Martinsville Earles honored

MARTINSVILLE, VA. ( Nov. 6, 2000) -- A year after his death, Martinsville Speedway founder H. Clay Earles is still receiving accolades for his life-long contributions to auto racing and his community. Earles was honored Thursday by the ...

MARTINSVILLE, VA. ( Nov. 6, 2000) -- A year after his death, Martinsville Speedway founder H. Clay Earles is still receiving accolades for his life-long contributions to auto racing and his community. Earles was honored Thursday by the General Assembly of Virginia with a Memorial Resolution. He died November 16, 1999 at the age of 86. Earles' family received the resolution from delegates Ward L. Armstrong and Barnie K. Day along with Senator W. Roscoe Reynolds. The three lawmakers were co-patrons of the Memorial Resolution. "This is a tremendous honor for our family to have my grandfather remembered in such a way," said Martinsville Speedway president Clay Campbell, Earles' grandson. "He wasn't big on personal awards like this, but it is rewarding to see his hard work recognized. It is something our family is very proud of." The resolution touches on much of Earles' life, but it aptly encapsules his contribution to auto racing in one paragraph: "...WHEREAS, Clay Earles built the speedway from a small arena with 5,000 seats to a racetrack complex covering more than 300 acres and featuring 86,000 seats, while introducing amenities that are now taken for granted, such as attended restrooms, permanent concession stands, first aid stations and air conditioned press boxes ..." Earles, a Virginia native and lifelong resident of the state, founded Martinsville Speedway in 1947, carving the .526-mile track out of the Henry County hillsides. What began as 30 acres and a dream is now a nationally-known attraction that draws over 85,000 race fans to each of its two Winston Cup races a year. It is the oldest stop on the NASCAR Winston Cup Series. "Mr. Earles was a great leader in our community who now is sorely missed," said Armstrong, who presented the resolution to Campbell. "I'm pleased to have the opportunity to present this Memorial Resolution to his family, and I am grateful that the General Assembly recognized the importance of Mr. Earles' work in this manner." Reynolds has a special connection to Earles and the Speedway. He grew up fairly close to Martinsville Speedway and attended races at the track before it was paved. And for the past several years he has served on the 500 Committee, a group of local leaders who volunteer to help the track on race weekends. "I have long appreciated and admired the life of Clay Earles and all he did for our area and for racing. This is a fitting tribute to this fine Virginian," said Reynolds. Day, like Armstrong and Reynolds, appreciated Earles' impact on the area, the region and the entire Commonwealth. "Mr. Earles was well known and respected not only in Henry County, but nationwide," said Day. "His name will forever be linked with NASCAR and the love of racing."

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Series Automotive