Martinsville Speedway’s first grandfather clock from 1964

Video Details

NASCAR Race Day and Ken Ragan go back in time to explore the tradition of the Martinsville grandfather clock and why it is so special.

KEN RAGAN: If you can get a win at Martinsville, that's special. It's not the Daytona 500, might not be the Brickyard, but it's special and it carries a lot of importance to all the race teams that go up there. And then when you add the clock as a unique trophy, it's history. I mean it goes back for so many years.

- The Ragans have a lot of history in motorsports and after my dad had stopped racing and my brother and myself put together a NASCAR team, we started calling on different ones to help out. And Herb Nab, he had just retired from Robert Yates racing, and was looking for something to do, so we got Herb to start helping us in the early 80s.

KEN RAGAN: I take my car from Unadilla, Georgia up to Charlotte. Herb lived right outside of Kannapolis with his wife, Dee. Herb and Dee had a small collection of trophies in their house, and the clock was in their trophy room. And I would talk to Herb about me pulling the chains on the clock and listening to it chime. And Herb would always say, well you know, I have to sleep at night, I don't want to hear the clock chiming. So you know, he would never rung the clock, but I always admired it when I was up there.

ANNOUNCER: What they're all trying to do is best done by Fred Lorenzen, as chief mechanic Herb Nab explodes with joy.

KEN RAGAN: He was telling me the story about when they won the clock in 1964.


- I hear the clock. But it was that day that Fred Lorenzen won, Herb Nab as the crew chief. And it ended up in Herb's possession after the race. Dee felt like upon Herb's passing that he would want me to have the clock.

ANNOUNCER: They build grandfather clocks here, and annually there track, the Martinsville Speedway, plays host to NASCAR's Winston Cup Grand National Gentry in the Virginia 500. The winner gets one of these clocks as a trophy, and it's become a special tradition.

KEN RAGAN: It didn't register to me that was the first clock that was given until after we had had the clock a few years my son David was going to Martinsville when he was driving for Mr. Jack Roush. And I was doing a little bit of research on the computer. I ran across it on the internet that on September 27, 1964, Clay Earles awarded the first clock. And that date kind of rang a bell.

- I called my wife at home and I said, walk over to the clock and read the date off of the plaque that's on the side of the clock. And she read, Old Dominion 500 September 27, 1964. And I said, well you know, that's kind of a neat deal. It's in immaculate shape, never loses a second. I don't have to reset the hands on it. It just keeps on ticking.