit road," said Sterling Marlin, driver of the Coors Light Dodge. "Giving us a little bit more room down pit road is going to be a good deal for everyone. For one thing, it will help keep you from being blocked in all the time. For another, it gives you a little bit more room to drop the jack and get out. That's going to make for a better race all the way around." Work on putting aluminum bleachers over the concrete seats began last summer and by last fall's Old Dominion 500, the new aluminum stretched to the first turn. That project was completed in mid-February. The Virginia 500/Advance Auto Parts 250 weekend kicks off with Bud Pole qualifying for the Craftsman Truck Series at 1:30 p.m. on Friday, April 6 followed by time trials for the Winston Cup Series at 3 p.m. Tickets for qualifying are $15 for adults and children under 12 get in free. Tickets for the Advance Auto Parts 250 Craftsman Truck race are $30 for adults and $5 for children ages 6-12. All seats are unreserved. There still are great seats available for the Virginia 500 NASCAR Winston Cup race for $40-$65 each. To purchase tickets call the speedway ticket office toll free at 877-722-3849 or go online at www.martinsvillespeedway.com.

-Martinsville Speedway

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About this article
Series Automotive , NASCAR Cup , NASCAR Truck
Drivers Rusty Wallace , Sterling Marlin , Clay Campbell