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Canadian TV crew visits area
Kevin Cullen (left) of The Motorhead Traveler television show talks with NASCAR Camping World Truck Series driver Timothy Peters at Martinsville Speedway. The TV crew spent more than a day in Martinsville and Henry County filming the area for a 30-minute program on Virginia Motorsports to be aired on international channels in September. (Contributed photo)
Tuesday, August 14, 2012
People from around the world will see Martinsville, Henry County and the surrounding region on international television thanks to a visit from The Motorhead Traveler show.
The Martinsville-Henry County Economic Development Corp.’s Tourism and Film Division worked with the Virginia Film Office to bring the Canadian company Water Productions to the area to film a 30-minute program on Virginia motorsports.
In addition to shorter stops in Roanoke, Virginia International Raceway (VIR) and Smith Mountain Lake, the crew spent a day and a half touring Henry County and Martinsville.
The Motorhead Traveler is an HD TV series about going on the ultimate motorsports adventures. The program, hosted by Kevin Cullen, combines motorsports adventures with art, history, local points of interest and outdoor cooking.
The program will air six times in mid-September in the United States on MavTV, on channels in Canada, Russia and Italy, and around the globe on High TV 3D, an international 3D HD network.
According to the Virginia Film Office, USA-MavTV, which is owned by Lucas Oil, is available in more than 40 million households. The total value of the six programs is estimated at more than $51,900 worth of earned media coverage for this region.
While in Henry County and Martinsville, the crew filmed four key activities: a tour at Arrington Performance, a stained glass workshop at Studio 107, tours at Martinsville Speedway and lunch at Clarence’s Steak & Seafood.
At Arrington Performance, home of the Internet parts store ShopHEMI.com, Cullen and his cameraman Kyle Francis toured the facility led by Chris Gardner, director of aftermarket, and Danny Glad, director of research and development. They saw the steps involved in building engine components from blocks of raw metal through to the installation of components into custom vehicles.
Each episode of The Motorhead Traveler features a segment in which the show’s host creates a project with a local artist. In June and July of this year, nearly half a dozen artists from around the community competed for the opportunity to lead that activity for the program.
Lynn Berry of The Glassy Chix at Studio 107 was selected to appear on the show.
Berry taught Doss and Cullen to create a stained glass pyramid made of recycled glass from historic area churches. Inside the pyramid, a fairy stone was suspended from the center, and in the bottom, they placed an assortment of tumbled river rocks from the Smith River, loose fairy stones and garnets, which all represent the unique geological features of this part of Virginia.
During their visit to Martinsville Speedway, Cullen met Camping World Truck Series driver Timothy Peters. Cullen rode with Peters and received a short-track driving lesson from him.
“For them to come here and see what I do on the weekend during race conditions so far has been pretty cool,” Peters said. “I know that they have been all over the world filming various styles of motorsports, and I hope that they are leaving here with a new respect for NASCAR.”
The crew also toured the speedway, led by Mike Smith, director of public relations. They toured the Press Box and the new Club 47 as well as the infield media center and garages.
“Hosting The Motorhead Traveler is a real plus for us,” said Clay Campbell, the speedway’s president. “We have lots of fans that make the trip every year from Canada for our events. This video segment for The Motorhead Traveler is a great way for us to reach all of those fans and hopefully many more that will become fans of Martinsville Speedway.”
To complete the Martinsville Speedway experience, Cullen was introduced to another local legend — the Famous Martinsville Speedway Hot Dog.
At Clarence’s Steak & Seafood, they dined with Peters in front of the Martinsville Speedway grandfather clock won by driver Philip Morris.
Also, the crew stayed overnight at The Comfort Inn and dined at Third Bay Café and Wild Magnolia.
“Our whole trip to Virginia has been an eye-opener to me,” Cullen said. “Virginia is one of those places I always knew existed. I watched, of course as a big NASCAR fan, many races at Martinsville Speedway, but I had never been there before and I don’t know why. After being here in this community for such a short time, we’ve already been able to see some amazing things, and Martinsville is simply a place I want to come back to.”
According to Jennifer Doss, director of tourism with the EDC, “A key goal of this project for both the Virginia Film Office and Martinsville-Henry County EDC’s Tourism and Film Division was to showcase area amenities to Canadian audiences in an effort to boost ticket sales for the upcoming TUMS Fast Relief 500 at Martinsville Speedway while also showcasing activities that visitors can enjoy during race week or any other time that they choose to visit our area.”