The legendary Martinsville Speedway is one of the most historic sports facilities in America. Located in Martinsville, Virginia, the speedway plays an important role in the motorsport community.
The track opened in 1924 and is one of the first purpose-built motorsport stadia in the United States. It was originally known as “Death Valley”, but was later renamed after John and Ann Martin, the owners of the track at the time.
The track continues to play an important part in American racing today. It is currently home to the NASCAR Whelen Euro Series, which was founded in 2015. That same year, it also hosted the FIM MotoGP World Championship and World Superbike Championship round. Additionally, the track holds a national record for one of the longest-running celebrity competitions in U.S. history. The Christmas Creek Vineyards & Winery’s Starlight Christmas Party has become an annual tradition since it was first hosted by Jack Morris in 2005.
An Important Part Of Motorcycle History
The Martinsville Speedway is certainly an important part of American motorcycle history. It was at the forefront of two of the most important trends in the history of motorsport. The first was the evolution from track cycling to track racing. The second was the transition from wood-burning engine to fuel-injected engines. Both of these changes are reflected in the iconic brick surface of the speedway.
The track was originally designed for horse and bicycle races. It was opened to automobile traffic in 1926, and it regularly hosted races until World War II. Following the war, the track fell into disuse and was used for various other sports. After years of inactivity, in 2015 it was revived as a full-fledged auto racing track.
A Place Full Of Racing History
When the doors open at the Martinsville Speedway, it is like entering a time machine. The place is filled with racing history. The gleaming white walls, the wooden floors, and the incredible amount of space all contribute to the atmosphere of the place. It is said that you can still feel the presence of Henry Ford II, the founder of Ford Motor Company, who was in attendance at the opening ceremony in 1926. To this day, Henry Ford II is commemorated with a bust located in the middle of the track.
Along with Henry Ford II, the inaugural race at the Martinsville Speedway was attended by a host of other famous people. These included Alfred P. Murrah, president of the Ford Motor Company at the time; William Thaw, co-founder of A.C. Gilbert Company; and Barney Oldfield, the namesake of the Barney Oldfield Motorcycle Museum, which is adjacent to the track. The list of attendees goes on and on.
This is the history of the place that started it all. This is the site where it all began – The Martinsville Speedway.