Reproduced in part with permission from Jeanni Brosius, AY magazine

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When legendary NASCAR driver Mark Martin retired in 2014, he came back to his hometown of Batesville, with a desire to help others in his community, especially children. There seemed no better way to raise funds to support his efforts than to host a national racing competition at the track where Martin launched his career.
The second annual Race for Hope 74 is scheduled for September 25-29 at the Batesville Motor Speedway in Locust Grove. Martin says the race is expected to draw up to 200 International Motor Contest Association (IMCA)-Modified cars from 30 states and have a purse worth more than $200,000.
“I raced my first race in 1974 at that race track, and owner Mooney Starr and I had a desire to have another nationally recognized event for dirt track racers because that’s where I started,” says Martin. “It is good for grassroots racers from all over the country, and we are combining it with fundraising for the Mark and Arlene Martin Hope for Arkansas Foundation.”
Time trials and qualifying begins Tuesday with free admission in the grand stands. Racing action will begin on Wednesday and run through Saturday. Martin will be present throughout each night.
“Fans don’t have to wait until Saturday night to see a great race,” says Martin. “They’ll see some awesome racing each night with hundreds of cars trying to cut it down to the fastest 30… I will be a very strong presence every night at the race track.”
If you’re not able to attend, there’s live coverage of each night of the race via pay-per-view on“I’m a proud Arkansan doing this from my hometown for my home race track,” says Martin. “I put my whole heart into this, making it a tremendous event for fans and competitors. It has been a big part of my life every single day, and I want to make it better and build it bigger … We start three wide, 30 cars, 10 rows.”
Martin said he hopes to build this race up over the next 20 years to give the fans an amazing race experience. “We have some great Arkansas partners that have come on board this year to help get the word out.”
At the Race for Hope 74 feature event on Saturday, drivers compete for $20,000 to win, $10,000 for seventh, and $2,000 to start.
For more information on the race, go to or visit Batesville Motor Speedway’s website at
The Foundation
The Mark and Arlene Martin Hope for Arkansas Foundation focuses on advocacy for children, homelessness, hunger and basic needs.
“My wife, Arlene, and I wanted to start a foundation to help the less fortunate in Arkansas with a special emphasis on Independence County, largely targeting children,” says Martin.
One of the largest contributions the foundation is making is to help open a chapter of a Children’s Advocacy Center based in Batesville that helps abused children in a five-county area. It will be the 17th center in Arkansas. A portion of the Race For Hope 74 ticket sales will benefit Martin’s foundation and the Center.
To see what the foundation is all about, visit
Child Advocacy
The Children’s Advocacy Centers of Arkansas initially began in 1999 with three centers. The purpose is to assist and support the state’s local children’s advocacy centers (CACs) and communities through the development, continuation and enhancement of the CAC model. It also serves as a link to regional and national support agencies dedicated to a coordinated and comprehensive response to child abuse. The local centers provide a safe place for neglected and abused children to talk with trained professionals.
The new Child Advocacy Center of Independence County will be located at 510 E. Boswell and is scheduled to open its doors in October and serve children from Independence, Sharp, Fulton, Stone and Izard counties.
“We’ve learned what a tremendous need there is,” says Martin. “When a child goes through something like that, therapy makes a difference in their adult life… It’s really important work… Now the children have to go too far for weekly counseling, this is a gap that needs to be filled.”
To learn more about the Children’s Advocacy Centers, visit