The tempo lap for an early Modified automotive race at Martinsville Speedway. (ISC Pictures & Archives by way of Getty Pictures)
Modified racing at Martinsville is stuffed with memorable moments. Main as much as the Modified return to the observe, listed here are chosen among the largest and most vital races in Martinsville historical past.
1948: The Delivery of a Jewel
In a area together with NASCAR founder Invoice France, Buck Baker and Tim Flock, it was Fonty Flock who received the primary race on the dust half-mile oval. Whereas Modifieds wouldn’t race at Martinsville for 18 extra years
1966: A Return to Glory
After a virtually two-decade absence, the Modifieds returned to Martinsville on April 23, 1966. Ray Hendrick took the checkered flag, the primary of 9 Modified victories he picked up on the observe. He additionally earned his first grandfather clock, which the observe started awarding to the race winners simply two years prior.
Hendrick would go on to be the winningest driver in observe historical past with 20 victories, and was inducted into the Worldwide Motorsports Corridor of Fame in 2007.
1970: Hendrick Sweeps
Hendrick continued his dominance at Martinsville, changing into the primary driver to brush each the Late Mannequin function and the Modified function when he received each races on the Cardinal 500 on Nov. 8, 1970.
It was a banner 12 months for the Richmond, Virginia, driver on the half-mile. He drover his Modified to a win within the Dogwood 500 on April 12, beating runner-up Fred Desarro by six laps. Simply two weeks later, he picked up a 100-lap win over Jerry Cook dinner in a NASAR Modified occasion.
For the November doubleheader, he received the Late Mannequin Sportsman race from the pole in his 1965 Chevrolet Chevelle, then drove his Chevrolet Camaro to a win over runner-up Cook dinner within the Modified race.
1981: Evans Catches Fence and Checkers
Hendrick’s closing win at Martinsville got here in 1975, the 12 months after Rome, New York, legend Richie Evans earned his first win there.
Evans would win 9 occasions on the “paperclip” however in all probability none extra well-known than on March 15, 1981.
In arguably the best end within the historical past of each Martinsville and Modified racing, Richie Evans rode the frontstretch catchfence to the win over Geoff Bodine.
“I bought him sideways off of 4,” Geoff Bodine says. “I ought to’ve stored spinning him out, however I let him go. That was my mistake. I used to be too good a man. I didn’t wish to wreck him, I simply needed to beat him.”
1985: A Poignant Season Finale
Simply 4 years later, Martinsville and Evans had been intrinsically linked once more, however for one more purpose.
Within the first 12 months of the NASCAR Winston Modified Tour, Evans received 12 of the primary 28 races to clinch his ninth NASCAR modifified title heading into the ultimate race of the season at Martinsville on Oct. 27, 1985.
Three days earlier than the race, Evans crashed in apply, dying when a caught throttle despatched him into the turn-three wall.
The Tour raced on that weekend, with Johnny Bryant gathering his solely profession Tour win. Bryant was driving for North Carolina automotive proprietor David Riggs, and they’re the final southern automotive proprietor and driver mixture to win a Modified race at Martinsville.
“I nonetheless keep in mind that win,” Bryant instructed the Martinsville Bulletin in 2014. “We had a very good automotive that day and I bought some breaks and was capable of win a race right here. He ready a very good automotive for me.”