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.