Martinsville Speedway lights set the tone on Sunday night
As planned, the race at Martinsville Speedway finished under the lights. That was the first time lights have been used for a Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series event at ‘The Paperclip’.
They were fantastic! And did you notice the lack of shadow’s? That’s because those lights are different than the lights used at other tracks. Being late to the lighting game means you also get the latest, upgraded lighting technology.
Instead of the typical halogen lighting, Martinsville Speedway features LED lighting. It’s a matter of “doing so much more with less,” track president Clay Campbell stated last year. Since then, the track installed approximately 750 new lights, which were put to use on Sunday night.
“I wish they would’ve gotten into each other, one more time. Then, I’d have come in and finished the last one off. It’s just product of that situation. Those guys are racin’ for a lot. A lot on the line. You know, on a green-white-checkered, at a place like this, all hell’s gunna break loose.”
Why we don’t race here at night, is beyond me.
“The only thing I can say is, ‘Why we don’t race here at night, is beyond me.’ We should definitely utilize those lights for something other than a green-white-checkered.”
“It’s pretty damn cool under the lights,” Clint Bowyer continues.
“Is that because when the lights come on, everybody loses their mind?,” Martin Truex Jr jumps in on the topic.
“Well, that’s pretty much standard practice for green-white-checkered’s here,” Clint Bowyer responds.
“Night racing brings a certain energy. A certain, aggressive energy. The intensity seems to be different at night races and I can’t really figure out what that is,” Dale Earnhardt Jr mirror’s the night racing statements.
I don’t really like night races at the mile and a half’s though. Because they’re already boring in the daytime.
-Dale Earnhardt Jr
“I don’t really like night races at the mile and a half’s though. Because they’re already boring in the daytime. At night, the tracks get so much grip and speed, the tracks get even more boring,” Dale Jr concludes.
Originally, the lights were simply installed as a safety measure. In 2015, following several red flags and the Joey Logano/Matt Kenseth incident, the race nearly ran into darkness. At the time, Martinsville wasn’t prepared after all, the 70 year old facility never needed lights in the past.
Related: Matt Kenseth vs Joey Logano (Video)
Why did Martinsville suddenly have a need to use the lights on Sunday? This was a test weekend. The race weekend at Martinsville Speedway featured a condensed two day schedule. It’s something NASCAR is considering for the future.
Instead of qualifying the day before, teams qualified just hours before the start of the race. That pushed back the drop of the green flag. Subsequently, the finish was pushed back into darkness.
The timing couldn’t have been more perfect. Not soon after the lights came on, the race was coming to an end and the intensity was picking up. Kyle Busch got into Joey Logano. Hamlin dumped Chase Elliott and we had a thrilling finish. To cap it all off, we had a huge crash resulting in a parking lot passed the finish line.
This is what put the sport on the map
“Martinsville is short track racing. This is what put the sport on the map, is racing like that,” Clint Bowyer stated from Martinsville Speedway.
“It’s been awhile since we’ve seen that. It’s a breath of fresh air to get back to a short track where it can breed some of that and put on a show for the fans,” Clint Bowyer concluded.
That’s why I came to NASCAR 20 years ago
“On Sunday night, you got back to the traditional roots of NASCAR racing. In a Southern state, packed crowd, under the lights. And you got a great race. That’s why I came to NASCAR 20 years ago,” Brian Pattie