STP 500

Race fans get a treat for enduring an early-season off week.

NASCAR makes an all-too rare appearance at a short track this coming Sunday when they roll into Southern Virginia. Courses less than a mile in length once dominated the circuit, but 1.5- and two-mile tracks overwhelmed them and track owners turned their backs on the money making potential.

Martinsville Speedway is a throwback track in many ways. The facilities have been updated since it first ran a paved race in fall 1955. That spring and six years previously, this track was dirt and it is the oldest venue on the current NASCAR schedule. While tracks like Nashville Fairgrounds and North Wilkesboro Speedway failed to keep up with improvements needed to remain viable, Martinsville has walked a delicate tightrope of staying true to its roots while giving fans the conveniences they have grown to expect.