Martinsville, VA - Watching a NASCAR race is a lot like watching racing billboards with all the ads on the cars. But some want you to look more closely at the ads along the walls of the track. A lot of work went into them.
We may not realize it, but those ads actually take hours to make. And this year, with Martinsville's new sponsor, there are nearly 100 of them to put up around the track.
"I consider this artwork. It's a little bit different form than what artists do but the perfectionism and the pride we take in everything we do would qualify us as artists," said Keith Grubbs, track services manager for JKS Motor Sports.
For more than four decades, Grubbs and his team have taken a paintbrush to the walls of tracks up and down the east coast. They paint by hand each and every one of these advertisements.
"It's a lot of fun. You never feel like you are going to work. Every day is a different day, every track is a different track, every job is a different job but it never feels like work," said Grubbs.
Each sign takes an average of three to four hours.
"They are brightened up, shined up and we don't miss a one," said Grubbs.
First they start with a really big stencil.
"It's like going back to kindergarten days, connect the dots," said Grubbs.
Then sign by sign, layer by layer they paint to perfection.
In fact, it takes two experts 250 hours to paint all of these signs. So, why not just use vinyl? Well, it all comes back to safety.
"When it gets hit, it just scrapes it up. When it is vinyl on the wall and it gets scraped, it peels up and becomes a safety issue," said Grubbs.
All this work can be destroyed in a matter of seconds on race day. But that's okay for Grubbs.
"The drivers that get into the walls actually create job security for us because if they didn't hit the walls, we wouldn't get to come back," said Grubbs.
Grubbs says the really tough part comes on Saturday night. That's because any scrapes made during the truck race has to be fixed up before Sunday. Grubbs also said he wants to see Jimmie Johnson hitting that artwork.