I remember thinking the 1st time I rolled in there that it easily could have been Wiscasset Raceway, with much bigger grandstands. Rolling hills for parking, short-short-short track where you can see everything in front of you and, of course, the hot dogs. None of it disappointed.
One minute you're rolling past an outdated shopping plaza on a 4-lane road; next minute a quaint little racetrack pops up on your left. It was crazy.
Of course, there was that time I got the frantic call from my wife while I was having a beer in the parking lot (well, parking field) at Martinsville. My son was just 6 months old at the time and had fallen and smacked the back of his head on a hardwood floor at his aunt and uncle's house on the other side of Virginia. Turns out, kids can fracture their skulls at that age!
Not to worry, though, loyal readers. It was nowhere near as bad as it sounds. Coop was fine -- well, as fine as you can be with me as half of your gene pool. Of course, we're still waiting on the paternity tests... So what if he likes baseball and drag racing and he's got my eyes? The kid's got hair -- which I obviously don't -- and he's only like 3 1/2 feet tall. I'm WAY taller than that.
But I digress...
Simply put, Martinsville Speedway is the last bridge to the NASCAR past -- back when these were the kinds of tracks teams raced on across the southeast. Small, cramped and outdated -- sure. But in a sport that forgets its past faster than you can say "Winston Cup," it's worth the fight to keep Martinsville on the map.
I'm a bonehead, by the way.
Teams entering the Coastal 200 at Wiscasset in May will be entered in a drawing for free tires -- but the 2 winning teams will receive 4 tires each, not 8, as I erroneously reported. My bad.
(WARNING: "Media Rant Ahead." Some of you may not care about the following item. Feel free to skip to the next section!)
See that about Coastal 200 tires, Speed 51? When I need to run a correction, I will.
Of course, I'm still waiting on the first 51 Sports press release telling me about the PASS North Series. Oh wait -- that's right! -- they're not handling PR for PASS North. You know, as I first reported last fall before being accused of all kinds of nasties for doing my job.
I've wanted to take a strong stance against NASCAR's recent announcement that it will move the Toyota All-Star Showdown from November until January, beginning this season. The race for the Camping World Series teams pits the top teams in the 2 series against each other in a "championship race" format, one of a couple of races on the card that weekend.
Like I said, I've wanted to, but I can't.
A few years ago, this would have been crippling for the small, regional teams trying to support NASCAR racing at the local level. At a time when part-time teams needed all the hours they could find to get cars ready for a new season, NASCAR would have been forcing them to travel across the country months after the conclusion of the last calendar.
But here's the deal: with all the Sprint Cup influence and development teams in Camping World East now, it's just another race. Full-time teams with fully outfitted shops just move along without a glitch -- they could race again locally in a month. As it is now, they don't have to race again until mid-April.
It's just another sign that our little Busch North Series is all grown up now.