Monthly Archives March 2012

Martinsville Was A Great Place For The Georgia Gang

1960 Sprint Cup Champ and GRHOF member Rex White was the last Georgia racer to win at Martinsville Speedway. Photo courtesy GRHOF

By Brandon Reed
Posted in Columns 3/31/12

With the NASCAR Sprint Cup and Camping World Truck series heading into the legendary Martinsville Speedway in Virginia this weekend, it makes one think about the history of such a famed place.

Of course, when I think of racing history, my mind always turns to the Georgia Gang, and the impact that drivers from the Peach State have had on certain venues.

Billie Hester And The Cherokee Garage

Billie Hester (left) and Gober Sosebee (right) following a win at Daytona Beach in 1950. Both are now in the Georgia Racing Hall of Fame.

By Eddie Samples
Posted in Feature Stories 3/24/12

Georgia’s Billie “Sunday” Hester was named after the famous American evangelist Billy Sunday, whose preaching against the selling of liquor made him a major player in the passage of the Eighteenth Amendment (prohibition) in 1919.

Our Billie Sunday lives by the same ethics…to a degree.

Ronnie Lieupo – South Georgia Racer And Jokester

Ronnie Lieupo sits in his father’s 1935 Chevrolet powered by Ford at the Thunderbowl Speedway.

By Mike Bell
Posted in Feature Stories 3/16/12

Whenever you ask someone about Ronnie Lieupo, they immediately start smiling and remember a joke he told them or pulled on some unsuspecting racer. But don’t think Ronnie isn’t a serious racer. Once he got to drive he would be up front with any of the great drivers in South Georgia or North Florida. We say “once” because Ronnie has been around racing since he was born.

Ronnie remembered when he got directly involved in racing.

Charlie Burkhalter – A Family Man

Charlie Burkhalter poses with his restored skeeter at the 2010 Athens Speedway reunion. Photo by Brandon Reed

By Mike Bell
Posted in Feature Stories 3/10/12

A couple of weeks before Christmas in 2009, they had a wedding anniversary in Shake Rag, GA. Of course, I got lost and was late. It was almost dark when we arrived. Our host, Charlie Burkhalter, Jr., directed us to a parking space and said he was going to get the trailer. I knew what he was talking about. Everybody there knew what he was talking about but his father, former famed Athens racing driver Charlie Burkhalter, Sr. You see that was the surprise!

Could Tracks Like ‘The Big O’ Still Disappear Today?

The Ontario Motor Speedway, located east of Los Angeles, CA, was a 2.5 mile super speedway that hosted NASCAR and IndyCar events. It was considered the sister track to the Indianapolis Motor Speedway.

By Brandon Reed
Posted in Columns 3/3/12

Georgia racing historian Mike Bell has been doing a lot of research into a couple of stories that have connections to the old Atlanta Motordrome, which was located just south of Atlanta.

The track, constructed in 1908-09, was a massive 2 mile oval that drew some of the finest drivers of the day.  It had amenities that no other track had ever dreamed of, and, had it survived, it surely would have rivaled the legendary Indianapolis Motor Speedway in racing history.

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