Martinsville Speedway will welcome distinguished dignitaries as part of pre-race ceremonies for the Draft Top 250 NASCAR Xfinity Series Playoff race on Saturday, Oct. 31 and NASCAR Hall of Fame 200 NASCAR Gander RV & Outdoors Truck Series Playoff race on Friday, Oct. 30.
Bobby Labonte has been named the Grand Marshal for the NASCAR Hall of Fame 200. Labonte is a two-time NASCAR champion winning the 2000 NASCAR Cup Series and 1991 NASCAR Xfinity Series titles. He was inducted in the 2020 class of the NASCAR Hall of Fame.
“Thinking back to January when the induction ceremony happened – the time and the experience we had – it was second to none,” said Bobby Labonte. “It’s so amazing being recognized in different ways and that’s the top of the top. It would be hard to beat being named a NASCAR Hall of Famer. I definitely cherish that. And to be honest, I can’t wait to get to Martinsville on Friday for the race and be the Grand Marshal for the NASCAR Hall of Fame 200. To be that is fun, an honor and it’s exciting. It’s been such a different year because of the pandemic, to be able to get back to the track and be able to smell and hear race cars will be exciting for me.”
At Martinsville, Labonte is a three-time race winner with a win in each of the sport’s three national series. Labonte won the spring 2002’s Virginia 500 Cup race, fall 1992 Winston Classic Xfinity Series race, and spring 2005’s Kroger 250 Gander Truck race.
“I had the opportunity to run a couple of truck races at Martinsville and then win the race in 2005. I beat Ricky Craven at the end. It was just one of those really good battles at the end. What made it exciting at the end is I was losing a cylinder with about 10 to go and it was kind of laying down on me, so it made it really hard to keep Ricky behind me. But winning the truck race there kind of put a cap on my races there because I was able to win in the Busch (1992), the Cup (2002) and the Truck Series (2005) at Martinsville. That really meant a lot to me.”
While Labonte has had success at Martinsville, he has also been challenged by the track in Late Models, which the track has annually hosted in the ValleyStar Credit Union 300, the nation’s biggest, richest and most prestigious NASCAR Late Model Stock Car race.
“I started racing there a long time ago – in the old Busch Grand National days or maybe even the Late Model Sportsman Days. We would go up there because it was close by. So, Martinsville has always been a cool place for me to either go watch or race.”
“I’ve raced Late Model stocks up there. The old Busch Grand National Series back in the Late Model Sportsman days, I ran my first race in that series in Martinsville. It’s an hour from where I live. I haven’t always had the best success up there, but I’ve always enjoyed it. I mean 500 laps at Martinsville – you think, ‘Oh my gosh, this is hard.’ So to be in all three of those series is pretty cool and a big accomplishment, so it’s definitely one of my favorites.”
David Martin, a longstanding supporter of the NASCAR Hall of Fame, has been named the Honorary Starter for the NASCAR Hall of Fame 200. The 29th Infantry Division Band, Virginia Army National Guard, will honor our nation with the playing of the National Anthem prior to the green flag for the NASCAR Hall of Fame 200.
For the Draft Top 250, Sean Kelly, Co-Inventor and Co-Founder of Draft Top, will be the Grand Marshal and Alex Caracappa, Chief Technical Officer, will be the Honorary Starter. To learn more about Draft Top, visit drafttop.com.
Nashville recording artist Josh Shilling will sing the National Anthem prior the Draft Top 250. A Martinsville, Va. native, Shilling released his new single “2020” earlier this year. To learn more about Schilling, visit joshshilling.com.
The invocation for the NASCAR Hall of Fame 200 and Draft Top 250 will be led by Nick Terry, Motor Racing Outreach chaplain.
— Martinsville Speedway —