The half-mile Martinsville Speedway is little in comparison to some of NASCAR’s superspeedways, but it’s big in the hearts of many racers and fans.
That’s especially true for those from the southern part of Virginia, where the venerable track is located.
It’s the home track for the Wood Brothers, from nearby Stuart, Va., and it’s also the home track for the Burton family from South Boston, Va., which is about an hour’s drive east.
Harrison Burton, the driver of the No. 21 Motorcraft/Quick Lane Mustang fielded by the Wood Brothers, grew up in the suburbs of Charlotte, but his mom and dad, plus numerous other relatives are from South Boston.
For the Woods and the Burtons Martinsville Speedway has produced many a memorable moment.
Glenn Wood, the late founder of the Wood Brothers Racing Team, made his Cup Series debut at Martinsville and scored four poles and three top-three finishes in just 14 starts. While a Cup win eluded him there, he scored a big win in a Modified race there in 1960.
His grandson Jon Wood, now a co-owner of the No. 21 team, won a truck series race there in 2003.
Harrison Burton’s dad Jeff made his NASCAR debut at Martinsville in the series now known as Xfinity in 1988 and scored his first series win there two years later. Jeff Burton also won a Cup Series race there in 1997. Ward Burton, Harrison’s uncle, won an Xfinity race there in 1993.
In 2020, Harrison Burton carried on the family’s Martinsville legacy with a win in the Xfinity Series.
In that race, he led a race-high 81 laps including the final 53 in a row to get his fourth win of the season.
“What stands out the most from that afternoon is just how fun it was to have my family there to see it,” he said.
So it’s no surprise that he’s looking forward to making his first Martinsville appearance in a Cup car this Saturday night in the Blue-Emu 400.
“I’m excited for Martinsville,” Burton said. “In the past it’s been a great track to me and my family.
“I feel confident going there, so I’m excited to get to work.”
Practice for the Blue-Emu 400 is set for Friday at 4:30 p.m. Eastern Time followed at 5:05 by qualifying.
The 400-lap race is set to start just after 7:30 p.m. on Saturday with TV coverage on FOX Sports 1.
Stage breaks are planned for Laps 80 and 180.