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A Look at H. Clay Earles, the Founder of Martinsville Speedway

Never in his wildest dreams did Axton, Virginia's H. Clay Earles imagine his racetrack would be such a large part of NASCAR history.Born in 1913, Earles founded Martinsville Speedway in 1947 after first noticing the crowds at local racing events. At the time, he had already had a stint as the owner of a pool hall that went bust as well as a drive-in owner and a couple of gas stations as well.For the first race, Earles teamed with Bill France in promoting the event. Fans were told that the event was going to be dust-free because of the oil and other materials spread onto the track. Over 6,000 fans showed up dressed in their Sunday best, even though there were only 750 seats at the facility. As it turned out, the event was a dusty affair...

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