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Man drives to speedway from North Pole, Alaska
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Don Hansen drove his camper from North Pole, Alaska to the Martinsville Speedway. The trip is about 4,200 miles each way. (Contributed photo)

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Martinsville Speedway may be a short track, but fans travel long distances to catch Sunday’s TUMS Fast Relief 500.

For example, Don Hansen will have to drive more than 4,200 miles back to North Pole, Alaska, when he leaves Martinsville. Jeanne Snow will have a mere 700-mile drive back to Guelph, Ontario, Canada.

Hansen and Snow are just two of the hundreds of race fans who have begun filling Martinsville Speedway’s campground for this weekend’s racing action.

Hansen’s interest in NASCAR began after attending his first race in 1963. In 2012, Hansen has traveled from his North Pole home to nearly a dozen races each year, and the TUMS Fast Relief 500 at Martinsville Speedway has been on his schedule for the last five years.

There are only two tracks he has yet to see a NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race at — Homestead-Miami Speedway and Sonoma, Calif.

“I like the short tracks; there is more action,” Hansen said. “The RVers here will do anything for you, and the staff is incredibly polite.”

Snow also expressed her appreciation for the friendly surroundings of Martinsville Speedway. It is one of the many reasons she makes the TUMS Fast Relief 500 one of the 10 or so races she attends each year.

She started attending NASCAR Sprint Cup Series races in 2002 to see what it was all about. She began staying in hotels before she started tent camping. She quickly upgraded to a small one-person RV she tows with her bright red Toyota Matrix that she has parked at Martinsville Speedway for the last five or six years.

“I like it (Martinsville Speedway),” Snow said. “I will always come back to Martinsville.”

Snow started this season with her “once in a lifetime” trip to the Daytona 500 and has made stops at several other tracks, including Dover, Talladega, Charlotte and Darlington.

When asked for advice for fans coming to the Martinsville Speedway fans for the TUMS Fast Relief 500 and Kroger 200 this weekend, Hansen said “Bring your appetite. Their hot dogs are pretty good and you’ll love the racing.”


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