Track touts turbocharged facilities
Friday, April 01, 2011
Danville Register & Bee
MARTINSVILLE-Martinsville Speedway seemingly has a leg up on the other racetracks on the NASCAR circuit, and it all has to do with improving the fan experience on race weekends.
On Thursday, with Virginia Lt. Gov. Bill Bolling in attendance as the keynote speaker, track president Clay Campbell unveiled two large, modern concession stands, massive male and female restrooms with nearly 20 stalls in each location.
"It took a lot of people to work together and pulling in the same direction, which is not always an easy thing to do. But in this case, it worked," Campbell said.
In addition, large neon signs in front of the concession stands advertise the Famous Martinsville Speedway Hot Dog and a 20-foot mural of Martinsville Speedway founder H. Clay Earles and NASCAR founder Bill France is now displayed on a wall of the new facilities.
The International Speedway Corp. added a Sprint Cup race to Kansas Speedway last year, meaning a track with two races a year-one of them being Martinsville Speedway-would more than likely lose one of those races.
In March 2010, howevever, a Virginia Tobacco Commission Grant awarded the speedway $1.5 million, which the track matched for a total of $3 million for updates deemed necessary in order to keep two races at Martinsville. The track also received $400,000 for transportation improvements.
In August, the ISC guaranteed the 67-year-old speedway two races for the next five years.
Bolling said one race weekend has an economic impact of about $85 million to Southern Virginia.
"When you can put up $2 million to generate $40 million, that's a pretty good investment in anybody's book," Bolling said.
"And we will make those kinds of investments all day long," he said.
"It's about creating a fan-friendly environment and creating a positive experience for the fans who pay their hard-earned money to come out and support the sport and be a part of this wonderful sport we call NASCAR," Bolling added.
Construction on the project began a week after the TUMS Fast Relief 500 in October with the tearing down of objects that had been in place underneath the grandstands for the past 40 years.
Mark Heath, president and chief executive officer of Martinsville-Henry County Economic Development said there is no denying the impact the speedway has on the local economy and that Bolling kept his campaign promise of coming to town at least once every month.
"The kind of impact we get from the speedway, with ESPN with the race being on TV is something we can't buy," Heath said. "The state and Lt. Gov. Bolling was with us on this project every step of the way."
For additional information contact Ibbie Hedrick at 804-225-2487 or email@example.com.