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The Origin of the Martinsville Grandfather Clock

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What’s Happening?

This weekend, the NASCAR circus heads to Martinsville Speedway, and the winners will receive one of the most unique trophies in all of motorsports, a Grandfather Clock. It looks cool for sure, but, where did this come from? Let’s take a look at the history of the Martinsville Grandfather Clock.

  • Martinsville Speedway is one of the most historic tracks in NASCAR. It opened in 1947, and it’s the only track to host a NASCAR Cup Series race every year of the series existence.
  • Grandfather Clocks have been handed out to Martinsville winners since 1964. The tradition goes deeper than just the Cup Seris as well, with lower series receiving a clock as well.
  • Fans love the tradition of the Martinsville Grandfather Clock. It’s a part of Martinsville and NASCAR history, and it’s one of the coolest trophies in all of motorsports.

The Story of the Grandfather Clock

Martinsville Speedway had been around for 17 years by the time 1964 came around, and it was on its’ way to being a NASCAR Cup Series legacy track. The 500 laps slogs were especially grueling, and it made winning at Martinsville that much more impressive.

Track founder Clay Earles had an idea for the winners of the track’s premier race, give them a custom-made Grandfather Clock. Martinsville Speedway President Clay Earles said this about his grandfather’s idea of a Grandfather Clock according to USA Today.

[Clay Earles] figured if you give something to the driver that their wives would like, then it’s going to be in a prominent place in their home

Clay Campbell

The trophy stuck, and it has been given out to every Cup Series race winner since 1964. Fred Lorenzon was the first to take home a Grandfather Clock.

The clock was originally reserved only for Cup Series winners, but, that eventually changed. Now, all Martinsville race winners in the NASCAR Cup Series, Xfinity Series, Truck Series, late models, and modifieds. Clay Campbell said this to NASCAR.com about what went into that decision.

We got to thinking, it’s so important and so difficult to win here, we ought to give it to every race winner whether it be modified, late model, trucks, Xfinity Series, so now everybody gets it.

Clay Campbell

The Grandfather Clock has become a time-honored tradition. Drivers with Grandfather clocks include some of the greatest drivers in NASCAR history. Richard Petty (15 wins), Darrell Waltrip (11 wins), Jeff Gordon (9 wins), and Jimmie Johnson (9 wins) all highlight a prestigious list of names to win at the South-Central Virginia short track.

The clock is a signature of a major accomplishment across multiple levels of motorsports. Drivers with multiple clocks in their house are certain to be NASCAR Hall of Famers. Who will take home the clock this weekend?

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