Martinsville race draws fans from across the country - WSLS 10 NBC in Roanoke/Lynchburg Va

Martinsville race draws fans from across the country

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MARTINSVILLE -

From a TV star like Mario Lopez waiving the green flag, to Virginia Tech coach Frank Beamer driving the pace car, the STP Gas Boosters 500 in Martinsville offered fans a little bit of everything.

After grand marshals Mark Burnett and Roma Downey, the co-producers of the History Channel mini-series The Bible, got the drivers to start their engines the action on the track took center stage.

Fans from all over the country made the trek to Martinsville to see the action, like Mary Bailey who came from Ohio.

"We chose Martinsville four years ago and we come to every race," she said. "We come in the spring and we come in the fall. We just like the track, the area, the people."

Other race fans experienced NASCAR and the short track for the first time.

Tyler Rush and his friend Jeff made the trip from Greensboro.

"I expect a good race but I don't know," Rush said before the race. "It's my first race. On TV it's boring so I hope it's going to be a little less boring here."

Sunday also proved to be a new experience for a well known face in Southwest Virginia.

Coach Beamer is no stranger to the track and got behind the wheel for the first time.

"This is the first time I've actually driven the pace car," he said. "I started races, been in the pace car, done different things, been the grand Marshall but this is different. I was out there practicing a little bit and there's a little more to it than you'd think there is."

In the end Jimmie Johnson came away with the win, but it will still go down as a race many of the fans say they won't soon forget.

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