Martinsville, VA - There is plenty of action to see on the track at the Martinsville Speedway. But there's plenty more off of it. Many people don't realize the amount of security there.
Even before the tires hit the track and the stands fill up, security is in full swing.
"We go through the grandstands, the suite area, the parking lot, some of the parking lot we go through. We pretty much do the entire property," said Rodney Howell, Director of Public Safety, Henry County.
A team of local and federal officials works around the clock to ensure everyone's safety. Martinsville didn't always take all of these precautions.
"This was actually the first major sporting event in the United States after 9/11. That's when we started and we haven't stopped," said Howell.
"9/11 changed things for the world. 9/11 did some things that people have to adjust," said Lt. Col. Steve Eanes, Henry County Sheriff's Department.
Now, security says they're ready for anything, even threats of anthrax.
"I believe in one hour. They can determine pretty much what any chemical is within one hour," said Howell.
Every morning of race weekend, officers and canines check the premises. And every night, security watches over.
"You can't guarantee everything, somebody could always do something, but we are pretty safe," said Howell.
Officers say they have found some suspicious things over the years, but never anything criminal. And local authorities say they will already start preparing for the next race on Monday.