No track on the NASCAR Cup Series schedule has been in existence longer than Martinsville Speedway, which the late H. Clay Earles opened in 1947. The track hosted its first NASCAR premier series event in 1949 and has been a staple of the schedule ever since. This weekend, Martinsville will be celebrating its 75th anniversary — a pretty incredible milestone and one worth noting, especially for those who carry a real appreciation for NASCAR’s past.
“Martinsville has a deep history in our sport,” said veteran Kevin Harvick, who’s raced at Martinsville in nearly a third of the years that the track has been in business. “It’s a place that’s just a part of NASCAR racing, and I think you have to respect that. But I definitely would tell you it’s not a racetrack that I would say, ‘This is where I want to go.’ It’s just not been a place where I’ve had streaks of success.”
Despite his genuine appreciation for Martinsville’s deep, historic roots, Harvick has prevailed just once in 41 Cup starts at the Virginia short track. He hopes to put a lengthy Martinsville drought to bed this weekend. “Look, I’ve done this a long time, and there’s really not going to be a racetrack that I go to that I don’t leave thinking that I could’ve done better,” Harvick said. “Martinsville is the one I leave thinking that probably more often than some of the others, but it’s going to be the exact same as any other racetrack when I get to Monday — it’s just going to be in the past, and I’m not going to think about it. It’s been a racetrack where you just never know what’s going to happen. It’s just one of those places that’s been like that.”