NASCAR Honors Martinsville Speedway

Martinsville Speedway and Darnell Communications were honored by NASCAR Friday with the first-ever “Fan Recognition Award" for making the fans the grand marshal and honorary starter for last fall’s TUMS Fast Relief 500.

It was the first time in the history of NASCAR Sprint Cup racing that the fans had been given the duties of grand marshal and honorary starter. To make sure it was an authentic experience, every fan was given a replica green flag to signal the start of the race. And when the race began, the grandstands were a sea of green.

“It was a moving moment for me to see all of those green flags waving. I’ve been around this sport all my life and I don’t think I’ve ever seen anything quite like it before," said Martinsville Speedway President W. Clay Campbell.

“We’ve always said that fans come first at Martinsville Speedway and this was just a way we could take that another step. We are honored to be recognized by NASCAR, but this award is for the fans. They are the ones who keep this sport rolling."

Darnell Communications, which provides public relations and media strategies and services in motorsports for the TUMS brand, produced the concept to feature the fans and TUMS management quickly gave approval.

"TUMS felt strongly about making the race fan the centerpiece of the 2009 TUMS Fast Relief 500 at Martinsville Speedway." said Darren Singer, Vice President of Marketing for TUMS. "Our team believes that the deep loyalty that fans feel toward our sport is something to be celebrated, and we knew that an iconic American brand like TUMS was the perfect sponsor to send this message of appreciation. From the overwhelmingly positive response we received from NASCAR, the drivers and their race teams, plus strong support from the motorsports press, it is clear we were right in honoring every fan as Official Starter and Grand Marshal for the 2009 TUMS Fast Relief 500 at Martinsville Speedway.

“To win the NASCAR Fan Recognition Award during the 2010 NASCAR PR Summit is a great honor for TUMS and Martinsville Speedway, since it is a tangible result of TUMS and Martinsville's commitment to making the fans' experience great."

Darnell Communications, the staff of Martinsville Speedway and TUMS officials spent almost a year working on the fan initiative. The final result was so popular it will be repeated at the TUMS Fast Relief 500 at Martinsville Speedway on October 24.

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