NASCAR fans know about “the grandfather clock” at the Martinsville Speedway in Martinsville, Va. What most fans don’t know is that it is manufactured by Ridgeway Clocks.
“Our grandfather clocks have been the most popular and sought-after trophy by race drivers for many years,” said Paul Hoffman, general manager of Ridgeway Clocks. “We needed to correct an oversight and ensure the public knows the clocks are made by Ridgeway.”
H. Clay Earles, Martinsville Speedway founder, wanted a unique trophy for the winner of the spring and fall races at his track.
Ridgeway started supplying the clocks to the speedway in the mid-1960s. The company was acquired by the Howard Miller Corp. in 2004, and the clocks are now made in Zeeland, Mich. However, the corporate headquarters remain in Ridgeway, Va.
The first NASCAR driver to win a clock was the late Fred Lorenzen. Many winners have more than one Darrell Waltrip owns 12 and Jeff Gordon seven.
Ridgeway and the Speedway celebrated the track’s 60th anniversary at the Goody’s Cool Orange 500 race on April 1. Race winner Jimmie Johnson took home his fourth clock, this one the Independence model, a limited edition with less than 600 produced. It plays “America the Beautiful” and “God Bless America” as it chimes, and carries a suggested retail price of over $11,000.
On March 31, Goody’s Headache Powders honored racing legend Richard Petty, its longtime spokesperson, at a gala celebration, recognizing his 30-year association with the company by presenting him with an Independence clock bringing his total to 16.
Appropriately, “the race for the grandfather clock” is now known as “the race for the Ridgeway Grandfather Clock.”