19th Annual Martinsville Speedway Christmas Toy Drive Raises $10,000 for Grace Network

The 19th Annual Martinsville Speedway Christmas Toy Drive raised more than $10,000 and 300 toys for Grace Network.

Martinsville Speedway took full advantage of unseasonably warm temperatures and sunny skies to raise more than $10,000 and more than 300 toys  for Grace Network of Martinsville and Henry County, through the 19th Annual Martinsville Speedway Christmas Toy Drive.

The money raised goes to give Christmas presents to underprivileged and underserved children in the Martinsville and Henry County area.

“Martinsville Speedway hosts the Christmas Toy Drive, but this truly is a community event,” Track President Clay Campbell said. “The people around here are really what make this possible and it’s nice knowing the people most helped are children right here in our area.”

Grace Network Executive Director Tracy Hinchcliff said there are more than 175 children who will benefit from the drive.

“When my husband and I moved here we were just in awe of how this community has been really resilient over the years and reinventing itself,” she said. “Even though things are getting a lot better there a lot of folks still hurting and trying to get from one day to the next. I am just amazed at how the community rallies around everyone that needs help.”

Campbell got in on the action himself, giving laps in a two-seater stock car to people who paid $50.

Richard Watkins, an 85-year-old from Oak Ridge, N.C., was one of the people who took a ride with Campbell. Watkins has been coming to the speedway as a fan for a long-time, but this was an opportunity he couldn’t pass up.

“I came out here to take some fast laps,” he said. “It’s also nice knowing that it’s for a good cause.”

The Blue Ridge Miata Club also came out in full-force. It’s something that has become somewhat of a tradition for the car club.

“We have a blast,” Roger Hall, the club president said. “It means a lot knowing that we can help out the kids. It means a lot to the guys to be able to come out and do a good thing.”

Grace Network of Martinsville and Henry County is a network of more than 100 area churches that help provide assistance to people in need throughout the year. For more information on how to help Grace Network visit www.gracenetworkmhc.org.

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