Lloyd Seay Comes To Town
The Georgia Gang came back to the beach in 1941.
Among the gang this year was Lightnin’ Lloyd Seay, from Dawsonville, Georgia, cousin to Roy Hall and Raymond Parks.
Seay had honed his skills behind the wheel of a whiskey car hurtling down historic highway 9 from Dawsonville to Atlanta. Seay won the first stock car event entered by Raymond Parks at Atlanta’s Lakewood Speedway back in 1938. Over the next two yeas, he would establish himself as the man to beat, winning at Deland Florida, Greensboro, High Point and elsewhere.
Roy Hall was back after a stint in the penitentiary, and was eager to show that his time away had not diminished his driving abilities when he took the green flag in the March 2, 1941 event on the beach. Broad sliding through the south turn, Hall passed pole sitter Bill France Sr., who was also driving a Raymond Parks owned Ford, to take the early lead.
He would control the first part of the race, but the fans were all watching Lloyd Seay.
The Dawsonville speedster had flipped his car in qualifying, but had still managed to start in the 12th position. Seay worked his way to the front, passing his opponents in the turns. On several occasions, he did so while his car bicycled up on two wheels in front of the fans.
Seay took the lead when Hall made a pit stop on lap 35. Four laps later, Seay lost that lead when his car flipped side over side in the North turn.
Seay’s car was turned upright by a group of fans, and he took off back into the race. Through it all, he stayed in the top five.
In the closing laps, Seay was pushing hard to try to make up for lost time. As he sailed into the north turn, his car again lifted up onto two wheels. The 21-year old refused to crack the throttle as he tried to set the car back down. Instead, it caught a rut, sending his Ford tumbling again. It was the third flip of the weekend and the second of the day for Seay.
But again, he refused to quit, and charged back out into the fray.
Meanwhile, Hall picked up his second win on the Beach by a half lap over Smokey Purser.
Purser would deny the Georgia Gang in the March 30 event at the beach, with Hall finishing third. But the Peach State would again be victorious on July 27.
Florida’s Bill Snowdon was leading the event with three laps to go when a cut tire sent him to the pits. That put Dawsonville, Georgia native Bernard Long into the lead. It was only Long’s second race, his first having come at Lakewood Speedway in Atlanta. The 28-year old took the win, and never again raced an automobile. After years of running illegal whiskey, Long took his winnings and went back home to become a successful legitimate businessman for the rest of his life.
It wasn’t all roses for the Georgia Gang, however. While fighting for position, Roy Hall made contact with Atlanta racer Fonty Flock. Flock’s Ford was sent out of control in the South turn, turning end over end down the beach.
Flock was badly injured, suffering a broken pelvis, a crushed chest and severe back injuries. It would put Flock out of the cockpit for the rest of the year.
Lloyd Seay, meanwhile, suffered another somersault on the beach, this time flipping in the north turn on the opening lap of the event. Seay’s Ford landed on its wheels and he continued. Seay would bicycle the car several times through the event in the turns, and would manage to finish fourth.
Things hadn’t gone as well as had been expected for Seay in that event, but when the next event was held at the beach on August 24, things came together for the Dawsonville racer.
After starting in the 15th position, Seay made a hard and smooth charge on the drop of the green flag, and by the time the field had completed the first lap, Seay had put his Raymond Parks owned Ford in the top position.
He would go on to lead every lap of the 50-lap event, winning by a margin of three and a half miles.
Two weeks later, Seay was shot to death by his cousin, Woodrow Anderson, in a disagreement over sugar for the family moonshine still near Dawsonville. His death occurred just hours after winning the Labor Day event at Atlanta’s Lakewood Speedway. Seay was 21 years old.
In November, a memorial event would be held in Seay’s honor at Lakewood. Drivers included Roy Hall and Bill France Sr. It was won by Jap Brogdon of nearby Chamblee, Georgia.
The event was run just prior to the bombing of Pearl Harbor, which brought an end to auto racing for the next four years.
The Georgia Gang’s next assault on the beach would have to wait.