Speedway President Christmas Parade Grand Marshal MARTINSVILLE, VA (November 6, 2001) -- With a theme of "A Checkered Flag Christmas," the Martinsville-Henry County Christmas Parade will roar to life on Nov. 24 at noon in Uptown ...
Speedway President Christmas Parade Grand Marshal
MARTINSVILLE, VA (November 6, 2001) -- With a theme of "A Checkered Flag Christmas," the Martinsville-Henry County Christmas Parade will roar to life on Nov. 24 at noon in Uptown Martinsville.
This year's theme was selected because of the area's long history of stock car racing and the presence of Martinsville Speedway in the community.
And to further that tie-in to racing, the family of the late Clay Earles, the founder of Martinsville Speedway, will be the grand marshals of the parade. Speedway president Clay Campbell, Earles' grandson, will represent the family in the parade.
"This is a great honor for our family. We are all very flattered," said Campbell. "This community was always very important to my grandfather and remains important to all of us at the speedway today. We think it is important to give back to our community and make every attempt to be a positive force in the area."
Jeanne Lawson, First Vice-President of the Martinsville-Henry County Christmas Parade Association, said the grand marshall selection was an easy one.
"Mr. Earles, his family and Martinsville Speedway have made huge contributions to the community. It was fitting that the Earles family be selected," said Lawson.
This year's parade will begin at the intersection of Church Street and Cleveland Avenue and follow its usual route through Uptown Martinsville ending on Ellsworth Street.
Early entries for the parade must be received by Friday, Nov. 9. Anyone wishing to enter after that date should contact Virginia Phillips at (276) 632-2310.
Donations to the Christmas Parade may be mailed to Post Office Box 3590, Martinsville, VA 24115. This year's goal is $5,000.
Martinsville Speedway hosts two NASCAR Winston Cup races each year, filling its 86,000 seats to capacity for each race. And those fans pump millions of dollars into the local economy. A study five years ago revealed that each Winston Cup race brought roughly $30 million into the local economy.
Earles founded the track in 1947, which makes it the oldest stop on the Winston Cup schedule, older even than NASCAR, stock-car racing's sanctioning body.
Campbell became the track's president in 1988, and along with his grandfather began a bold expansion plan that has brought incredible growth to the facility. That growth has included the addition of more than 50,000 seats since the mid-1980s.
Earles died two years ago at the age of 86.
Campbell also has a strong commitment to his community and is active in many organizations in the Martinsville and Henry County area. He is the president of the Martinsville YMCA board of directors and serves on the boards of directors for Memorial Health Systems, Inc., the Blue Ridge Airport Authority, the Patrick Henry Community College Foundation and the Virginia Police Chiefs Foundation.
Campbell is also a race-car driver, competing at weekly racing tracks in the region. He recently wrapped up the Limited Late Model Stock season championship at Caraway Speedway in Asheboro, N.C., winning eight races in 27 starts.
Campbell and his wife Kim have been married for 15 years and have two children, Will and Alayna.