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Martinsville Speedway to remove seats and replace with grassy areas, with plans for new fan experiences to come

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In what Martinsville Speedway officials are calling a beautification project, the track will make adjustments to seating in Turns 1 and 2.

The lower concrete grandstands in those areas of the track will be removed and replaced with new grass berms, a change that will be in place for the fall NASCAR race weekend this October.

Work on the area started on Thursday.

The track is making the changes as it "continues to look for ways to further improve the fan experience," Brent Gambill, Martinsville Speedway’s Senior Director of Track Communications, said in an email.

Martinsville Speedway

Fans watch a recent race from the top of Turn 1 at Martinsville Speedway. Martinsville Speedway said the track will be removing concrete seats in Turns 1 and 2 and replacing them for grass berms, which will be in place for the October NASCAR race weekend.

A portion of the infrastructure in Turns 1 and 2 that will be affected has not been in use in several years, Gambill added. The Glenn Wood Tower, Old Dominion Tower and Clay Earles Tower in those areas will not be impacted.

Ticket holders with seats that are being removed — which the track said is a limited number but did not say how many — will receive new seats with the same pricing options in the premium Clay Earles Tower. The track’s ticketing team began communicating with the ticketholders in the affected areas on Thursday.

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“The Turns 1 and 2 adjustments will enhance the look and feel of the historic track for all fans in attendance,” a statement from the track read.

Further details about new fan experiences and uses for the new grassy areas will be shared at a later date, Gambill said in a phone call Thursday morning.

The track has removed seating in recent years to make room for other enhanced fan zones. The “SkyDeck” above the press box in Turns 1 and 2 was added in 2018, and “The Brake Pad”, with seats right beside the track in Turn 3, was added last fall.

Martinsville Speedway has historically been known for its natural elements around the track. Boxwood bushes were planted in Turns 1 and 2 near the fence line in the years before the COVID-19 pandemic.

Azaleas seen around the track more than a decade ago are not expected to be replanted, because, “They would not be in bloom on the track’s race dates,” Gambill’s email read.

Gambill said in a phone call on Thursday that the grassy area will not be completed before the start of the ValleyStar Credit Union 300 on September 24 but will be completed in advance of the fall NASCAR race weekend.

Victory for Johnson

In this 2008 photo, race fans filled the seats at Martinsville Speedway for a NASCAR Cup Series race.

The Martinsville Speedway fall NASCAR race weekend will begin with the Virginia Is For Racing Lovers 200 as part of the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour, on October 27. The NASCAR Xfinity Series Dead On Tools 250 will take place on October 29 at 3 p.m., and the NASCAR Cup Series Xfinity 500 will race on October 30 at 2 p.m.

Cara Cooper is a sports writer for the Martinsville Bulletin. She can be reached at cara.cooper@martinsvillebulletin.com

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