Since 1949 they have been running NASCAR races at Martinsville Speedway.

The longest running track on the NASCAR circuit...60 years they have been

waving the green flag at Martinsville so you know there must be something

special about it.

Martinsville is known for its famous "hot dogs" and I tried two of them

on my way out on Sunday. They were pretty good but not good enough to bring

about 60 years of racing. It was pretty country as my drive into

Martinsville took me along a highway similar to the drive from Monticello to

Stearns on East Hwy. 92. Pretty country but not reason enough for 60 years

of racing.

A unique thing about Martinsville Speedway is the fact that there are no

beer sales at the track. Not many professional athletic events these days

don't sell beer and along with that comes a little different kind of crowd.

So what is it that brings people to Martinsville?

There is only one reason that I could find and that reason was the

"racing".

During my teen years I spent some Friday and Saturday nights at the

local dirt track in Monticello. Martinsville took me back to my teen years

and going to dirt tracks.

There were times I thought I was back at the old track once located in

Oil Valley on East 92. It was as if they had fixed it up, made it a half

mile track and paved it. Instead of it being the black #69 of Goaty Littrell

in the lead it was the black #11 of Danny Hamlin. Instead of the green #10

of William Coffey in pursuit, it was the #24 Dupont Chevy of Gordon after

the leader at the checkered flag. It was racing as I remembered it when I

was 16 years old.

The temperature on race day was in the 30's. I heard on the radio

coming home it actually made it to the low 40's by the end of the race.

It was as Jeff Gordon said in his post race interview, "Perhaps the

worst weather for the fans he could remember and them still be racing."

I don't like the cold myself but the racing at Martinsville made it

worth weathering the conditions.

I want to go back to Martinsville when the weather is warmer and the

reason I want to go back is the "racing." I would like to go back to a race

on the old track in Oil Valley, but that can't happen. Instead it will be

another trip to Martinsville.

I recommend to anyone that wants to enjoy a good NASCAR race and at the

same time get in a "time capsule" and go back to the "good ole days," take a

trip to the Martinsville Speedway in Martinsville, VA.

One interesting side note about my trip to Martinsville and the Goody's

Cool Orange 500. I got to meet a photographer that had covered NASCAR for 60

years.

His photo at the finish line was used to determine Lee Petty's famous

"photo finish" win at the Daytona 500.

During driver introductions he was by my side and I thought I must be in

the right place.

After working the Goody's Cool Orange 500 at Martinsville, I can

understand why a photographer may want to hang around for 60 years.

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