Thursday, May 24, 2012


U.S. Rep. Jackson Kingston helped push an amendment through the House Appropriations Committee last week that would remove the money, a move that has drawn criticism from some NASCAR fans.

Thursday, May 10, 2012

The Athens Speedway

October 10, 2010

My Dad worked for George Boswell in Commerce, GA most of his adult life. He was the "best" body and fender man around! Mr. Boswell sponsored a race car, #88. Daddy did the body work on it. I think Kendall Jackson drove it. Daddy said it was #88 so that when it turned over it would still be We were at the Athens Speedway most Saturday nights during the summer. My first date ever was at the Athens Speedway and my first date with my ex-husband was at the Athens Speedway so the way to my heart back then was through a race track!
After cable came out, our Sunday afternoons were either spent in my grandmother's living room watching the race or after her death, at my parents' home. Two weeks before Daddy died, he was in Athens Regional fussing to go home and watch the Bud Shootout! Hospice told us to take him home because he didn't need them!lol When Daddy died, it was hard to watch the NASCAR races. I found some "bloggers" on and one of them sounded just like my Daddy running his mouth about all the drivers. (He has SPINOUT on Facebook and blogspot now.) I could call Daddy and say, "Did you see that wreck, Daddy?" and he'd say, "Yeah, it couldn't have happened to a nicer guy!"lol I started reading the blogs and then I decided I'd write something. I called myself ATHENSSPEEWAYAN and the next thing I knew I was part of their little family. It grew to about 60 people. (FOX caved and some of us moved to blogspot. Check it out sometime.)

Back to FOX...One day in 2009 on my FOX profile, I got a message from someone called ROADHAWG, Tommy Logan, from my hometown. He googled Athens Speedway and my blog came up. He was thinking about doing a "Remembering the Athens Speedway" site. He and some of the other drivers were all involved when they made the movie Greased Lightning with Richard Pryor at the Athens Speedway. He said they made more money for that than they would have winning a race! lol His cousin, Gary Logan, drove a rollback for a living and he was killed hauling a car in an accident. The funeral procession drove by the Athens Speedway on the way to the cemetary.

Another email and Tommy told me about all the drivers he was trying to find photos of and - Guess what! Daddy had photos of some of the drivers from back in the 60s. I sent him those photos, he scanned them, emailed them back to me along with a lot of what he had. He sent me photos of his race car in the 70s. So, probably while he was racing, I was watching. Tommy said he specifically remembered Tommy Roberts. Daddy had his photo, too. Then a couple of weeks later, Tommy Roberts died. We talked for a while then I didn't hear from him anymore until I got an email from him telling me about the ATHENS SPEEDWAY REUNION! I couldn't wait! It was this past March. I didn't know anyone there except for the lady who worked at the concession stand, Mrs. Owens. I took a few photos and left. There was an Athens Speedway Reunion profile on Facebook. I clicked on EVERYBODY to be my friend. It's been interesting!

Athens Speedway Entrance
Athens Speedway Concession Stand
Turn 1
Looking down turn 1
The Flagstand

Aerial view of the Athens Speedway
Aaron Gailey's car

Merle Dalton's car
Tommy Logan's car. Gary is in this photo, too.

Tommy Roberts
Charlie Burkhalter
Billy Potts
W.C. Lockman
Denver Phillips
Jimmy Langford
Greased Lightning w/Richard Pryor
Athens Speedway Reunion - March, 2010
Excited!!! Crown 300 2009
The only driver I'll ever love!♥

GA Racing Hall of Fame Announces “Fast 15” Semi-Finalists

May 7, 2012
Posted in: Dirt Track, Drag Racing, History, NASCAR, NHRA, Open Wheel, Short Track, Sprint Cars, Stock Cars

The Georgia Racing Hall of Fame in Dawsonville, Georgia has moved one step closer to being able to name the 2012 class of inductees this week, when they announced the “Fast 15” semi-finalists. The five new GRHOF inductees will be chosen by a panel of voters to make up this year’s class.
The 2012 semi-finalists include Charles Barrett of Cleveland, GA, Dick Brannon of Dawsonville, GA, Charlie Burkhalter of Athens, GA, Frank Christian of Dahlonega, GA, Tommie Clinard of Macon, GA, Pete Hamilton of Buford, GA, Bill Ingram of Woodstock, GA, Bobby Johns of Miami, FL, Warren Johnson of Sugar Hill, GA, Jabez Jones of Toccoa, GA, Doug Kennimer of Dahlonega, GA, Ethel Flock Mobley of Atlanta, GA, Huston Platt of Buford, GA, Louise Smith of Barnesville, GA, and Herman Wise of Toccoa, GA.
The announcement of the 2012 Georgia Racing Hall of Fame inductees will be made during the Hall of Fame’s 10th anniversary celebration event, scheduled for Saturday, May 26 at the Hall of Fame in Dawsonville, GA. The event begins at 8 am with a swap meet, a car show at 10 am and the opening ceremony, which will include the inductee announcement around 11 am. For more info, visit
The 2012 Georgia Racing Hall of Fame Induction banquet will be held on Oct. 26, 2012 at 6 pm at the Georgia Racing Hall of Fame, located inside the Dawsonville Municipal Complex in Dawsonville, Georgia.
A limited number of seats for the banquet will be available. For more information, call the Hall of Fame at (706) 216-RACE (7223) or go online to
Here’s a closer look at the five inductees into the Georgia Racing Hall of Fame for 2012:
Charles Barrett – Cleveland, GA – Winner of approximately 250 feature events – Won 27 Late Model sportsman features in 1972 – Won the 10th anniversary 150 lap Sportsman championship race at Anderson in 1972 – 1968, 69, 70 Anderson track champion- Won several championship events at Anderson between 1967-1972 – Competed in several NASCAR Sprint Cup events for car owner George Elliott, including a 10th at Talladega in 1973, 18th at Atlanta in 1973.
Dick Brannon – Dawsonville, GA – Directly involved in the development of the Ford 427 race engines – Received he first of every 427 powered drag race car built by Ford Motor Company – Won more than 200 NHRA, IHRA and AHRA sanctioned drag racing events, including 89 strip elapsed time or speed records – 1965 AHRA Factory Funny Car Champ in Long Beach, CA and Cecil County, Maryland – 1966 AHRA Fuel Funny Car Winter Nationals Champ – 196 NASCAR Grand Finale Drag Champ – Played an important role in development of the 1967 Ford Fairlane 427, including the one Mario Andretti won the Daytona 500 in – Worked with A.J. Foyt, Donnie Allison in developing 1968 Ford Torino – Helped develop Cobra Jet 428 engine – Worked on 429 BOSS Engine – Member of the Super Sock Magazine Hall of Fame, East Coast Drag Times Hall of Fame, Drag Racers Reunion Hall of Fame- Recipient of the Dearborn Classics Award.
Charlie Burkhalter – Athens, GA – Successful competitor in the north Georgia area – raced and won many times at the Athens Speedway, Toccoa, the Peach Bowl, Jefco (Gresham Motorsports Park), Banks County, and other tracks all over the southeast. Championship Super Modified (Skeeter) racer – Won races and titles against Hall of Famers Charlie Mincey, Bud Lunsford, Buck Simmons and others. He passed away in May of 2010.

Frank Christian – Dahlonega, GA – Deceased – Was a pioneer in multi-car ownership, winning 22 races in his career. Drivers included his wife, Hall of Famer Sara Christian, Bob Flock, Speedy Thompson, Buddy Shuman, Banjo Matthews, Fonty Flock, Buck Baker, and Curtis Turner. Christian himself competed in several events as an owner/driver. His cars had an average starting place of sixth and an average finishing place of 12th. Christian’s cars scored 35 poles in a six year span. Christian is credited with bringing the moonshine runners out of the mountains and into the first organized modern stock car race, held at Atlanta’s Lakewood Speedway in November of 1938. Was the car owner for the first Chevrolet to win a NASCAR Sprint Cup race, with Fonty Flock as a driver, in 1955 at Columbia, SC.
Tommie Clinard – Macon, GA – Had a career that spanned 20 years – Built his first race car at the age of 19 – Won his first race on Jan. 15, 1957 at the Palm Beach Speedway in Atlanta – Competed against top notch drivers, including Red Famer, Bobby Allison, Donnie Allison and Bobby Johns – Went drag racing in 1964, winning 52 straight events at Camp Wheeler Dragstrip – Back in stock cars, competed many times at Middle Georgia Raceway in Byron, GA, putting in a top ten points finish in 1974.
Pete Hamilton – Newton, MA, relocated to Buford, GA – Won the 1970 Daytona 500 driving for Petty Enterprises, and won both Talladega races that year while driving for Petty. Was the 1965 Thompson World Series Twin 50s champion. Scored the title in the NASCAR National Sportsman division in 1967. Was the 1968 Rookie of the Year in NASCAR Sprint Cup. Won the 1969 NASCAR Grand American division title, winning 12 of 26 races that year. Won a qualifying race (then a points event) at Daytona in 1971 driving for Cotton Owens. Won the 1974 Snowball Derby at 5 Flags Speedway in Pensacola, FL. Became a successful car builder in Georgia, operating out of Buford, building cars for several championship winning drivers, including Hall of Famers Charlie Mincey and Ronnie Sanders.
Bill Ingram – Woodstock, GA – Over 285 feature wins – Ran first race in 1967, at the age of 13, at Cherokee Motor Speedway in Canton, GA – Began racing regularly in 1973 – Won Hobby Championships at Dixie Speedway in Woodstock GA in 1978 & 1979 – Moved to Limited Sportsman in 1981, winning several races. Would win championship in 1982 – Won Georgia State Motocross Championship (for motorcycles) at Ballground, GA in 1982 – Won Dixie/Rome Rookie of the Year in Super Late Models, 1983 – Won National Late Model Rookie of the Year from Racing News Weekly, 1983 – Won Points Championship, Dixie Speedway, 1984 – Won Rome Boss 100 Late Model Points Championship at Rome Speedway, 1984 – Won Alabama Enduro Championship at Birmingham Speedway, 1985 – Won Enduro 300 at Dixie Speedway, 1985 – Qualified ninth, finished sixth in ARCA series event at Atlanta Motor Speedway, 1986 – Qualified at over 178 mph in ARCA competition at Talladega, AL, 1986 – Won Georgia State Demolition Derby championship, 1987 – Competed in ARCA competition at Daytona, Atlanta, 1987 – Won 18 Super Late Model features at Dixie and Rome Speedways, including several 100 & 200 lap events – Qualified for first NASCAR Sprint Cup Series event driving for Henley Gray at Talladega in 1989 – Won features at North Georgia, Dixie and Rome – Won inaugural Hav-A-Tampa Shootout at Dixie in 1990 – Won Dixie track championship in 1994, with several major wins that year – Passed away on Jan. 10, 1999.
Bobby Johns – Miami, FL, relocated to Atlanta, GA – Long time competitor in north Georgia, winning several races at the Peach Bowl in Atlanta, GA – Raced at short tracks across Georgia and Florida – Won two NASCAR Grand National (now Sprint Cup) races, at Atlanta (1960) and Bristol (1962) – Recorded 21 top 5s, 36 top 10s, two poles between 956-1969 – First NASCAR driver to take a competitive lap at Indianapolis – Piloted Smokey Yunick’s famed Hurst Floor Shift Special in testing and qualifying for the 1964 Indy 500 – Twice raced in the Indy 500, finishing 7th in 1965 & 10th in 1969.
Warren Johnson – Buford, GA – NHRA Pro Stock racer, All Time Pro Stock winner, with 97 career wins, 151 career final round appearances. Six time NHRA Pro Stock champion (1992, 1993, 1995, 1998, 1999, and 2001). Set a career best speed and time in Gainesville, FL in 2012 (212.46). Was the first Pro Stock driver to surpass 180 mph (Fremont in 1982) and 190 mph (Indianapolis in 1986). Scored five wins in 11 final round appearances in 1991. That same year, raced in Japan, beating American and Japanese Pro Stock races. Became the first Pro Stock driver in history to exceed 200 mph (Richmond, 1997). Became the first driver in NHRA history to make a sub 6.9 second pass (6.894 seconds, Richmond). Won 56 elimination rounds, recorded top speed in 21 of 22 events, both in 1998. No. 1 qualifier at 15 events.
Jabez Jones – Toccoa, GA – Began racing in 1953, career would span some 30 years – Over 350 career wins – Set record at Anderson, SC, 18:60, in 1969, record stood 18 years – Won 17 straight events at Athens Speedway in 1970 – Won 14 straight wins at Anderson Speedway in 1971 – Won Sportsman Award at Anderson Speedway in 1971 – Instrumental in the careers of several drivers, including Herman Wise – One of the original organizers of Georgia-Carolina No. 1 Racing Association in 1973 – Competed against legendary drivers, such as Bud Lunsford, Charlie Mincey, Katron Sosebee, Tootle Estes, Bobby Allison, Donnie Allison, and Red Farmer.
Doug Kennimer – Dahlonega, GA – Famed dirt and asphalt driver, competed and beat such drivers as Buck Simmons and Bud Lunsford. Competed in coupes, Super Modifieds and Late Models all over the country, including Cumming Speedway, Atomic, Athens, Toccoa, and Lanier. Member of the National Dirt Late Model Hall of Fame. Won the World 100 at Eldora in 1972.
Ethel Flock Mobley – Atlanta, GA – Sister of GRHOF members Tim, Bob, and Fonty Flock – First female racecar driver to compete against men in the state of Georgia when she entered a race at Central City Park Speedway in Macon, Georgia – Was rated as the top woman driver in the southeastern United States, having won many competitions in all-women races – Two NASCAR Sprint Cup starts – Raced against her brothers Tim, Bob, and Fonty Flock at NASCAR’s second event ever on July 10, 1949 at the Daytona Beach Road Course. It was the first event to feature a brother and a sister, and the only NASCAR event to feature four siblings. Ethel beat Fonty and Bob by finishing eleventh, while Tim finished second – In June, 1949, entered a racing competition in Florida, competing against 57 men drivers. She finished in 8th place – Competed in over 100 NASCAR Modified events in her career- Passed away June 26, 1984.
Huston Platt – Buford, GA – Pilot of the famed Dixie Twister. Was a pioneer Funny Car racer in the mid to late 60’s. Competed in and won events all over the east coast and in the southeast. Would later take his restored Dixie Twister around the country on display and in exhibition runs. Was inducted in 2009 to the East Coast Drag Times Hall of Fame. Passed away Nov. 30, 2011.
Louise Smith – Barnesville, GA – Won 28 modified events – Won 18 races in midgets, late models or sportsman events – Began her racing career in 1949, competing in the NASCAR event on the Daytona Beach course – Competed in the first race to feature three female drivers (along with Ethel Mobley Flock and GRHOF member Sara Christian) – Competed from 1949 – 1956 – Became a car owner in 1971 for numerous drivers – Sponsored Ronnie Thomas’ NASCAR Rookie of the Year title in 1978 – Became the first woman to be inducted into the International Motorsports Hall of Fame in Talladega, AL in 1999. Died March 4, 2006.
Herman Wise – Toccoa, GA – Sprint Car Racer, car builder. Won the 1971 Little 500 in Anderson, IN. Won at Williams Grove and Sealinsgrove. Scored wins all over the southeast, including at the Peach Bowl, Athens Speedway, Jefco Speedway, and Toccoa in Sprints and Super Modifieds. Died in a traffic accident in Habersham County, GA in 2003.!/brandon.reed.3939 Brandon Reed


State seizes Dawsonville Pool Room

The future of a landmark Dawson County eatery is in doubt after the Georgia Department of Revenue seized the Dawsonville Pool Room at lunchtime Wednesday.
According to a notice posted on the front door of the downtown restaurant the seizure stems from nearly $84,000 in unpaid taxes and fees.
Employees and patrons said agents arrived at the Pool Room about noon Wednesday, ordered everyone out and took possession of the property.
The posted notice lists delinquent taxes totaling $43,612 dating back to April 2008. Another $40,000 is owed in penalties, interest and collection fees.
Gordon Pirkle, who has owned the Pool Room since the mid-1960s, was out of town at a funeral when authorities seized the restaurant and changed the locks on the doors.
Reached by phone later in the day, Pirkle said he had been working with the state to resolve the tax issue.
“I’m kind of shocked, because we’ve been working with them to get this resolved,” he said. “The last time we heard from them, they said we were down to about $30,000 we owed.”
Pirkle said the problems stem from issues he had with former accountant, Warren Pennington.
In 2010, Pennington was found guilty on several felony theft counts in connection with funneling client funds intended to pay income tax liabilities.
“We know we had money set aside to pay the taxes and Warren was supposed to be paying them,” he said. “We found some that we thought had been paid. We’ve been trying to work that all out.”
Pirkle said the state agents “took all the money from two register drawers and cleaned out the video gaming machines.” His current accountant is reviewing the case to determine how to proceed.
Jud Seymour, communications director for the department of revenue, said the next step would be for Pirkle to begin negotiations and maybe “set up a payment plan or an offer in compromise.”
“Once a compromise happens, they would be able to reopen the business,” he said.
Seymour acknowledged the Pool Room’s legacy and presence in the Dawsonville community.
“I understand it’s a pretty big deal up there,” he said.
A Dawsonville institution, the Pool Room pays homage to native son and NASCAR champion Bill Elliott, with news clippings lining the walls.
There are also Ford front bumpers suspending from the ceiling and a tire sitting next to the register from Elliott’s 1985 Southern 500 victory.
For Pirkle, the outpouring of support from the community Wednesday has been overwhelming.
“My phone has been ringing all day,” he said. “I appreciate all the support me and my family has received.”
The state is giving Pirkle the chance to return to the restaurant on Thursday to clear any perishable food from coolers.
Still, he’s concerned about his employees and the business.
“All together, this puts about 12 people out of work,” he said. “Plus having to close for even a few days or a week will kill you.”

POSTED:May 9, 2012 6:03 p.m.

Thursday, May 3, 2012

Happy Mother's Day!

Happy Mother's Day!
Daddy and Mama in their new Jim Walter home.

My Christian, classy mother who makes sure that every little dart in her blouse is pressed and that every hair is in place, and doesn't leave home without lipstick, surprised me to no end last weekend by telling my husband, Thomas, all of her memories of Saturday nights at the Athens Speedway. She told him of her dressing us up and washing our hair, only to come home with our clean clothes and hair caked in an inch of red dirt! My heart leaped for joy when I heard her using phrases like “the modifieds” and “the jeolopies!”
I remembered those things but I also remembered that on Sunday mornings we slept in, which today would never happen since God got in the middle of our lives when Mama made a commitment to Him during our high school years! However, it didn’t stop my first date ever from being to the Athens Speedway and my first date with my ex-husband was to the Athens Speedway.

Even though the Athens Speedway is gone, we made up for it on Sunday afternoons around my grandmother’s TV. She was the first in the neighborhood to hook up to cable so our family gathered around her TV to watch all the NASCAR races. Everyone lived within a rock’s throw from each other except my sister moved about 20 miles away but still close enough to come over and watch a race. My grandmother is gone now. My Dad died in 2008 and like I said, today is his birthday. We miss him so much. He loved all the Georgia racers - Bill Elliott, David Ragan, Reed Sorenson. He’d probably be pulling for Chase Elliott today. We are also missing my cousin, Wayne, who was like a brother. Dale Earnhardt was his favorite. My ex-husband died last year. His favorite was Bill Elliott and Kasey Kahne. Racing on Sundays just isn’t the same. I haven’t had TV in nearly 2 years. I dated a man I met at the Athens Speedway reunion in 2010. Once, I checked in at the Best Western and watched the Richmond race by myself.
My sister and I are grown and married with our own children and my mother still says she just can’t believe she had raised two daughters who are race fans! Mama may see me as a little different these days. I can slow down and smell the roses!  I suppose that when I really got serious about my life, some of the hobbies and past times started falling away and I got a taste of what I really loved – the outdoors, gardening, hummingbirds, deer in the back yard, cooking, and loving Thomas!
Mother mother in the middle with Wayne beside her. Little girl from next door.
Here’s something going around on Facebook that brought me to tears. Dedicated to my mother: 

Letter from a Mother to a Daughter: "My dear girl, the day you see I’m getting ...old, I ask you to please be patient, but most of all, try to understand what I’m going through. If when we talk, I repeat the same thing a thousand times, don’t interrupt to say: “You said the same thing a minute ago”... Just listen, please. Try to remember the times when you were little and I would read the same story night after night until you would fall asleep. When I don’t want to take a bath, don’t be mad and don’t embarrass me. Remember when I had to run after you making excuses and trying to get you to take a shower when you were just a girl? When you see how ignorant I am when it comes to new technology, give me the time to learn and don’t look at me that way... remember, honey, I patiently taught you how to do many things like eating appropriately, getting dressed, combing your hair and dealing with life’s issues every day... the day you see I’m getting old, I ask you to please be patient, but most of all, try to understand what I’m going through. If I occasionally lose track of what we’re talking about, give me the time to remember, and if I can’t, don’t be nervous, impatient or arrogant. Just know in your heart that the most important thing for me is to be with you. And when my old, tired legs don’t let me move as quickly as before, give me your hand the same way that I offered mine to you when you first walked. When those days come, don’t feel sad... just be with me, and understand me while I get to the end of my life with love. I’ll cherish and thank you for the gift of time and joy we shared. With a big smile and the huge love I’ve always had for you, I just want to say, I love you... my darling daughter. "
Papa George, my daughter, Holly, & Big Mama at Holly's Graduation!