MOORESVILLE, N.C. — The Race for Hope 74, organized by NASCAR Hall of Famer Mark Martin, will be televised on Thursday night’s edition of Suzuki presents SPEED SPORT on MAVTV.
The second running of the event for IMCA modifieds, which was run at Batesville (Ark.) Motor Speedway in September, will be shown Thursday evening at 7 p.m. and 10 p.m. ET.
Martin, a native of Batesville, Ark., and winner of 96 races in NASCAR’s national divisions, created the event in conjunction with Batesville Motor Speedway owner Mooney Starr. The idea was to create an annual event for grassroots racers.
“Mooney Starr, who owns the race track, actually works at our car dealerships and is a good friend of mine. We were just talking about creating an event that would be something really, really cool that could go on forever beyond us,” Martin explained. “We wanted to create an event that we could, hopefully, attract 200 cars and put something together that would really be strong, sort of a nationwide big event similar to what the Snowball Derby is for asphalt late model racing.”
The Race for Hope 74 is named in honor of the Mark and Arlene Martin Hope for Arkansas Foundation, which focuses on advocacy for children, homelessness, hunger and basic needs. A portion of the money for every ticket sold for the event was donated to the foundation.
“This year we put everything that we earned toward the Children’s Advocacy Center of Independence County, which just opened,” Martin said. “That’s something that was very important to Arlene (Martin’s wife) and I, the child advocacy center and abused children. We feel like it’s sort of a win-win for everybody. For the kids, for our foundation and for the local community of Batesville.”
While Martin is excited to see the Race for Hope 74 on Suzuki presents SPEED SPORT on MAVTV, he admitted he is more excited for the racers who will appear in front of a national audience.
“I’m excited for the racers. That was a big goal of mine when we started putting this race together, was to get them recognition that they might not normally get,” Martin said. “I know how important it is because I was one of them at one time. So I’m really excited to be able to put this all together with SPEED SPORT and MAVTV and be able to get them (the racers) on a bigger stage.”