Welcome to Georgia Racing History.com! The purpose of GRH.com is to tell the stories of Georgia’s rich racing past without the usual PR spin that we see coming from some racing sanctioning bodies today.
Georgia has played a major role in the history of motorsports in the country. Some of the earliest major auto races occurred in Savannah, as the Vanderbilt Cup was held in the city from 1908-1911, with legendary racers such as Louis Chevrolet and Ralph DePalma taking part. Atlanta was the scene of one of the fist major super speedways in the nation, as the Atlanta Motordrome was built by Asa Chandler in 1910. Ray Harroun, who would go on to win the first Indianapolis 500, won at the 2-mile facility located where Hartsfield-Jackson Airport is today.
Barney Oldfield and Ralph DePalma held a “World’s Dirt Track Champion” event at Atlanta’s Lakewood Speedway in 1917.
Indy cars, AAA midgets, drag racers, motorcycle races and even speedboats have raced in Georgia.
And then, of course, there’s stock car racing, which was born in the north Georgia hills around Dawsonville.
NASCAR’s P.R. department would have you believe something along these lines:
In the beginning, there was no stock car racing. Then, Big Bill France held his arms aloft, and said, “Let there be NASCAR.” And it was. And it was good.
Well, that’s just hogwash. One of the first major organized stock car races was held at Lakewood in 1938, a good ten years prior to NASCAR’s formation.
Incidentally, it was Atlanta mechanic Red Vogt that named NASCAR.
So, now you see what we’re up to here. We plan to tell the real stories behind Georgia’s racing history, and the effect it’s had on the racing world. We’ll do this through the use of feature stories, columns (which will be about a lot of different topics, including some non-Georgia history items) and other stories that come our way.
Some of our stories will come from the archives of the Pioneer Pages newsletter, thanks to historians Mike Bell and Eddie Samples. We also plan to give you a look at some of the great racetracks around the state that are no longer with us.
So, that’s what you’re in for. Buckle up and enjoy the ride!
-Brandon Reed – Editor, Publisher
Brandon Reed-Editor, Publisher – Brandon Reed is an award-winning writer and freelance motorsports journalist. Reed had previously worked in radio and at newspapers across north Georgia, carving a niche as an auto racing writer and reporter.
An avid fan of racing history, Reed began working as a volunteer for the Georgia Racing Hall of Fame in 2007, and continues to work to help promote the Hall and Georgia racing history.
Mike Bell-Writer, Historian – Mike Bell is one of the founders of GARHOFA, the Georgia Auto Racing Hall of Fame Association, INC. Bell currently serves as the CEO and historian of the group. The native of Jacksonville, Florida also serves with several other racing Hall of Fame and historic groups, including the National Sprint Car Hall of Fame in Knoxville, Iowa.
Bell’s knowledge and enthusiasm for the history of the sport has been invaluable in helping to preserve our racing heritage for future generations.
Eddie Samples-Writer, Historian – Eddie Samples is the son of champion stock car racer and Georgia Hall of Fame member Ed Samples. Eddie did not know his father was a two time national champion until after his father passed away in 1991. Learning that launched him into doing research into racing, and has led him to become one of the premier authorities of early stock car racing in the state of Georgia.
Since learning of his father’s racing history, Eddie has had all of his father’s trophies (which were stored in the family’s attic for years) restored. One of his proudest possessions is a jacket his dad wore when he drove for Cosby Hodges at Birmingham. The jacket hangs in a place of honor in Eddie’s office.
“Eddie is one of the nicest human beings in the world,” said GARHOFA CEO Mike Bell.
Suzanne Reed-Graphics – Suzanne Reed is designer of many of the graphics you see at GRH.com. A graduate of Piedmont College, Suzanne is a freelance graphic designer and photo technician.
She has done freelance graphic design work as well, designing logos for the Southern Pro Late Model Series, and doing graphics work for Gresham Motorsports Park. She has recently worked for the city of Dawsonville, Georgia on the inductee panel for the 2009 Georgia Racing Hall of Fame inductees, as well as the calendar for the 2009 Mountain Moonshine Festival.
Suzanne has also recently launched her own graphic design website, Purple Sheep Graphics.com.
Suzanne is an animal enthusiast and also makes homemade craft items.
Kathy Wilson-Proof Reader – Kathy Wilson has been kind enough to loan GRH.com her services as a freelance proofreader. An avid soccer fan, Wilson became interested in Georgia’s racing history while helping to proof racing related articles. During the day, Wilson works in the front office at MainStreet News. Her help and advice have been invaluable to this website.
Patrick Aikens-Technical Advisor – Without the help of computer guru Patrick Aikens, this website would not exist as you see it today. A Georgia Tech grad, Aikens spent several years in Arizona developing video games, and currently works in the Atlanta area. His help and advice have proven to be invaluable to this website.
Questions, comments, suggestions? Email us!
This website is not affiliated with or endorsed by the Georgia Racing Hall of Fame or the Georgia Auto Racing Hall of Fame Association, Inc. All content is the intellectual property of the individual authors. All opinions are those of the individual authors. Please do not repost images or text without permission.