The first year Mike Wray shot photos at Martinsville Speedway, Cale Yarborough and Richard Petty visited victory lane, the Beatles were still a band and Lyndon Johnson was in the White House.
Since those first races in 1968 the recently-retired Martinsville Bulletin photographer shot more than 340 feature races at Martinsville Speedway in about 10 different divisions. When you add in the many heat races that used to accompany the track’s double and triple-headers, that total number of races photographed is closer to 700.
Wray did more than cover races at Martinsville Speedway for the local daily paper. He shot countless other events and activities at the track every year of his more than four decades of work. He and his wife Ginny Wray, who was the Bulletin’s editor, both retired earlier this year.
For his diligent work and dedication to Martinsville Speedway, the track announced today it was naming its photo center the “Mike Wray Photo Center.” Wray and track president Clay Campbell unveiled a sign this morning on the exterior of the photo center bearing Wray’s name.
“When we found out that Mike was retiring, we knew we wanted to do something to honor him,” said Campbell. “He worked so hard for so many years making sure he got the best images possible from Martinsville Speedway. I would match his skills as a photographer to anyone out there. He was and is a consummate professional in his laid back way.
“To all of us here at Martinsville Speedway, he was way more than that for 40 years though. He is a friend to the track and to all of us here. We are very proud to be able to honor him in this way.”
The Mike Wray Photo Center is the work area for photographers covering NASCAR events at Martinsville Speedway. About 50 regional and national photographers work out of it, disseminating images around the world.
Racing returns to Martinsville Speedway this weekend. Ticket prices for the STP 500 start at $50.
Tickets to the Virginia Lottery Pole Day on Friday, the Kroger 250 Camping World Truck Series race on Saturday and the STP 500 Sprint Cup Series race on Sunday can be purchased by calling 877.RACE.TIX or online at www.martinsvillespeedway.com.