A veteran dirt-track racer with more than 350 career victories and two major figures on the drag-racing scene head the list of names being added to the ballot as voting for the 2016 class of the Georgia Racing Hall of Fame gets under way.
Ricky Williams, now in his 41st year behind the wheel of a dirt-track car, led the way in the first of three rounds that will determine the five new inductees into the Hall, located in Dawsonville, Ga. He was named on all nine ballots submitted by the voting members of the Nominating Committee.
Joining him are drag racing leaders Dick Brannon and the late Lamar Walden. Also added to the ballot were retired dirt racer Mack Waugh and the late Peach Bowl star Johnny Sudderth, who also ran eight races in the series now known as Sprint Cup.
The five will now join 45 others voted onto the ballot in recent years. From there, a 31-member panel will choose the Fast 15 semifinalists, after which a separate 21-member voting group will select the five that will be inducted in November.
Williams, who has won 11 track championships at Atlanta-area tracks like Senoia Raceway, Dixie Speedway, Rome Speedway and the old Seven Flags/West Atlanta Raceway, has won some of the area’s top dirt racing events, including a 200-lapper at Dixie Speedway and the Rome Boss 100.
Walden, who died last year, had a strong career in drag racing and also was a long-time engine builder, working on engines for drag racers as well as NASCAR teams.
He was elected to the East Coast Drag Times Hall of Fame in October 2012.
Brannon was directly involved in the development of the Ford 427 race engines, and won more than 200 NHRA, IHRA and AHRA sanctioned drag racing events, including 89 strip elapsed time or speed records.
He played an important role in development of the 1967 Ford Fairlane 427, including the one Mario Andretti drove to victory in the 1967 Daytona 500. He is a member of the Super Stock Magazine Hall of Fame, East Coast Drag Times Hall of Fame, Drag Racers Reunion Hall of Fame and a recipient of the Dearborn Classis Award.
Waugh counts an estimated 200 victories over a 30-year career at tracks like the old Troup County Speedway, Zebulon Speedway and Coweta Raceway as well as Penton Raceway and Lee County Speedway in Alabama. He also was the promoter for a season at Troup County.
Sudderth, who died in 1975, began racing in the early 1950s in amateur classes and drove jalopy and sportsman divisions for two years, winning numerous races at the old Peach Bowl Speedway in Atlanta.
He also raced at Lakewood Speedway in Atlanta in divisions including NASCAR’s Convertible Division and the ARCA series and at the Milwaukee Mile.