Martinsville Speedway goes pink for breast cancer awareness month

Local cancer survivors, NASCAR drivers painted part of start-finish line pink

By Colter Anstaett - Reporter

HENRY COUNTY, Va. - Paint brushes, cups of pink paint and NASCAR drivers side by side with breast cancer survivors giving the half mile of mayhem a pink paint job.

It's the Speedway and Chevrolet's way of honoring local breast cancer survivors, like Kim Gillen, during breast cancer awareness month.

"It's something new, something different and it's something we get to participate in. So I think it's an exciting day for me," Gillen said.

This year, instead of painting a portion of the speedway curbing pink, a pink stripe was painted down the middle of the start-finish line.

For Jessica Riggs, who is currently battling breast cancer, painting the speedway helps her stay positive.

"I have met so many other fellow survivors and people going through this and we just all lift each other up," Riggs said.

She's always been positive, she says, even when she was diagnosed with cancer.

"I was pretty calm about it. I knew that I was going to do whatever I had to do to beat this and fight this," said Riggs.

When the painting was done, the NASCAR drivers took the breast cancer survivors on high speed laps around the track.

"With the ladies, it's perfect, because we'll never know the battles that they've gone through but it's great to take them out for a joy ride but also show them a little bit how we battle out on the racetrack," NASCAR driver Kurt Busch said.

Martinsville Speedway President Clay Campbell said this is a day he looks forward to every year.

"Teaming up with Chevrolet and the American Cancer Society for breast cancer awareness is something we've been doing for a number of years. We're always really pleased to be a part of that and honored to be a part of it," Campbell said.

"Everybody's helping everybody, and that's what we need. We need to be together, we need to fight together, stay together," Gillen said.

According to the American Cancer Society, more than 270,000 men and women are expected to get breast cancer in 2019 and over 42,000 people are expected to die from breast cancer.

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