The Martinsville Virginia Speedway has been on the NASCAR schedule since NASCAR’s early days. One of the speedway’s oldest traditions has been to award the race winner a grandfather clock since 1964. Another tradition that pre-dates the grandfather clock is the famous Martinsville Jesse Jones famous hot dog.
Track founder Henry Clay Earles began awarding a Ridgeway grandfather clock, to the winner, when they were manufactured three miles down the road from the speedway. The tradition continues to today and is one of the more coveted trophies among NASCAR race drivers.
Retired race driver, Richard Petty, leads the way with 12 grandfather clocks. Among the current active drivers is seven-time cup champion Jimmie Johnson who leads the way with eight.
The Martinsville speedway Jesse Jones famous hot dog is a favorite among fans and competitors alike. The consumption of which can lead to bragging rights by the person or persons eating the most hot dogs during a race weekend. Many race teams keep a tally of who has eaten the most hot dogs.
A couple of years ago the speedway changed to a Smithfield product and the fans reacted by demanding the return of the Jesse Jones Famous hot dog. The speedway listened and for 2018 and beyond the Jesse Jones famous hot dogs will be served. Traditionalists say the only way to fully enjoy the hot dog is with mustard, chile, slaw and onions.
The first grandfather clock was awarded by Clay Earles to Fred Lorenzen for winning the “Old Dominion 500” on September 27, 1964. The clock ended up at house of Lorenzen’s crew chief Herb Nab.. It was there until Herb Nab died and Fred Lorenzen recommended that the clock be given to Herb Nab’s close friend Ken Ragan, father of current cup driver, David Ragan. Ken said he always admired the clock and he claims that it is his prized possession.
The latest grandfather clock was awarded yesterday, April 26, 2018 to Clint Bowyer for winning the “STP 500. The race was delayed by one day because of a snow storm that struck the speedway Saturday night and early Sunday morning.