Family History Has Reedy and Sweeney Wanting a Martinsville Win

The ValleyStar Credit Union 300 is a family tradition.

When the green flag drops for Sunday’s ValleyStar Credit Union 300 at Martinsville Speedway, drivers will have many reasons for wanting to win.

For some, it’s the money. The race pays $25,000 for first place.

For others it’s a grandfather clock.

However, for Jamie Sweeney and Bryan Reedy, it’s more about family.

Both drivers grew up in racing families. Sweeney, from Floyd, Va., is the son of Barry Sweeney and nephew of Bruce Sweeney. The pair built Late Model Stock Cars for some of the best drivers the sport has known.

“From the time I was around my dad, I’ve been at Martinsville watching the old-timers and great drivers. I sat in the seat of my dad’s car,” Sweeney said. “I’ve seen the likes of Dave Marcis and Harry Gant. I’ve seen Tim Richmond.

“I’ve always wanted to be that person I’ve felt could make it at Martinsville, like them.”

Reedy is a third-generation driver from Roanoke. His father Tink and grandfather Orville, we’re no strangers to Martinsville Speedway, as both made starts on the famous half-mile.

“They loved it,” Reedy said. “It’s a track that we haven’t had a whole lot of success at, but we’ve had some success here.”

Reedy saw his father take home a grandfather clock after winning a track championship at another track one year. He wants to add one to the family collection, but he wants his to come from a Martinsville win.

However, in order to get the clock, he first has to make the race. Both drivers said that is a victory in itself.

“For me, making Martinsville is the goal,” Reedy said. “You make the race and beyond that everything is gravy.”

“That’s the first step. If you make the race, that’s a huge accomplishment,” Sweeney said. “Take, for example, last year’s heat races. I saw 15 of the best cars go home on wreckers after the first lap.

“It’s that kind of excitement. At the end of the day, it’s a relief when you make the show.”

Sweeney also said the winner will also find a new level of respect in garages across the country.

“If you can come out of there and get lucky enough and blessed enough that you can get a win, it will take you from a nobody to a somebody,” he said. “When you pull into any short-track on the east coast, they know who you are. It’s always, ‘that’s last year’s Martinsville winner’.”

And while both drivers will be going against a field that has national champions, track champions and drivers who have gone on to race at some of NASCAR’s highest levels, there is one thing that helps level the playing field.

“It’s a track that everybody only gets to race there one-time a year,” Reedy said. “It’s kind of like Eldora. We don’t get to race here all the time, so that’s what makes it fun.”

The ValleyStar Credit Union 300 is NASCAR’s biggest, richest and most prestigious Late Model Stock Car race.

Race day will start at noon with three 25 lap heat races and one “last chance” heat to set the field, followed by the 200 lap feature, with a break at lap 150 and a “blind draw” invert.

Last year 2015 NASCAR Whelen All-American Series National Champion Lee Pulliam took the lead in the closing laps and held on for his second Martinsville win.

Tickets to Sunday’s race are on sale now and can be purchased by calling 877.RACE.TIX or online at
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