In 1947, a small dirt track opened up to host some races throughout the year. The course was owned by H. Clay Earles and he placed $60,000 into building the track. The first race was ran on September 7, 1947 and the cars were Modified Stock cars. The track was completed and the lake around it was filled in forming the infield and only 750 of the propossed seats were completed on the first race day. Robert "Red" Byron, of Virginia won the first race and collected $500 out of a $2,000 purse.

Over the years Martinsville has grown and improved on the original track. The track is a .526 mile asphalt speedway. There are 340 acres of land and seats 86,000. There are 800 foot straight-aways with short turns that have a banking of 12 degrees. Martinsville has been called "two drag strips with short turns." 1

Richard Petty, the King leads modern era Winston Cup winners with 15 and is the only driver to win here with four different manufacturers, Plymouth, Dodge, Ford, and Chevrolet. Geoff Bodine has won in three different classes of races at this track, Modified, Grand National and Winston Cup. LIke any track there have been some accidents including one death, when Charlie Jarzombek crashed into the wall between the first and second turns.

Currently there are two Winston Cup races held at Martinsville, the Virginia 500 and the Old Dominion 500.

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