Richmond Raceway (Richmond) unveiled a new panel for the Garage Walk of Honor in the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series garage in the FanGrounds for the NASCAR Playoffs Race Weekend on Sept. 20-21. For this fall’s Garage Walk of Honor panel, the Richmond Historical Committee chose to honor a pair of Virginians who have been recognized by the NASCAR Hall of Fame. The newest panel recognizes Racing Virginia legends Rick Hendrick, 2019 NASCAR Hall of Famer, and H. Clay Earles, 2017 NASCAR Hall of Fame Landmark Award recipient.
“As we continue to honor the rich history of motorsports in Virginia, we are proud to recognize two legends of NASCAR in Rick Hendrick and H. Clay Earles on the Garage Walk of Honor,” said Richmond President Dennis Bickmeier. “As fans watch race teams prepare for the NASCAR Playoffs in the Cup garages in the FanGrounds, they can also learn about the heritage of racing at Richmond and across the Commonwealth with the Garage Walk of Honor.”
Hendrick, a native of Palmer Spring, Va., is the founder of Hendrick Motorsports (HMS), one of the most successful and influential teams in NASCAR history. HMS owns an all-time record of 12 NASCAR premier series car owner championships – seven with Jimmie Johnson, four with Jeff Gordon, and one with Terry Labonte. Hendrick also has a total of 16 NASCAR national series owner championships, which is the most in NASCAR history. To date, Hendrick has 4,697 starts, 288 poles, and 310 wins. He was elected to the NASCAR Hall of Fame in 2019. HMS has also won 10 Cup races at Richmond.
Earles, one of the original pioneers of stock car auto racing, built and opened Martinsville Speedway in 1947. Three months before NASCAR was formed, Martinsville held its first race on Sept. 7, 1947. Originally built as a dirt track, the .526-mile asphalt and concrete speedway is known for its unique paperclip shape with 800-foot straights and tight turns banked at only 12 degrees. In 1964, Earles introduced a grandfather clock as the trophy for race winners; a tradition that exists to this day. Earles passed away on Nov. 16, 1999, and was recognized with the NASCAR Hall of Fame Landmark Award in 2017.
The Garage Walk of Honor unveiled the first four wall placements last fall as part of the launch of the modernized infield, FanGrounds. The inaugural Garage Walk of Honor panels honored Richmond’s founder Paul Sawyer, NASCAR Hall of Famers Joe Weatherly, Curtis Turner, Wendell Scott, and Glen and Leonard Wood, and local legends Ray Hendrick and Junie Donlavey.
In the spring, Richmond recognized NASCAR Cup Rookie of the Year award winners who are from Virginia. Between 1970 and 2006, seven drivers from the Commonwealth have received the honors. The drivers are Bill Dennis in 1970, Lennie Pond in 1973, Ricky Rudd in 1977, Ronnie Thomas in 1978, Jimmy Hensley in 1992, Jeff Burton in 1994, and Denny Hamlin in 2006.
The Richmond Historical Committee, chaired by long-time Richmond Times-Dispatch and Racing Virginia motorsports writer Randy Hallman, identifies the iconic members and historical moments that should be represented and shared as part of Richmond’s Garage Walk of Honor. The Richmond Historical Committee meets annually to select the next individual(s), moment(s), and/or theme(s) for future wall placements in the Garage Walk of Honor.
The Richmond Historical Committee includes Dick Conway, Al Pearce, John Dodson, Billy Thurston, John Harrelson, and consultants Bill Sawyer and Dave Fulton. Richmond staff represented on the committee are Dennis Bickmeier, Linwood Burrow, and Brent S. Gambill.
Fans will get their chance to see the new Hendrick and Earles panel, along with the rest of the Garage Walk of Honor, in the FanGrounds at Richmond over the NASCAR Playoffs Race Weekend on Sept. 20-21.
FanGrounds passes are available to purchase for the NASCAR Playoffs Race Weekend. Fans must have a race ticket in order to purchase these passes. Friday or Saturday only passes are $70, and weekend passes are $125. Kids 12 & younger are only $25 for single day passes and $40 for weekend passes.
For more information on the FanGrounds, visit richmondraceway.com/fangrounds.
Richmond Raceway 2019 NASCAR Season
NASCAR returns “under the lights” to Richmond for the NASCAR Playoffs Race Weekend presented by Who’s Your Driver on Sept. 20-21. America’s Premier Short Track will start the NASCAR Xfinity Series Playoffs with the Go Bowling 250 playoff race on Friday, Sept. 20. Richmond will host the second race of the Monster Energy Series Playoffs with the Federated Auto Parts 400 playoff race on Friday, Sept. 21.
Tickets for the NASCAR Playoff Race Weekend are available for purchase in-person at the Richmond Ticket Office, via phone at 866-455-7223, or online at richmondraceway.com.