NASCAR is truly a unique sport, and one of the most interesting ways that it shows it is through the trophies. We have previously written about NASCAR trophies and whether or not the drivers get to keep them. In that piece, we highlighted a few of the trophies, and readers of that may remember that NASCAR trophies are far from conventional.
Here we’re taking a look at the 10 strangest trophies that you’ll see champions of this sport hoisting after 200 or so well-completed laps. We have to wonder where they will put these strangest trophies if they actually win them!
1. NASCAR Trophy: Grandfather Clock (Martinsville Speedway)
Topping our list is the rather unique and stunning grandfather clock that is awarded to winners at the Martinsville Speedway race. It’s “strange” because it’s essentially a piece of furniture being used as an award for a NASCAR race. The two barely have any connection unless you say that the recipient also held the best race and lap times…
Still, these clocks adorn many proud drivers’ living rooms and trophy rooms these days, standing there not looking at all like an award until you actually get up close and see for yourself what’s going on there.
2. NASCAR Trophy: Live Painting (Phoenix Raceway)
You may have heard of trophies being inscribed on-site with the newly-anointed winner of the event’s name, but how about the prize being a painting and it being painted on-site right there in victory lane once the winner has become clear?
That’s what the winners at Phoenix Raceway get, in the form of a stunning commemorative painting done by artist Bill Patterson that is signed by the winner before being awarded.
The slightly unfortunate thing for the winner is that Phoenix Raceway keeps all the originals. However, teams can commission more of the same to have something to take away and display. They’ll always know that that’s not the original, though.
3. NASCAR Trophy: Loudon the Lobster (New Hampshire Motor Speedway)
Winners at the New Hampshire Speedway receive a trophy that could uniquely be simultaneously described as both an award, and dinner. The awarding of a live lobster typically weighing between 18 and 22 pounds is what one should expect when being declared the winner in this New England NASCAR event.
In 2017, Denny Hamlin received an astonishing 44-pound specimen as his prize, though he took no joy in holding it up as he described himself as having “lobster phobia.”
The shell of the awarded lobster is usually preserved (presumably after the rest is turned into a meal), painted and mounted on a plaque. Hamlin, however, said that he’d never be touching the thing again after that one time, and suggested that the creature be put back in the sea!
4. NASCAR Trophy: The Wine Goblet (Sonoma Raceway)
Given society’s and the law’s pretty dim view of drink driving, giving away a trophy made up of 5 model wine barrels, topped with a huge bottle of wine which can be poured into an equally gargantuan goblet. One only hopes that the winner won’t be driving home after glugging down that wine after winning the race.
Maybe they should take a lead from the Indy 500 and look to drinking milk at the end instead!
5. NASCAR Trophy: A Surfboard (Auto Club Speedway)
If you were to guess which Sunny state the Auto Club Speedway was in? What might you say? Florida? Hawaii? California? They’re all reasonable guesses, but it’s the last one that’s right. This southern California trophy is awarded to winners right after the race, but there’s an additional quirk to this event in Fontana.
Winners on the day get the surfboard trophy, but at the following year’s race, the winner of the previous year’s event is awarded a custom-made surfboard as an extra reward. That makes Fontana’s Auto Club Speedway the only place to offer 2 awards in consecutive years to the same driver as a matter of course.
6. NASCAR Trophy: Coca-Cola Vending Machine (Charlotte Motor Speedway)
A vending machine from Coca-Cola? Realy? Well, it’s the prize for winning the Coca-Cola 600 in Charlotte, so that makes some sense…or does it?
The Coca-Cola 600 is one of the premier races of the season along with the Daytona 500, Winston 500, and Southern 500, but does a vending machine — even a rather stylish vintage vending machine — really speak to the prestige of the event?
Well, actually there’s also a trophy called the Bruton Smith Trophy, but the vending machine is the novelty item that comes along with it and is certainly the more recognizable of the prizes.
7. NASCAR Trophy: The Eagle Trophy (Pocono Raceway)
The Eagle Trophy at Pocono Raceway, what is it? Some call it a tacky souvenir, others call it star-spangled awesome. The trophy depicts an American bald eagle, soaring with wings spread and talons ready to claw some serious keester.
And behind it is a triangular stars-and-stripes to complete the effect. It was first commissioned in 1996 and is still awarded to winners. Definitely not the strangest in our entire list, but it certainly stands out.
8. NASCAR Trophy: The Monster Trophy (Dover International Speedway)
What would you get if you crossed the Stay-Puft Marshmallow Man with the Incredible Hulk? Whatever you’re imagining, we guess it looks something like the Monster Trophy awarded to winners of the Dover International Speedway event.
The track at Dover is appropriately nicknamed “The Monster Mile,” and the trophy was first commissioned in 2004 and has since become the standard.
The real highlight of the Monster Trophy is that as each winner is crowned, a replica of their car is placed in the monster’s right hand.
9. NASCAR Trophy: Gladiator Sword (Bristol Motor Speedway)
Bristol, Tennessee is a small town of 27,000 people or so, and is perhaps most famous for its recognition as the birthplace of country music. It’s also famous for coal production, and of course the Bristol Motor Speedway NASCAR event…all of which clearly adds up to the trophy awarded in Bristol being a gladiator sword, doesn’t it?
In fact, the awarding of the gladiator sword at Bristol is to do with the short track’s special nickname, “The Last Great Colosseum.” One winner, Joey Logano, remarked once upon winning the sword, “It kind of feels good too just to chop stuff with a sword.”
10. NASCAR Trophy: Cowboy Hat and Boots & Six-shooter Revolvers (Texas Motor Speedway)
In all honesty, would you have guessed that this trophy was from the Texas race even if we hadn’t told you? This one comes bottom of our list because while it’s a strange set of prizes for a motorsports race, it perhaps isn’t such a shocking prize for a competition held in Texas!
Some are already saying it’s time for a change and that these prizes are in bad taste — the guns in particular — but for now at least it seems that they’re going nowhere.
There are 36-38 races in most NASCAR seasons and when new tracks get added, although not that often, there has to be a new trophy. Some races are steeped in history but a new race has to make its mark. this is where choosing a Trophy becomes quite a serious decision. Usually it has elements of the race, and the location where the race is held incorporated into it.
That said, i bet the drivers are hoping a NASCAR track is built close to Fort Knox in the near future, we wonder what that NASCAR trophy would be made of…