MARTINSVILLE — Martinsville Speedway will be lighting up Mother’s Day weekend next spring — and not just for the Cup race.
Track officials announced Tuesday that the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour will return to Martinsville for the first time in nine years, completing the speedway’s 2020 NASCAR schedule with a night race on Friday, May 8.
The MaxPro Window Films 200 will be run one day before Martinsville stages the first Cup race in track history to begin under the lights.
“We’re really thrilled to have those guys back,” Martinsville Speedway president Clay Campbell said. “Everybody asks us all the time, ‘when are you bringing the modifieds back,’ or ‘when are you running under the lights,’ or ‘when are you going to get a better date?’
“One move took care of all three issues, and we’re really excited about it.”
Modifieds raced at Martinsville every year from 1960-2002 but haven’t visited the speedway since 2010. The Trucks, Xfinity and Cup series will all visit Martinsville in October 2020, so the track was looking to spice up its spring slate.
“I think timing is everything,” Campbell said. “With the changing up of our schedule for 2020 with the tripleheader in the fall…we needed to do something different in the spring. It’s not that we haven’t wanted the modifieds back. Timing makes all the difference in the world. This made perfect sense.”
Modified cars are faster than any others that race on this speedway. The track’s qualifying record for all divisions was set by a modified car in 1986 at 101.014 mph.
“If you haven’t seen it before, you’re in for a treat,” Campbell said of modified racing.
Virginian Ray Hendrick owns the track record with 13 modified wins at Martinsville. NASCAR Hall of Famer Richie Evans is second with 10 victories.
“Both Martinsville Speedway and the modified tour are cornerstones on which the sport is built, with both being founded in 1947,” said Tommy Baldwin, NASCAR’s managing director for touring series. “The competitors have been asking. The fans have been asking. It just all seemed to marry up at the perfect time.”
Campbell said he’s the looking for the modifieds and Martinsville to start another lengthy partnership like the one that began during the Eisenhower administration.
“That’s my hope,” Campbell said. “Because once we bring them back, I think the crowd you’re going to see here on a Friday night next year is going to be unbelievable. I firmly believe that.
“The Cup guys love watching them. Usually on a Cup weekend, after their deal is over on Friday or Saturday, they go back to the motor home or do whatever. You’ll see most of those guys watching these, because they’re unreal.
“I think this is not a one-shot deal. This is not a one-off. We plan on a long-term relationship with the Whelen Modified Tour.”