By Mike Smith Wednesday, September 12 2012 00:00
Before a large and loud Martinsville High School student body during a pep rally in his honor, Biffle became an “official” Bulldog and was presented with a Martinsville High School football jersey adorned by his car number. He listened as officials from the City of Martinsville and Henry County proclaimed Tuesday “Greg Biffle Day” in the two communities. And he was surprised when it was announced a scholarship had been established in his name to be awarded to a student at the end of the school year.
“It was fun for me to come out and see the 16 on the scoreboard and the cheer the cheerleaders had been working on and all the people in the stands,” said Biffle, who is one of the 12 NASCAR Sprint Cup drivers gunning for the Chase for the Sprint Cup Championship over the next 10 races. He was in town to help kick of the promotion for the Chase for the Sprint Cup and the TUMS Fast Relief 500 at Martinsville Speedway on October 28.
“It was a lot of fun and it was a satisfying feeling to go back and see the excitement and get to talk to the students. It was different from things we usually do and we really enjoyed it.
Biffle made a grand entrance, landing in a helicopter on the 50-yard line of Martinsville High School’s football field. Then, along with the Martinsville Bulldog mascot, he rode around the track in the back of a Ford pickup truck to the front of the stadium stands, packed with screaming students waving signs and banners. He left the truck and entered the stage through a line of Martinsville cheerleaders, performing a special “Biffle” cheer.
Once on stage he was welcomed by Martinsville Speedway President Clay Campbell and then the awards began. Henry County Administrator Tim Hall read a proclamation declaring it Greg Biffle Day in the county, followed by a similar proclamation from Martinsville Mayor Kim Adkins.
Martinsville High School principal Aji Dixon declared Biffle an “official Bulldog” and football co-captains Darius Simmington and Chris France presented him with a Bulldog jersey emblazoned with the No. 16 to match his car. Bulldog officials had to bring the number out of retirement for the occasion. The last time it has been worn was back in the 1980s by quarterback Shawn Moore, who went to be an All-American quarterback at the University of Virginia.
Biffle vowed “I will be wearing this jersey at Martinsville race weekend.”
Martinsville School system superintendent Pam Heath surprised Biffle by announcing a scholarship to be awarded in his name. When Biffle learned Campbell had donated $500 to the scholarship fund, he immediately matched that amount.
Biffle also spent a little time later in the day talking racing, and more particularly racing at Martinsville Speedway.
He admitted his record on the half-mile oval hadn’t been the best.
“This is a fun race track for me, but it’s a challenge. I love challenges and this happens to be one of the most challenging tracks for us.”
He also acknowledged it could get a bit rough in the tight Martinsville turns.
“It’s kind of funny, when we (the drivers) all show up here we basically apologize to each other before hand. We say ‘I know this is not going to go well possibly.’ There’s just so much contact, such close quarters here.”
Tickets for the entire TUMS Fast Relief 500 weekend are now on sale. Tickets for the TUMS Fast Relief 500 begin at $37 and range to $79.
Tickets to the Kroger 200 NASCAR Camping World Truck Series race on October 27 are $30 in advance, with children 12 and under admitted free.
Tickets for Martinsville Speedway Pole Day, which features practice for both the Kroger 200 and the TUMS Fast Relief 500, and qualifying for the TUMS Fast Relief 500 are $15, children 12 and under admitted free.
Tickets for all events may be purchased by calling 1.877.RACE.TIX or by visiting www.martinsvillespeedway.com online.
Photo courtesy of Mike Smith
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