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An Amazing Career Opportunity

David E. Rotenizer, "The King"- Richard Petty, Rosalee G. Maxwell
David E. Rotenizer
August 13, 2014


Being the first tourism director for Martinsville-Henry County was an amazing career opportunity.

I saw and experienced so much in such a brief period of time. Being able to help lead the effort to establish Virginia's newest tourism region - Southern Virginia - was important to me as it brought attention to an often overlooked area of the state.  A region with so much to offer.

 When I arrived, I knew nothing about NASCAR and that led to an incredible learning curve. Hosting luncheons in the media press box, hosting tourism officials from around the state, meeting the likes of Tony Stewart, Jeff Gordon and those other rock-star-like icons of the racing industry was amazing.

Having a hot pit pass, along with a photographers pass, afforded me rare up close access to the sport. I gained an immediate appreciation for racing and its economic impact to the region. Race weekends were long, but oh the memories. Like all things me, I had to somehow incorporate historic preservation into NASCAR. A national register nomination was prepared for the Martinsville Speedway. A historic highway marker approved and placed in front of the track [it makes me feel so good to now see fans getting their picture taken in front of the marker].

Due to the fact that clay from Georgia had been brought in to line the track in its early days created something of an archaeological perspective - layers of clay and loam. This was observed when a tunnel was dug under the track to the infield area. I loved the concept - the Archaeology of NASCAR.

 In March 2007, Goody's Headache Powders named Richard Petty the Grand Marshall for the Cool Orange 500 race at the Martinsville Speedway. To celebrate Goody's 30 years in motorsports and the 60th anniversary of the Martinsville Speedway, a VIP reception and dinner was held at the track in a large tent the night before the race.

Here I am with "The King" himself - Richard Petty - along with Rosalee G. Maxwell the director of tourism for the City of Danville. Mr. Petty literally oozed with charisma - you could not help but like the guy. He was so down to earth and would put his hand on your should while talking. Having dinner beside Richard Petty was quite the experience.

David E. Rotenizer
Extension Agent - Community & Agricultural Resource Development 
West Virginia State University, Beckley, West Virginia
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