Martinsville Speedway ‘lighting ceremony’ a social-media success

Martinsville Speedway held a “lighting ceremony” on Thursday night, inviting fans to drive under the lights on the 0.526-mile track for the first time.

The $5 million project to add lighting to the historic facility recently reached completion.

For Martinsville president Clay Campbell, the grandson of track founder H. Clay Earles, these are exciting times.

Campbell recently talked with FOX Sports about the culmination of a transformation at the facility that he admits he finds almost hard to believe. Martinsville has been running races since 1947 and is the only track in existence that has hosted at least one NASCAR race every year since the governing body’s creation in 1949.

But until this year, none of them have been run under the lights.

“We’re really excited about it,” Campbell said. “To see that place under the lights is phenomenal. With this new technology of LED lights, we’re the first motorsports stadium in the country with LED lights and it’s really spectacular to see it lit up.

“You can do so many things with those lights, but there’s not a shadow on the track. It’s better than daylight. We’re really looking forward to running at night with it. I think the fans are really going to like it.”

Despite the lighting system being in place, the April 1 Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series race at Martinsville is not scheduled to be run at night. Neither is the Camping World Truck Series race scheduled for one day earlier.

Campbell said the first full races scheduled for night-time action will be in September when the track hosts a NASCAR Late Model weekend.

“We’re looking forward to that – because that’s where those guys came from,” Campbell said. “They’re used to Saturday night racing, and the fans, too. We think they’re deserving of having the first race under the lights, so that will be our first one.”

Shortly thereafter, the NASCAR Cup Series will get its first taste of racing after sunset at Martinsville on Oct. 29. That race is scheduled to start in daylight at 3 p.m., but will end under the lights.

Thursday’s lighting ceremony appeared to be a huge success, as documented by the track on social media.

Posted by Martinsville Speedway on Thursday, March 2, 2017