Martinsville Speedway president Clay Campbell took the track to turn some practice laps Thursday in preparation for Saturday's ARCA race.
Campbell has been involved in NASCAR since he worked at the Martinsville Speedway as a kid. He knows the history of the sport better than anyone else, as well as the opportunity he has to race in the ARCA race here at the Daytona International Speedway, racing's Holy Grail.
“I've been coming here since I was a kid and always have been in awe of the place,” Campbell said. “Anybody who has ever had aspirations of driving a race car, wants to drive at Daytona, so I'm pretty fortunate to get to do it. I've always loved this place and to be out there running on it is pretty special.”
Clay is piloting a Ford Fusion owned by New York native Jeff Sprakel, who also serves as Clay's crew chief. The two debuted together in the ARCA series last May at Talladega, finishing 23rd after starting 34th.
“He is an excellent race car driver,” Sprakel said. “I don't know if sometimes people really look at him that way. I've known him for a long time and been going to Martinsville since I was old enough to walk and we kind of walked in the same circles for a long time and never got to meet each other. He started to drive my K&N cars a couple years ago and it worked out really well. The good thing about Clay is he respects the sport and appreciates what it is to race at a place like Daytona.”
Mountain Dew is on board the 0-8 machine this week as primary partner, along with Ferrum College as an associate sponsor.
“I'm really excited about Ferrum and their support for this weekend,” Campbell said. “It's a great college. This is their hundredth year and we're pleased to bring that out. It's a great college just up the road from the Martinsville Speedway. I found out something last week I didn't know. That college is known for first-time college attendees from a family. That's pretty special. A lot of kids there are the only ones from their family to go to college so that's pretty good. But it's a great campus and I'm really excited to have them on the car this weekend.”
Clay only got about 10 laps of practice in before the skies opened up and the rain moved in. He was 23rd in practice but felt good about his car. The ARCA cars qualify Friday afternoon at 2 p.m.