If you’re an automobile enthusiast, then you may know that Martinsville Speedway is one of the country’s most historic sports venues. Constructed in 1927 and recognized as one of NASCAR’s most important tracks, it is home to one of motorsport’s most prestigious race events, the Martinsville Speedway Grand Prix.
Though NASCAR still uses the speedway as a venue for its premier division races, it has since evolved into a center for a variety of motorsports activities, including midgets, touring cars, and even helicopter raceways! Let’s take a look at the various states that the speedway occupies…
Located in the Chicago metropolitan area, the facility originally opened as a dirt track and was converted to a 1.5 mile paved oval in 1938. It wasn’t until the 1960s that the track became an official NASCAR facility; previously it was sponsored by Budweiser and later, American Motors. Today, the track still hosts the annual Budweiser 600-mile race in late March, drawing crowds of over 100,000 spectators!
The track was originally constructed as a dirt road and changed to a 1.5 mile semi-paved oval in 1938. It was then expanded to its current width of 2.54 miles in 1959. The facility is currently owned and sponsored by Speedway Motorsports, Inc., a company that owns and operates six sports venues across the country, including the legendary Daytona International Speedway! The track also hosts a variety of minor events, including motorcycle and tractor pulls as well as monster truck rallies!
Named after its original owner, Eddie Martins, the track was originally constructed as a dirt road and opened to the public in 1937. It was later resurfaced and expanded to its current size of 2.54 miles in 1959. The facility is currently owned by Richard Childress, the founder of R.C. Enterprises, Inc., a business which owns and operates six other tracks, including what is now known as the Brickyard, an asphalt oval in Indianapolis. The Brickyard was the site of the first-ever Indianapolis 500 in 1911!
The 1.5 mile paved oval officially opened in 1966 and was built by the International Speedway Corporation, the predecessor of International Speedway Park, LLC. The construction of the facility was a labor of love for Harry Hyde, a Missouri farmer and businessman, who also served as the track’s first president. Though the track is still owned by the same company, it no longer operates as an independent organization and is now part of a larger corporation called ISC Enterprises, Inc. which also owns and operates Atlanta Motor Speedway, Bristol Motor Speedway and California Speedway! The track is currently undergoing a massive renovation and is set to reopen in late 2018 as a world-class entertainment and sports complex named after him, Harry Hyde Park.
Opened in 1922, the 2.94 mile Michigan race track was originally a dirt road and changed to a 1.25 mile banked oval in 1938. The track was then resurfaced and expanded to its current size of 3.09 miles in 1960. The Michigan race track is currently owned and operated by Mike and Jane Michalowski, who also own and operate the Mohegan Sun Arena. The couple purchased the track for $10 million in 2018 and plan to invest an additional $25 million in upgrades and renovations, which are already underway! The track is currently undergoing a roof replacement project and is set to reopen for the 2019 racing season.
Located in Columbus, the 2.441 mile tri-oval opened in 1969 and is owned by Speedway Motorsports, Inc., a company that also owns and operates over 20 other venues, including the legendary Indianapolis Motor Speedway! The speedway hosts the annual Buckeye Superstore 600-mile Sprint race, an event that draws over 50,000 spectators each year!
Constructed in 1937, the 1.9 mile Nashville Speedway was named after its original owner, Arthur Layne, who owned the track until his death in 1958. Though the track was named after him, Layne served as the president of the American Association of Advertising Agencies for 12 years! The track was then transferred to the Nashville Civic Center Corporation, which still owns and operates it to this day! In 2016, the Nashville race track was purchased by Marcus Smith, owner of Nashville Entertainment Corporation, for $16 million. Smith, in turn, sold the facility to Michael Huntley, president of Speedway Motorsports, Inc., for $26 million. Though the ownership structure has changed hands, the track has remained a valuable asset, drawing thousands of racing fans to the state capital every weekend.
The 2.4 mile Texas race track was constructed in 1911 and was originally named Pleasant Hill Raceway. The track was then renamed The Cotton Bowl in 1922 in honor of a local sports icon, the late Jack “Cotton” Bowl. Though the football stadium was renamed after him, Cotton went on to become one of the greatest athletes in Texas high school history, scoring over 100 touchdowns during his playing days! The track was then renamed after him again in 1936 and is still owned and operated by the Jack & Cotton Bowl Athletic Association. The facility is currently undergoing a renovation project that will bring with it a number of exciting changes, including a brand new trackside hotel, expanded parking lots and upgraded technology systems.
Also known as the Roanoke Speedway, the track was built in 1923 and was originally named after its founder, Frank Stoddard. The track was later renamed after its longtime sponsor, Roanoke Brewery. Today, the brewery no longer sponsors the race track, but it continues to host the Roanoke 300-mile Oval Tailgate Party every year, a popular community event that draws thousands of spectators and raises over $100,000 for charity every year! The facility is still owned by Stoddard’s descendants and continues to operate as a track, holding various races, from midgets to trucks, on a seasonal basis.
Located in the small town of Hartsdale, the 1.9 mile Mountaineer Raceway was built in 1918 and operated as a dirt track until 1929, when it was converted to a 1.1 mile paved oval. The facility is currently owned by the West Virginia Stadium Authority, which also owns and operates Kanawha Valley Mall, located directly across the street from the track! The mall owns and operates the Charlotte Memorial Stadium, home of the North Charleston Mariners baseball team and Patriot Superstores, a military and veterans store.
Also known as the Milwaukee Mile, the mile-and-a-half long tri-oval was once home to the Indianapolis 500 from 1949 to 1980 and currently hosts the Milwaukee Brewers’ spring training games throughout the year. The Milwaukee race track is still owned by the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, which also publishes the Milwaukee Sentinel newspaper, and will be the site of the annual Wisconsin State Fair in September.
What State is Martinsville Speedway?
We’ll never know for sure, but based on the available evidence, Martinsville Speedway seems to occupy the same footprint as Virginia…