For the price of a new toy, you can drive your car on the historic NASCAR track, and for a few dollars more you can take a ride in a real Sprint Cup car with Martinsville Speedway President Clay Campbell behind the wheel.
The toy drive is scheduled from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Saturday, December 8 in the track’s infield. Santa Claus will be making his annual appearance at noon.
A $25 donation gets a few hot laps in a Sprint Cup car provided by Andy Hillenberg’s Fast Track High Performance Racing School; an authentic Sprint Cup car with a second seat for ridealongs. Riders will be outfitted in full racing gear including fire suit, helmet and Hans Device. Participants must be at least 16 years of age.
"We think this is something really special, something that race fans and non-race fans will enjoy doing and it’s all for a great cause,” Campbell said of the ride-along experience. “The $25 donation is a bargain to ride in a real race car at such a historic track. And all the money helps local children at Christmas.”
Campbell is an established NASCAR driver, competing in the NASCAR K&N East Series the past two seasons. He’s driven competitively in NASCAR weekly racing for more than a decade.
Those donating a toy or making a $10 donation will get to drive their personal vehicles around the track. Pace cars will lead the personal vehicles around the track.
All toys and monetary donations from the day will go to the Grace Network, which will distribute toys to families in need for Christmas. The Grace Network is able to serve over 200 children each year with toys and funds collected through the toy drive.
“Unfortunately the needs in our community continue to grow and many are struggling to keep their homes warm and food on the table,” said Becky McKinney, president of the board of directors for the Grace Network, a network of almost 100 churches in the area that identifies the families in need and distributes toys to them. “Added to their stress at this time of the year is providing Christmas for their children.
“The toy drive is such a blessing to these families as well as our Grace Network volunteers. Many of our volunteers look forward each year to working the toy drive and distributing the gifts. We are so grateful to Martinsville Speedway for making the toy drive possible and for all those in our community and beyond who unselfishly give to make Christmas special for neighbors in need.”
The Martinsville Speedway staff will be doing their part to help by manning the infield concession stand during the toy drive, making and serving the Famous Martinsville Speedway Hot Dogs. Hot dogs and Pepsi products are $1 each, with proceeds going toward purchasing toys.
Anyone who would like to donate a toy, but cannot make it to the Toy Drive, can drop them off at the Martinsville Speedway ticket office Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. The Grace Network will distribute the collected toys to families in need. The monetary donations will be used to purchase additional toys. All of the toys will remain in the Martinsville and Henry County area.