Class of 2019 for the Georgia Racing Hall of Fame
The late Biddle Ridley, an accomplished short track driver who went on to be a championship-winning crew chief for his brother Jody, heads the Class of 2019 for the Georgia Racing Hall of Fame.
Ridley led the final round voting with 18 votes from a panel of 21 voters. Holt, Kirk and Wright tied for second place with 10 votes each while Ballew was one vote back in fifth place.
Finishing one vote out of the running were dirt racer Bob Morris and motorcycle champion Scott Russell.
Ridley, from Chatsworth, joins his brother Jody and former teammates Bill Elliott and Charlie Hughes and former car owners Ernie Elliott and George Elliott in the Dawsonville-based Hall of Fame.
Holt, from Peachtree City, raced Ford products throughout his career and won 150 races at tracks across Georgia on both dirt and asphalt.
Kirk was a champion motorcycle racer who became the first woman in history to reach a Grand National Championship final when she earned a spot in the 1983 Knoxville Half Mile event. In 1986, she made history by winning a Class C flat track race in Knoxville, Tenn. She moved on to asphalt Late Models and won the NASCAR All-Pro Series’ most prestigious race, the Snowball Derby at Five Flags Speedway in Pensacola, Fla., in 1994.
She was the first female racer in the NASCAR series now known as Gander Outdoors Truck Series, and raced in 15 Xfinity Series races late in her career.
Wright was a long-time car builder who built cars for some of the legendary racers of the Southeast including Bob Burcham, Joe Lee Johnson, Friday Hassler and Donnie Allison.
Ballew, from Blairsville, is best known for fielding trucks in the Gander Outdoors Truck Series for Kyle Busch, who scored 16 victories in Ballew’s trucks including his first in the truck series. Ballew also had truck wins with Aric Almirola, Shane Hmiel and Michael Waltrip. He entered 365 trucks over 17 years.
Rick Minter, chairman of the Georgia Racing Hall of Fame’s Nominating Committee, said the 2019 class shows the strength and diversity of Georgia’s racing heritage.
“Biddle Ridley was a legend in his day, although many people today don’t realize how good he was as a driver,” Minter said. “He gave up his driving to work with his brother Jody, and they represented Georgia well, especially back in the All-Pro days where they won six championships.
“Tammy Jo Kirk was a true pioneering female racer who has come so close to being inducted in the past few years, and Randy Holt gave Ford fans much to cheer for while driving his No. 21 Fords.
“Bob Wright’s record speaks for itself, and Billy Ballew saw something in Kyle Busch back in the day that all of us see today.”
The Induction Ceremony is set for June 29 at the Georgia Racing Hall of Fame in Dawsonville.
For more information and to purchase tickets visit georgiaracinghof.com or call 706-216-7223