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Wednesday September 3, 2014

It’s the most recognizable trophy in NASCAR and Dale Earnhardt Jr. wants one. The sport’s most popular driver thinks it’s time he added a Martinsville Speedway grandfather clock to his trophy collection.


Earnhardt has run well at Martinsville, he’s finished second twice and third four times. His average finish of 12.8 is fifth among active drivers. However, it’s the zero in the win column that sticks out to him.


“I want one of them clocks,” Earnhardt said during a break in a recent test session for the Goody’s® Headache Relief Shot® 500 at the historic half-mile speedway. “No other tracks are giving away clocks. They have their niche. It’s unique to this particular event and so that makes it very special, more so than any plaque or trophy that you could win.”


In his 15th full season in NASCAR’s top series, Earnhardt said he believes time is still on his side when it comes to winning at Martinsville and taking home the grandfather clock. Driving for Rick Hendrick, whose 21 wins at Martinsville Speedway are the most by an owner in track history, certainly helps. Earnhardt’s teammates Jeff Gordon and Jimmie Johnson have combined for 16 of those 21 wins.


“I’ve been here and came close and watched a lot of other guys take them clocks home,” said Earnhardt. “I think I’ve got enough opportunities left to get it done. I’m with the team that is one of the more successful teams in this series and we’re really coming into our own.”


Earnhardt, who has won some of the Sprint Cup Series biggest races including two Daytona 500s, became very familiar with the clock from an early age. His late father, Dale Earnhardt Sr., won at Martinsville six times in his career.


“We had that clock standing at the front door at the lake house when we lived out there. I saw that thing every day going in and out of that house,” said Earnhardt. “I’d like to get one just for myself, personally.”


While his father had the grandfather clock front and center, should he ever take one home, Earnhardt isn’t sure where it would go.


“I don’t know where I’d put it, but I could clear out a spot for sure,” Earnhardt said.


While the trophy would be a nice addition to his collection, Earnhardt also understands the importance of this fall’s race. The new Chase for the Sprint Cup format puts an even bigger emphasis on winning at Martinsville Speedway. The race is the first in the Eliminator Round, meaning the winning driver has a guaranteed spot in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Championship.


“It’d be great to go ahead and get a win in the Chase,” said Earnhardt. “That would really do wonders for us.”


Tickets to the Goody’s® Headache Relief Shot® 500 on October 26, the Kroger 200 on October 25 and the Virginia Lottery Pole Day on October 24 can be purchased by calling 1.877.RACE.TIX. Tickets may also be purchased online at http://www.martinsvillespeedway.com/.



Tags: Entertainment, Henry County, Local Business, Martinsville, Martinsville Speedway, Motorsports, NASCAR, Racing, ,