There is nothing else out there like it and that’s what makes it so unique, the Martinsville Speedway trophy that is. The seven-foot-tall trophy is known as the ‘Grandfather Clock’ or the Ridgeway Clock. It was presented for the first time in 1964 to NASCAR Hall of Famer Fred Lorenzen. Back then, and for many years, the trophy was manufactured just down the road from the iconic short-track. Clockmakers Howard Miller then bought Ridgeway, who were the manufacturers of the clock, and started making them in their unit in Zeeland, Michigan.
Joe Gibbs Racing’s Denny Hamlin returns to Martinsville Speedway, one of his most successful tracks, looking for his first win of the 2023 season. The Chesterfield, Virginia, native leads the NASCAR Cup Series in victories at the historic Martinsville Speedway with five wins (2008, 2009, 2010 sweep, 2015) and has all the intentions of making it six in Sunday afternoon’s NOCO 400 (April 16 at 3 p.m. ET on FS1, MRN and SiriusXM NASCAR Radio).
Among active drivers, Hamlin is one of the most prolific active short track competitors in the series. He is ranked third in short track Cup wins among active drivers with 17 victories across six of the seven active short tracks.
“I think the racing will be better than what we saw last year,” said Hamlin when asked about Martinsville. “The aero package this year has helped with some of the problems we had, but definitely not all of them. You’re still going to have to shift at both ends every lap, so that’s going to be a factor and will make it difficult to pass. But like in the fall, we had a strong car and were able to make passes on guys, so I’m looking forward to this weekend. I think this is a good stretch for me and our 11 team based on past results. We need to take advantage of these upcoming tracks to get some stage points and be up front in contention for wins.”
At Martinsville, Hamlin has made 34 series starts posting four poles, five wins, 17 top fives and 23 top 10s. But his Martinsville Speedway accolades don’t stop there, the NASCAR Cup Series pre-race Loop Data has him either first or second in every category among active drivers heading into Sunday – Average Running Position of 9.681 (second-best), Driver Rating of 104.6 (second-best), 1,191 Fastest Laps Run (series-best), 13,423 Laps in the Top 15 (79.2%) (series-most), 1,122 Quality Passes (series-most).