Martinsville Speedway Earles honored

MARTINSVILLE, VA. -- Martinsville Speedway founder H.Clay Earles always felt a strong bond with those who helped give stock-car racing a boost in its early days. The feeling was mutual and recently the Old Timers Racing Club honored Earles...

MARTINSVILLE, VA. -- Martinsville Speedway founder H.Clay Earles always felt a strong bond with those who helped give stock-car racing a boost in its early days. The feeling was mutual and recently the Old Timers Racing Club honored Earles with a 2000 Memorial Award, presented posthumously at the club's 10th Annual Banquet in High Point, N.C. "Clay was always fair," said Mike Sykes, President of the Old Timers Racing Club and a former driver. "He was fair to the competitors. He was one of the first to give drivers show money ... a little gas money to get home on. He always helped out the guys back in the field." Earles, who died in November of 1999, received one of the six Memorial Awards presented by the Old Timers Racing Club. Others receiving the award included drivers John Sears, Carl Burris, Lee Petty, Herb Thomas and Jack Etheridge. The Old Timers Racing Club presented Earles' family with a plaque that honored him, citing his "many years of dedicated work and leadership." Earles was the only non-driver to be honored this year. "One of the great things about Clay was even after I quit driving, when I saw him, he was 'hey, how you doing.' He always treated me the same," recalled Sykes. "You always knew where you stood with Clay Earles." The Old Timers Racing Club was formed in 1991 to offer aid to former drivers with its Medical Hardship Fund. The club has more than 400 members. More than two dozen other awards were handed out during the clubs annual meeting. Included in those honored were the Wood Brothers, named car owners of the 1970s and Martinsville's Lewis Compton, voted Broadcaster of the Year. The next racing action at Martinsville Speedway is the Virginia 500 NASCAR Winston Cup Series race on Sunday, April 8. Tickets are $40-$70 and are available by calling toll free at (877) 722-3849 or online at www.martinsvillespeedway.com.

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Series History
Drivers Lee Petty