Martinsville Speedway Grandfather Clock Stands Out Among Trophies
Monday October 22, 2018
A trophy is a permanent reminder to drivers of the races they’ve won and there is perhaps no more sought after trophy than Martinsville Speedway’s iconic grandfather clock.
First given out to Fred Lorenzen in 1964, the seven-foot-tall Ridgeway clock has become nearly as much a part of the fabric of Martinsville Speedway as the half-mile speedway itself, something current Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series Drivers validated with their words ahead of the First Data 500.
Chase Elliott laid claim to his first clock after his Camping World Truck Series win in 2017.
“I think it’s about as unique as it gets,” Elliott said. “I don’t know who came up with it, but it’s a cool idea and I know everyone who has one is appreciative of it and it means a lot to them.”
The ‘who’ in who came up with it was Martinsville Speedway founder H. Clay Earles. Earles wanted something unique that would pay homage to the furniture industry that Martinsville and Henry County are known for.
“Like many things, the clock was something my grandfather did that he never really promoted. Who knew it would become what it has today,” Speedway President and Earles’ grandson Clay Campbell said. “He was a visionary, but he did things just because it seemed like the right thing to do, and that went just as much for the competitors as it did for the fans.”
Elliott wasn’t the only driver to use the word unique when describing the trophy. Kurt Busch, who owns two grandfather clock trophies said the same.
“I would say it is a unique piece that ranks in the top-five of all trophies,” Kurt said. “It is something that every driver has on their checklist. They want to win it for their team owner, sponsors. Everybody is trying to get ahold of that clock. The two that I have are bookends in my conference room and are displayed proudly.”
Kurt’s brother Kyle has three grandfather clock trophies, two from Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series wins and one from a Camping World Truck Series win. Kyle, who has 193 wins across NASCAR’s top three series and has won at every Cup track he has raced except for the Roval, said the clock is one that stands out among the trophies he’s won.
“The clock is up there,” Kyle said. “It’s certainly pretty cool. It’s fun to have the clock, set it and have it go off in your house every day. Having a couple of Martinsville clocks is good.”
Brad Keselowski, who won at Martinsville in the spring of 2017, was very to the point when talking about his clock.
“It’s the only trophy I have in my house, which is all I can say,” Keselowski said.
Martin Truex Jr. has yet to win a clock, but it’s something the defending series champion has had on his mind when racing at Martinsville.
“The coolest trophy is definitely my championship trophy from last year. That goes without saying, but a Clock would definitely be up there,” Truex said. “I’ve been second there before and just thinking about it being like ‘I’m so close to winning that thing.’ I want one for my house.”
Ryan Blaney, who finished third at Martinsville this spring, has had to see the two clocks that his friend Bubba Wallace has won, every time he goes to his house. He wants his own, not only because it would be the coolest trophy he has, but also for bragging rights.
“I’ve wanted that clock for a long time. I’ve always admired it,” Blaney said. “Bubba has two, with truck race wins, but I think my one would top his two with a Cup win. It would definitely shoot to the top of the list of trophies I’ve won.”
Drivers will have their next shot at the grandfather clock trophy in the First Data 500 on October 28.
Tickets to the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series Playoff race are on sale now and start at $48 for adults with youth 17-and-under are $25 regardless of location.
To purchase tickets call 877.RACE.TIX or visit www.martinsvillespeedway.com.