The Georgia Racing Hall of Fame will hold its 2019 Induction banquet on Saturday, June 29, 2019 from 1:00 p.m.until 5:00 p.m. The cutoff date for inductee nominations for the year 2019 will be March 15, 2019. Each member of the voting panels will have a one week deadline for submitting their vote for the nominee of their choice.
The Georgia Racing Hall of Fame hosted the Durrence Layne Racing Series Banquet on January 19, 2019.
This is the Durrence Layne Racing Series, formerly the Nesmith Racing Series, banquet that was held Saturday evening Jan. 19. Over three hundred people attended the banquet that awards the top ten in each of four dirt racing divisions in addition to other awards. The series sponsors races from Oklahoma to Florida. This is one of the largest groups to hold an event at the Georgia Racing Hall of Fame.
Spencer Davis, 19, has run four races this season on the Camping World Truck Series in trucks fielded by Kyle Busch Motorsports. He started eighth in the season opener at Daytona International Speedway and finished seventh. He qualified fourth at Atlanta Motor Speedway and finished 13th, and repeated those stats at Las Vegas Motor Speedway.
He qualified fourth again at Texas Motor Speedway and finished ninth.
Davis also has run nine races on NASCAR’s K&N Pro Series East division with four top-five and eight top-10 finishes. In his best run to date this season he started on the pole at Thompson Speedway in Connecticut on July 14 and led a race-high 75 laps before finishing fourth. Since then he’s finished fourth in two of the past three races including the circuit’s most recent race at Watkins Glen International.
Davis has made one start this year on NASCAR’s Whelen Modified Tour, at Langley Speedway in Virginia, where he started 19th and finished 20th in a race won by Ryan Preece.
As part of his driver development, Davis ran seven races in the ARCA series last season with a best finish of third at Talladega Superspeedway. He also has competed in the CARS Super Late Model Tour as well as the CARS Late Model Stock Tour.
His biggest win to date came in a 2016 NASCAR K&N Pro Series East race at Dominion Raceway in Thornburg, Va., when he outran future Camping World Truck Series race-winning drivers Justin Haley, Noah Gragson and Kaz Grala to score the victory in the ComServe Wireless 150.
In being named Georgia Racing Hall of Fame Driver of the Year, Davis joins previous honorees including Chase Elliott, Bubba Pollard, Shane Clanton and Casey Roderick.
Greg Fielden has written 16 books on the history of NASCAR racing and worked for 24 years in the televising of Winston Cup events. From the highly acclaimed Forty Years of Stock Car Racing Series, to the history of the Beach Road racing events at Daytona entitled High Speed at Low Tide, the hard to find history of the NASCAR Convertible Division Rumblin’ Ragtops, and lthe current offering of NASCAR-A Complete History, which has gone through 11 printings, his life has revolved around the sport.
He always had a desire to do a history book of the NDRA, America’s first authentic Travlin’ Sideways Dirt Show.
Fielden’s latest work is The Greatest Show on Dirt, the definitive history of the Nationl Dirt Racing Association, which conducted races from 1978-1985. Fielden claims he had to get the brackish taste of NASCAR out of his mouth, considering the pitiful state of NASCAR these days. This book on the NDRA has done that.
Fielden worked for virtually every TV network that televised Winston Cup events from 1983-2006, serving as a Historian/Statistician for CBS, ABC, FOX, TNT, TBS and TNN Motorsports during his 24 year career in TV. He also worked on the IndyCar telecasts for ABC, NBC and ESPN from 1987-2003.
In 2006, Fielden fell victim to a series of strokes that left him unable to speak, his mind scrambled and barely able to fend for himself. He has worked his way back in recent years, and while he is not as capable as he was at the height of his very active life, he still has the love for the old days of racing – the good ‘ol days of the sport. That includes the NDRA – and the good times of NASCAR.
Prior to working in television, he spent his time covering the NDRA and other forms of auto races for Southern Auto Racing News, a weekly tabloid newspaper which featured short track auto racing events and the stars of the day.
Fielden, a native of Charlotte, NC, makes his homein Surfside Beach, SC. He has lived there since 1974.
Five legendary racers are set to be inducted as members of the 2018 Class of the Georgia Racing Hall of Fame in a ceremony at the Hall of Fame in Dawsonville on Aug. 11.
The five are Charlie Hughes, Dan Elliott, Dick Anderson, the late Rance Phillips and the late Russell Nelson.
From his first race at North Georgia Speedway in 1966 to his final, also at North Georgia in 1997 when he won the track championship in his final year, Hughes built a reputation as one of the nation’s top dirt Late Model drivers.
He was born in 1941 in Cleveland, Tenn., but moved to Dalton at the age of four. He was part of a group of Georgia racers, many of whom are already Hall of Fame members, who dominated dirt Late Model racing in the 1970s.
In 1976, Hughes had one of the best seasons ever in dirt Late Model racing.
Driving his familiar gold, blue and white No. 39, Hughes won 42 races that year including three of America’s most prestigious races.
That fall, he won the U.S. Dirt Track Championship at Champaign, Ill., the sixth annual World 100 at Eldora Speedway and the second annual National 100 at East Alabama Motor Speedway in Phenix City.
His wins were noteworthy for several reasons, among them the fact that a racer from the South handily defeated many of the nation’s top dirt drivers.
Other major races Hughes won in 1976 included the Labor Day 100 and the Wynn’s Friction Proofing 300 at Atomic Speedway in Tennessee, the Mod LM 76 at Cleveland Tenn., the Memorial Day Jaycees Classic at Phenix City, the Boyd’s Spirit of 76 Classic at Cleveland, and four other races at East Alabama – the Firecracker 76, Bicentennial 76, Labor Day 76 and Danny Burdette Memorial 60.
Hughes spent much of his career campaigning Fords. His first race car was a Ford that he built in conjunction with fellow Dalton resident Biddle Ridley. The two shared that ride for a time before Hughes bought a car from Leon Brindle and set out on his own.
In addition to the races he won in the Midwest, Hughes won at tracks in nearly every state in the Southeast.
He has a documented 37 wins at Dixie Speedway and 14 more at Rome Speedway, many of them in major events.
Other major triumphs include a 100-lapper at Senoia Raceway in 1975, The Hall of Fame 150 at Atomic in 1977, the Southeastern Dirt Classic at Dixie Speedway in 1978, The Labor Day 100 and the Fall 100 at Dixie in 1979, a 75-lapper at Rome in 1980, the Miller Road to Charlotte 40 at Dixie in 1985, the Rome Boss 100 at Rome Speedway in 1985 and the Coca-Cola 100 at Dixie that same year.
He won the Budweiser Late Model 50 at North Georgia in 1990, the RC Cola 60 at Tazewell, Tenn., in 1993 and a Super Late Model special at North Georgia in 1996.
Hughes, whose sons DeWayne and Terry followed him into the sport, was inducted into the National Dirt Late Model Hall of Fame in 2005.
The brothers grew up around the short tracks – and NASCAR speedways – of the South following their dad George, who owned Ford race cars and sold racing parts at the local tracks.
In the mid-1970s, the Elliott family began competing on the circuit now known as Monster Energy Cup with Bill, the youngest, doing the driving, while Dan and Ernie helped prepare the cars and worked on pit road, with Dan working on engines as well as handling transmissions and rear ends, plus changing tires during races.
In the beginning, the raced out of an old schoolhouse between Dawsonville and Dahlonega and began their career with a well-worn Ford Thunderbird. Later, the Elliotts purchased a Mercury and assorted parts from Roger Penske and their performance dramatically improved.
By the 1980s, they were the dominant team on the superspeedways and won the first Winston Million, the 1988 championship and set numerous speed records along the way.
Bill Elliott once said his family’s race team’s rise to the top of the sport was nothing short of a miracle.
“It was like Wilbur and Orville Wright taking what they had and flying to the moon,” he said.
Dan Elliott, who gave up his own driving ambitions – he did win a consolation race at Dixie Speedway before he stopped – suffered two serious injuries on pit road as a result of being struck by other drivers and retired from over-the-wall work in 1991.
In 2008, he was named general manager of Gresham Motorsports Park, a track in which his father was once part of the ownership team, and held that position until 2013.
He was a dominating force everywhere he went. In 1964, after his second time behind the wheel, he came away with a win that ignited a spark in his blood for the sport.
Thanks to a boss who didn’t mind his regular absences from work as long as his assignments were completed, Phillips raced many weeks from Wednesday or Thursday to Sunday, sometimes racing a different track each night. He collected many wins in his time and broke track records with gusto.
With more than 700 feature wins throughout his 40-year career and 19 track championships in multiple tracks, Phillips was the man to beat. When Julian Klein with Jacksonville Speedway issued a $100 weekly bounty to the driver who could beat Phillips, national attention was drawn to the driver. Racing the rest of the season, still undefeated, Phillips cashed in on his own bounty, $1,000, and even had other tracks issue bounties on him that year as well. The headliner had incredible credentials and the fan-backing to bring spectators to the tracks.
Phillips raced many races sanctioned by Permatex-NASCAR, winning the hearts of many, and was voted Most Popular Driver in 1973 at Golden Isle Speedway in Brunswick, GA.
He regularly raced and won against drivers who would race their way into NASCAR such as Tiny Lund, Donnie Allison, and Red Farmer.
Phillips was inducted into the Jacksonville Racing Hall of Fame in 2009 and the National Dirt Late Model Hall of Fame in Florence, KY in 2011. He also served as the Grand Marshal for “The Battle of the Swamp” at Waycross Motor Speedway in 2010. Phillips passed away at his home December 4th, 2012.
Among his innovations were coil-over shocks, shock dynamometers and several other shocks especially built for drag racing.
Anderson led the way in the mass production of racing shocks.
He also was the first to mass produce sprint cars. That came at a time when competitors’ only other choice was to build their own from scratch.
Anderson pioneered roll-couple theory and calculation, and even offered a dedicated “Electronic Calculator” that was programmed to allow racers to find what they needed from a handling standpoint and to understand why.
Among his more recent inventions is a computer-controlled shock that uses an electromagnet that offers nearly infinite & instant damping adjustability. It is largely used in military applications.
Anderson was a pioneer in racing trade shows, promoting the first Oval Track Trade Show in Daytona Beach in 1978 and founded the trade magazine “Oval Track Dealer News” for the oval-track-racing industry in 1979.
He also tried his hand at driving and won first place in his class and second overall in the 1990 Mexican Road Race.
Nelson, of Buford, started racing in 1960 at the Peach Bowl Speedway in Atlanta and is credited with 364 feature wins at tracks including the Peach Bowl, Lanier National Speedway in Braselton, the track now known as Gresham Motorsports Park in Jefferson and nearly every other short track in North Georgia.
Nelson also found success on the various touring series around the South.
He won the prestigious Rattler at South Alabama Speedway in 1977, and won feature events at other regional tracks including Birmingham International Raceway and Montgomery Motor Speedway.
He was a regular competitor on the old All-Pro Series and throughout his career raced and won against many of the nation’s top asphalt short track drivers.
For more information on the Georgia Racing Hall of Fame and the Induction Ceremony visit www.georgiaracinghof.com or call 706.216-7223.
The Fast 15 semi-finalists in the voting for the 2018 Class of the Georgia Racing Hall of Fame include a driver who dominated dirt racing nationwide in 1976, all four women on the ballot, a motorcycle racing champion and two members of the famed Elliott Racing team from Dawsonville.
Dalton’s Charlie Hughes, who won the World 100 at Eldora Speedway and 42 other major races in 1976, his best season in a career that saw him win hundreds of feature events, led the voting by being named on 25 of the 29 ballots cast.
Finishing second was Dick Anderson, an industry leader in the development of racing shocks and related equipment who was named on 22 ballots.
Third place went to Tammy Jo Kirk, who started as a motorcycle racer and moved to stock car racing, where she won asphalt short track racing’s premier event, the Snowball Derby at Five Flag Speedway in Pensacola, Fla. She also made 47 starts in the NASCAR circuits now known as Xfinity and Camping World Truck series. She received 19 votes.
Other women making the Fast 15 were asphalt short track racer Debbie Lunsford Love and two racing pioneers, Ethel Flock Mobley and Louise Smith.
Dan Elliott, the middle of the three racing Elliott Brothers and the former promoter of Gresham Motorsports Park, tied for fourth place with the late Bob Morris, a former Peach Bowl driver who was a standout on Atlanta area short tracks including Senoia Raceway and Coweta Raceway. Morris and Elliott received 17 votes each.
Elliott crewmember Mike Rich, who died in a pit road accident at Atlanta Motor Speedway, is among the Fast 15. Rich’s tragic death led to major safety changes on pit road, including speed limits and mandatory safety equipment.
Others among the 49 eligible nominees who made the cut were dirt racer Rance Phillips and asphalt drivers Harold Fountain and Russell Nelson as well as long-time car builder and owner Windell Roach.
Also advancing to the final voting round were engine builder and drag racing fixture Lamar Walden and the late Dale Singleton, the Flying Pig Farmer from Dalton who won the Daytona 200 twice as an independent rider.
Motorsports writer Rick Minter, who chairs the nominating committee of the Georgia Racing Hall of Fame, said he considers the 2018 Fast 15 to be one of the most diverse selections in recent memory.
“All four women on the list of nominees made the Fast 15, which is extraordinary,” Minter said. “And the group includes legendary dirt and asphalt drivers, two nationally-known motorcycle racers, a pit crew member and others who earned their places in racing history mostly behind the scenes.”
The voting now moves to a 21-member panel, separate from the Fast 15 panel, which will select the final five who will be inducted in an Aug. 11 ceremony at the Georgia Racing Hall of Fame in Dawsonville.
With 18 victories, 27 top-five and 32 top-10 finishes so far on the short tracks of the Southeast, Casey Roderick of Lawrenceville was the unanimous choice of a media panel to be the Georgia Racing Hall of Fame’s Driver of the Year.
Roderick, who drives primarily for Georgia Racing Hall of Famer Ronnie Sanders and is considered one of the top young drivers in America, also has three championships already this season.
Throughout the year, the 25-year-old Roderick has raced and won on many of the same tracks that Sanders dominated during his time behind the wheel.
Roderick’s first win of 2017 came on Jan. 7 in the Zack Donatti Memorial at New Smyrna (Fla.) Speedway. He backed that up with a win at Crisp Motorsports Park in the Pro Late Model portion of Speedfest on Jan. 29.
He got his second victory at Cordele and his 18th overall of the year on Oct. 18.
He opened the month of March with a victory at Montgomery Motor Speedway in the first installment of that track’s Show Me The Money series. He went on to win four more of those races and the season title of that series as well.
Roderick won four Pro Late Model races at Fairgrounds Speedway in Nashville, Tenn., and that track’s Big Machine series season championship.
He also found success at Five Flag Speedway in Pensacola, Fla., where he opened his season there in March with a win in the Allen Turner 100 for Pro Late Model drivers. He went on to win three more races in that series and the division title.
While most of Roderick’s wins have come in the Pro Late Model division, he’s also found success in the Super Late Model division. He won a Southern Super Series 100 lapper at Fairgrounds Speedway in April and posted five other top-five finishes.
Roderick already has made starts in NASCAR’s Xfinity and Camping World Truck series and won an ARCA race on the road course at New Jersey Motorsports park in 2010.
A big win on the West Coast, a SpeedFest triumph at Watermelon Capital Speedway and an All-American 400 victory at Fairgrounds Speedway in Nashville, Tenn., propelled Senoia’s Bubba Pollard to his second Driver of the Year Award from the Georgia Racing Hall of Fame.
Pollard, who has more than 90 career Super Late Model victories and countless others in different divisions, started his season in a winning way by taking the Super Late Model headliner of SpeedFest. He then won the Winter Showdown at Kern County Raceway in Bakersfield, Calif., in February. That victory was his second in a row in the West Coast equivalent of the Snowball Derby and earned him a cool $40,000. In October, Pollard won the All-American 400 at the historic oval in Nashville, pocketing another $16,000.
Throughout the summer months, the third-generation racer began racing Crate Late Models at Senoia Raceway, the dirt track co-founded by his late grandfather Hence Pollard. Despite his lack of dirt experience, the 29-year-old driver reeled off seven victories there, which pushed his total win count to 13 on the season, including a Southern Super Series victory at Five Flags Speedway in September.
Pollard, who won the inaugural Driver of the Year Award from the Georgia Racing Hall of Fame, lives in Senoia with his wife Erin and daughter Elizabeth McMillan Pollard.
Long-time motorsports journalist Joe Cawley of Augusta is the 2016 recipient of the Jimmy Mosteller Award from the Georgia Racing Hall of Fame.
The award is given annually to a journalist in recognition of lifetime achievements in Georgia motorsports.
Cawley, who was born on Nov. 15, 1945, in Austin, Texas, where his father was stationed at Bergstrom Field, saw his first stock car race at the old Speedway Park in Martinez, Ga., in 1961. There he saw racers like H.G. Rosier, Weldon Adams, Frank Warren and Joe Penland in action. He also attended races that year at the Augusta International Speedway and began photographing races there.
From 1981 to 2000 he did writing and photography for several short tracks including Gordon Park Speedway near Augusta and Modoc Speedway in South Carolina.
Afterwards he traveled and covered races with the National Vintage Racing Association for more than 10 years. His work has appeared in newspapers and racing publications across the country for decades.
Cawley is the current president of the Augusta International Raceway Preservation Society and received that organization’s Lifetime Achievement Award in 2012.
Cawley’s activities on behalf of the motorsports community have slowed some since he contracted leukemia in the fall of 2015, but his love of the sport remains as strong as ever.
“It is nice when you can find a hobby you can enjoy for over 50 years,” he said.
Cawley will be honored during the Georgia Racing Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony on Nov. 12 at the Hall in Dawsonville.
For more information on the ceremony, visit georgiaracinghof.com or call 706-216-7223.