George Elliott, of Dawsonville, Georgia was born April 7, 1924 in Dawsonville. While he may be best known as the father of NASCAR champion brothers Bill, Ernie and Dan Elliott and the grandfather to up and coming stock car racer Chase Elliott, those who knew him say he was the epitome of a hard worker and a fine gentleman. George owned a Ford dealership and a speed shop, and from that worked his way into racing.
Elliott fielded cars for Dan Lingerfelt and Aaron Gaily, picking up wins in the NASCAR sportsman division in the late 1960s, including a major win at Atlanta’s Lakewood Speedway, where Lingerfelt bested great racers such as T.C. Hunt, Joe Lee Johnson, Curtis Turner and “Tiger Tom” Pistone.
Elliott would celebrate many times with his drivers in victory lane, and was well known for working barefoot in the pits.
His first stint into what is now known as Sprint Cup racing came in 1966, when Don Tilley drove his #53 Ford to a 42nd place effort. Elliott’s next attempt in NASCAR’s top league came in 1971, when Clermont, Georgia’s Harry Gailey drive Elliott’s #94 Ford to a 31st place finish at Talladega. The #94 would later be used by George’s late grandson, Casey and by his son Bill.
George’s next big push into NASCAR was in 1971, with four races in the #09 with fellow Georgia native Charles Barrett behind the wheel and one event driven by Georgia Racing Hall of Fame member Jody Ridley. Various other drivers would pilot Elliott’s cars over the next few years, including A.J. Reno, former Formula 1 and sports car star David Hobbs and World Champion sports car ace Al Holbert.
In 1976, George’s son Bill would take his first shot at NASCAR’s top division driving for his father at Rockingham. He piloted a powder blue #9 Ford to a 33rd place finish after his run was foiled by a faulty fuel pump (that car today resides in the Georgia Racing Hall of Fame). With son Bill behind the wheel and sons Ernie and Dan on the pit crew, George’s team would compete sporadically over the next few seasons, often showing promise, including a second at Darlington in 1981 behind NASCAR Hall of Fame member David Pearson. In all, George’s cars would compete in 54 events from 1977-1981, recording two top fives and 23 top ten finishes, along with one pole at Darlington in 1981.
After 1981, George sold his team to Harry Melling, and the rest is history. His sons would go on to become one of the most successful families in the sport of stock car racing. All the while, he continued to serve as the family patriarch. No matter if it was a short track event or the Daytona 500, George was always there to support his family.
George Elliott passed away in September of 1998. But the legacy left behind is one that can be seen written clearly on the walls of the Georgia Racing Hall of Fame.