Martinsville Speedway hauler parade dedicated to health care workers

Published: Apr. 7, 2021 at 4:05 AM EDT
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MARTINSVILLE, Va. (WDBJ) - Race week is underway in Martinsville as the fans are starting to come into the city. But first, the speedway wanted to show love to health care workers just like they did last year.

In both 2020 and 2021, Martinsville Speedway took the tradition of their hauler parade and dedicated it to health care workers at SOVAH Health Martinsville.

“Our drivers go out there every week and risk their life but these people do it every day and due to their commitment to their patients, the community and citizens, we are going to get through this pandemic,” Clay Campbell, speedway president, said.

From the police escort to the official NASCAR haulers, this year’s parade looked the same, but to everyone there, something felt different.

“Everybody has a little more pep in their step and they can see the end is in site,” Campbell said.

“Last year feels like it’s so far away from where we are today,” SOVAH Health Martinsville Interm CEO Torrie Sheppard said.

Last year’s parade was during a much darker time. However, the atmosphere of Tuesday’s event represents how their front line workers are feeling.

“Just as it is brighter outside, it’s starting to feel the same way inside, we are starting to feel a wave of change,” Sheppard said.

That’s due to the progress that’s been made over the last few months as the hospital is only averaging three COVID patients a day.

“It was a really big sign for us when we were able to have an empty COVID unit and shut it down,” Sheppard said.

And that feeling at the hospital is similar to the feelings at the track, as fans are set to be in the stands Saturday night.

One-hundred health care workers scored tickets to Saturday night’s sold-out race. Only 30% capacity will be allowed at this weekend’s race.

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