Martinsville Speedway needy children drive

MARTINSVILLE, VA. (November 17, 2000) -- The weeks leading up to Christmas are never an easy time for the Salvation Army, but last Christmas was perhaps the worst on record for the Salvation Army workers in Martinsville and Henry County. ...

MARTINSVILLE, VA. (November 17, 2000) -- The weeks leading up to Christmas are never an easy time for the Salvation Army, but last Christmas was perhaps the worst on record for the Salvation Army workers in Martinsville and Henry County. The area was hit with massive textile layoffs in mid-December of 1999 and the Salvation Army wound up helping 1,429 families at Christmas. While unemployment in the area has steadily dropped from a high of near 20 percent a year ago, this Christmas still looks to be bleak for many in the area, and the strain will be heavy on the Salvation Army again this year. That's where Martinsville Speedway's Souvenir Day Toy Drive helps out. A year ago more than 2,000 toys were raised at the event, with all of them going to the Salvation Army. And on Saturday, December 2, the Seventh Annual Martinsville Speedway Souvenir Day Toy Drive will collect toys again. The event is scheduled to run from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. on December 2 in the Speedway's infield. Many of the top Winston Cup drivers' souvenir trailers will be on hand selling end-of-the-year items at much-reduced prices and there will also be a 30-lap Allison Legacy Series race. There is no admission fee to the day's events, but race fans and shoppers can do their part to help the area's needy children by bringing a new, unwrapped toy. Normally the Salvation Army reaches out to about 400 families in the area at Christmas, according to Lieutenant Erik Nickell. With Christmas more than a month away, more than 500 families have already signed up for help, Nickell said. The Souvenir Day Toy Drive will help brighten Christmas morning for many of those youngsters. "The 10 to 12-year-old age is really the hardest to buy for," said Nickell. "If people would think about their 10 and 12-year-old children, that would be a great place to put their focus." More than a dozen Winston Cup souvenir trailers will be on hand, including both Dale Earnhardt and Dale Earnhardt Jr., Bobby, Labonte, Jeff Gordon, Dale Jarrett, Rusty Wallace and Tony Stewart. Also the NASCAR 2000 and Martinsville Speedway's souvenir trailers will be set up in the infield. Most items will be marked down as much as 50 percent, while some will be sold at a much greater discount. There will also be Bobby Labonte Winston Cup championship t-shirts on sale. The Allison Legacy cars will run a 30-lap race at 1 p.m. The Allison cars are approximately three-quarter scale and look similar to Winston Cup cars. 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 , NASCAR Cup
Drivers Dale Earnhardt , Dale Earnhardt Jr. , Jeff Gordon , Dale Jarrett , Bobby Labonte , Tony Stewart , Rusty Wallace