Why a grandfather clock is NASCAR’s best trophy, according to Dale Earnhardt Jr. – For The Win
Some NASCAR tracks are known to get a little crazy with the trophies they present the winners. Kentucky Speedway gives away jukeboxes, New Hampshire Motor Speedway does gigantic, live lobsters, but Martinsville Speedway – where NASCAR is this weekend – gives the victors one of the most prized trophies in the sport: a grandfather clock.
To many drivers, including Dale Earnhardt Jr., it’s more than just a trophy. It’s a piece of furniture that serves as a subtle reminder of your accomplishments on one of NASCAR’s toughest short tracks.
“There are some tracks that do have some specific, unique trophies that are fun, but the clock is neat, fun, original but has some history to it,” Earnhardt told For The Win ahead of Sunday’s First Data 500, while promoting Goodyear WeatherReady Tires. “There’s some prestige to owning one and winning one and having one.”
Earnhardt spent much of his career chasing his grandfather clock – a prize the .526-mile track has been giving the winners for more than 50 years. Finally, on his 30th start there in 2014, he took the checkered flag and won his first clock.
From his 26 Cup Series career wins, the grandfather clock is one of the only trophies actually in his house. He described his kitchen, living room and foyer as being open without many walls, and the clock is right there in the middle. He loves that he can see it from the couch.
“It’s such a neat trophy,” Earnhardt said. “I don’t have all my trophies in the house, only a small percentage of them actually are in the house, and that one there, sometimes you forget it’s a trophy. It becomes part of the furniture, which, to me, makes it very neat, and that’s why I think it’s so sought after.
“A lot of trophies when you look at them, you wouldn’t put them in your living room. You’re not gonna take the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles 400 (named the Tales of the Turtles 400 this season) trophy and put it in the foyer. It’s just not gonna go with the décor. But that clock, man, that thing’s sought after because the drivers know it’s something they can put in their house and be proud of.”
Brad Keselowski won the spring Martinsville race – his first at the track – and that’s exactly what he did with his grandfather clock. He said after the race, via USA TODAY Sports:
“I don’t like to keep trophies at my house, but this one is going to my house. I hope I can add a few more clocks along the way.”
Although one of a few specialty trophies dished out at NASCAR races, the grandfather clock is one of, if not the coolest. Here are a few photos of past winners celebrating with their clocks.