Martinsville president on Cup night race: ‘Earliest it would happen is in 2020’

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According to Martinsville Speedway President Clay Campbell, “There’s nobody that wants a night race here more than I do.”

But in a video posted on the track’s Twitter page in response to a fan question, Campbell said, “The earliest it would happen is in 2020.”

The .526-mile track, the oldest active facility on the NASCAR circuit, finished installing 19 LED lights in Feb. 2017. The project was a result of needing an “insurance policy” after the fall 2015 Cup race ended nearly after sunset.

The track hosted a full NASCAR Late Model race at night last September and will do so again this year.

While last year’s fall Cup race ended under the lights, Campbell said in the video finding the proper date on the schedule for a full night race is an issue, especially with the 2019 schedule already set.

“I think everybody in the business would love to see a night race here,” Campbell said. “I think NASCAR is interested in it; International Speedway Corp., our parent company, is interested. Everybody. … I guess where we’re going with that is it’s not as easy as pick a date, flip the lights on and let’s do it. There’s lot of moving pieces to it. We don’t control the pieces. So that’s the problem. The second part of that is a better date to get out of the problems we had in the spring when we got snowed on.”

The April Cup race was delayed to Monday due to snow. The Camping World Truck Series race finished Monday morning and was followed by the full Cup race.

“We would love to swap dates with somebody, but the question is who wants to give up a date and give it to us?” Campbell said. “Because most of the dates are taken. It would take something that makes sense for the other track and makes sense for us and it’s complicated.”

Campbell said the track talks to NASCAR on “a regular basis” about the possibility of a night race.

NASCAR President Brent Dewar addressed what goes into deciding when a race should be run at night in February when asked about a Martinsville night race.

“What we look at, candidly, it’s not night racing for night racing or day racing, it has to be a combination of the ambient temperatures where we’re at, the type of the track we have and the ability to have a great race,” Dewar said. “Some of the tracks will lend themselves to incredible night racing.’’

The Cup Series returns to Martinsville on Oct. 28 with the playoff race starting at 2:30 p.m. ET (NBCSN).

The track’s 2019 Cup races are scheduled for March 24 and Oct. 27.