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As the last racetrack remaining from NASCAR's original schedule in 1949, Martinsville Speedway is steeped in tradition in ways that very few other racetracks can claim to be. But as it continues to consider and adapt to the demands of modern racing, Martinsville Speedway is making a notable change to one of its two NASCAR Cup Series races.

On Thursday, Martinsville Speedway announced that its spring race, set for April 9, has been shortened to 400 laps. The speedway in small-town Virginia attributed changing the race's length to accommodating a 7:30 p.m. ET start time. The length of the track's other race, the Xfinity 500 in the fall, remains unaltered.

This will mark only the second time in Martinsville's 75-year history that the track has hosted a 400 lap race: The first and only to date came in October of 1956, when the track hosted a combination race between the NASCAR Cup Series and the sport's long-defunct Convertible Division. The race was won by Jack Smith.

Martinsville's spring race marks the first of a trio of Saturday night races on the 2022 NASCAR Cup Series schedule. With a gradual move away from night races and towards racing on Sunday afternoons, the only Saturday night races on the current Cup Series calendar are Martinsville's spring race, the Coke Zero Sugar 400 at Daytona in August, and the Bass Pro Shops NRA Night Race at Bristol Motor Speedway in September.

With a new race length now in place, Martinsville will look to have its Saturday night race go off without a hitch for the first time. The track's first Saturday night race was originally scheduled for May of 2020, but it was held on a Wednesday night in June without spectators instead due to issues pertaining to the COVID pandemic. Last year, rain forced much of the race to be postponed from Saturday night to late Sunday afternoon. The race was won by Martin Truex Jr. both times.