Campbell Keeps Martinsville Speedway Moving Ahead
Martinsville Speedway has been a work in progress for over 65 years and Clay Campbell wants to make sure that work is never finished.
Campbell is president of Martinsville Speedway, the historic Virginia race track founded by his grandfather H. Clay Earles over 65 years ago.
When International Speedway Corporation purchased Martinsville Speedway from Campbell’s family in 2004, he never thought about leaving the helm of the track.
“As my grandfather used to say, ‘Martinsville Speedway is a work in progress.’ Even though ownership changed, I want to make sure that work continues the way my grandfather wanted it to,” said Campbell. “We’ve achieved a lot here at Martinsville Speedway, but we can achieve much more.”
Campbell certainly knows everything essential to operating the speedway. He started working there as a young boy by picking up trash, cutting grass with a swing blade and anything else that needed to be done.
But he also knows the promoting side of operating the track after following his grandfather from racetrack to racetrack, passing out driver's trophies in victory lane and driving Miss Virginias around the track in pre-race ceremonies at an age so young he could hardly see over the steering wheel.
He has known the sport’s early drivers like David Pearson, Fred Lorenzen and Wendell Scott as well as the current crop of Sprint Cup drivers. He has been part of racing from the 1960s until today. That one factor helps keep things in perspective for Campbell.
"Racing has not always been the great success that it is today. I know we have to work hard to make fans’ visits here the best experience possible," Campbell said. "If we create a great memory they will keep coming back."
Campbell began working for his grandfather full-time after graduating from Drewry Mason High School in 1978. His start came in the maintenance department.
"I liked what I did in maintenance. I learned the value of hard work. Believe me, there are a lot of days I'd rather be working outside than in here."
Campbell later worked with concessions and souvenirs and then become vice president and assistant general manager before being named president in 1988.
Racing is not just a business for Campbell, it's also his pastime. He raced go-karts for about six years and later moved up to full-bodied race cars.
"I've driven just about anything with a steering wheel," Campbell said.
Besides piloting race cars, Campbell also pilots airplanes. He is an instrument and multi-engine rated pilot.
Campbell also has plenty of things to keep him busy outside of work. He is currently a member of the Blue Ridge Airport Authority Board of Directors, a member of the Memorial Hospital of Martinsville and Henry County board of directors, a member of the W.E. Seklton 4-H Conference Center board of directors and a member of the National Stock Car Racing Commission.
He also is a past member of the Virginia Economic Development Partnership board of directors, a past president of the Chamber of Commerce of Martinsville-Henry County, past president of the Martinsville YMCA board of directors and served on the Patrick Henry Community College Foundation board of directors.
Campbell and family live in Henry County about 10 minutes from the track. Just like Earles, after his family, the speedway is his life.
"I grew up here, have done about every job we have and I learned this business from granddaddy," he said. "Because I love this place I want to keep it successful. As long as we continue to make it as comfortable as possible for fans and work hard, I know we will succeed.
Martinsville Speedway's Administration Team
Clay Campbell - President
Karen Parker - Vice President of Marketing
Ginger Agee - Executive Assistant to President
Matt Brannock - Vice President, Operations
Barbara France - Staff Accountant
Billy Moore - Track Superintendent
Ashley Oakes - Manager, Group Sales
Tracie Slack - Director, Ticket Operations
Brooks Taylor - Director, Public Relations
Gordon Wilson - Director of Facility Operations
Heather Motley - Manager, Ticketing Services
Blake Collins - Manager, Communications
Brittiany Freeland - Ticket Agent
Russ Fulcher - Director of Accounting
J.J. Roper - Director, Sales