Martinsville Speedway Will Celebrate Its 70th Year By Installing LED Lights In 2017by Hunter Thomas October 12, 2016
MARTINSVILLE, Va. – On Wednesday, Martinsville Speedway announced that it will become the first major motorsports facility in the country to install light emitting diode (LED) lights following the completion of the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Goody’s Fast Relief 500 on Sunday, October 30, 2016.
Project, “Light Up Martinsville” will consist of about $5 million to illuminate the 0.536-mile paperclip, and it’s set to be completed by January of 2017. The speedway has experimented with trackside lighting during NASCAR Home Track events, but there has never been any lights permanently installed at the track since it opened 1947. The Eaton’s Ephesus Stadium 750 lights will be installed around the outside of the track, as well as in the infield. Parking lots will have the lighting too.
“To be able to light this track up when the sun goes down, that’s going to be something truly special,” said Martinsville Speedway President Clay Campbell. “Our fans have told us that they want lighting. We’re pleased to provide them with another amenity which will ensure Martinsville continues to be one of the premier destinations in motorsports.”
Graybar and Eaton will be installing the Eaton’s Ephesus Stadium 750 lights. Currently, there are hundreds of sporting and entertainment facilities that have the particular lights installed. Most notably, the University of Phoenix Stadium, where last year’s Super Bowl was held and where the Arizona Cardinals play use the lights. Other NFL teams that compete underneath the sporting lights are the Miami Dolphins at Hard Rock Stadium, as well at the Minnesota Vikings at U.S. Bank Stadium. In MLB, the Texas Rangers play under the lights at Globe Life Park. As for the NHL, the Nashville Predators also compete with Eaton’s LED lights.
“We’re proud to be a part of this historic project,” said Bill Mansfield, Graybar Senior Vice President, Sales and Marketing. “When you combine Graybar’s services along with the products from Eaton’s Ephesus lighting business, this project will create the best lighting for the best drivers and fans in the world. We can’t wait to ‘Light Up Martinsville’.”
The installation of lights at Martinsville Speedway is a project that has been long awaited. Just last year when Jeff Gordon took the checkered flag in the track’s Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup race, there was very little light illuminating the track surface; however, the camera flashes from the grandstands certainly put on a light show and lit up post-race ceremonies. The track’s annual NASCAR Whelen All-American Series race also usually ends near sunset.
“As a driver, I always get excited about coming to Martinsville,” said Dale Earnhardt Jr. “Adding lights to the track will only add to its legacy.”
With lights, the speedway will not have to worry about the sun setting. NASCAR’s national series schedules are already set for 2017, but maybe in the future Martinsville Speedway will host a full night race.
UPDATE (Sunday, October 16, 2016): During the ValleyStar Credit Union 300 driver’s meeting on Sunday morning, Martinsville Speedway President Clay Campbell announced that the 2017 edition of the prestigious NASCAR Whelen All-American Series race will be run on Saturday night, underneath the LED lights.
“I’ve always said this was the greatest Saturday night race on a Sunday afternoon,” Campbell said. “Now it truly will be the greatest Saturday night race!
“The drivers, teams, ValleyStar and, most importantly, the fans of this race deserve being the first to run under our new permanent LED lights.”
Credit for cover photo: Martinsville Speedway