Category Archives: Columns

‘Buck’ Not About The Bucks; He Was About The Wins

Georgia Racing Hall of Famer Buck Simmons passed away on Aug. 12. Photo courtesy GRHOF

By Rick Minter-Guest Contributor
Posted in Columns 8/17/12

When the news came that Charles Leroy “Buck” Simmons, one of the greatest short track drivers who ever lived, had died at the relatively young age of 66, my mind wandered back to a Friday night some years back, to a race at a track called Highway 106 Speedway in the north Georgia town of Carnesville.

I was there to do a story on Buck, whom I’d known for years. He was closing in on 1,000 career feature wins.

The History of Lakewood Speedway

Lloyd Seay won the first Stock Car race held at Atlanta’s Lakewood Speedway in 1938. Photo courtesy Eddie Samples

By Cody Dinsmore-Guest Contributor
Posted in Columns 8/10/12

In 1875, while the state of Georgia was still in the “reconstruction” phase after Sherman practically burned down the majority of the state just 11 years before, a place called Lakewood was built. Its purpose was to provide water from the man-made lake to most of the Atlanta area.  It wasn’t until around 1915 that things got interesting. In 1914, the fairground buildings were built for the Southeastern Fair that took place every fall. In 1916, automobiles started to round the one-mile Lakewood Speedway facility. 15 years after the first American car race in which Henry Ford won, large, Indy-type race cars raced at Lakewood for the first time. Before this, Horse-Racing was popular in the late 1800’s and early 1900’s, but was never taken to the next level.

Race Fans, Race Tracks Ready For Action In Georgia

Fans turned out in droves for Speedfest earlier this year at Watermelon Capital Speedway in Cordele, GA. Photo by Allen Hastings / Southern Race Week Radio

By Brandon Reed
Posted in Columns 4/7/12

It’s time to go short track racing again in the Peach State.

Over the last few weeks, several Georgia short tracks have gotten their seasons underway, including Senoia Raceway in Senoia, GA, and Watermelon Capital Speedway in Cordele, GA.  Gresham Motorsports Park in Jefferson, GA gets their season started this weekend, in fact.

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.

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.

Petty’s 1988 Crash Marked Memorable Daytona 500

Richard Petty's Pontiac gets airborne after being tagged by Phil Barkdoll (73) and A.J. Foyt during the running of the 1988 Daytona 500. Photo courtesy the Andy Towler collection

By Brandon Reed
Posted in Columns 2/17/12

Though it occurred over two decades ago, I can still remember how it all unfolded like it was yesterday.

It was February 14, 1988.  My family and I had gathered to watch the 30th running of the Daytona 500 on television.

Thoughts on 2011 With 2012 Coming Up Fast

Brandon Reed

Brandon Reed

By Brandon Reed
Posted in Columns 12/30/11

With the New Year now upon us, it’s time to take a moment and thing back to some of the things that occurred during the 2011 racing season.

It was, without a doubt, one of the most interesting seasons in recent memory.  From the short tracks to the super speedways, it was certainly one to remember.

Let’s start with NASCAR.  Nobody knew what to expect in Daytona when a rookie scored his first win in his first start in the biggest race of the year.  Piloting the famed Wood Brothers’ Ford, Trevor Bayne shocked the racing world by putting the No. 21 in victory lane.

NASCAR’s New Season Didn’t Always Wait For The New Year

Brandon Reed

Brandon Reed

By Brandon Reed
Posted in Columns 12/16/11

With the big raceways sitting silent and fans counting the days to the start of the major racing seasons, the question comes to mind as to just why we see so little racing in the winter months.

The obvious first answer is the weather.  Traditionally, NASCAR and other larger touring series have always taken the winter months off to keep teams and fans from having to deal with cold winter weather.

‘Twister’ Driver Found Peace At The End

Georgia's Huston Platt poses with his Funny Car, the restored Dixie Twister. Photo courtesy Racin'

By Rick Minter-Guest Contributor
Posted in Columns 12/9/11

The phone call on Wednesday, Nov. 30 from Rocky Platt brought sad news. His father Huston Platt, the pioneering drag racer, had died at his Buford, Ga., home. He was 79 years old.

I’d heard of Huston Platt for years, but never actually talked to him until a few years ago, when Rocky invited me to their home to see the “Dixie Twister”, Platt’s old Funny Car that had been tracked down in Nova Scotia and restored by one of his former crew members, Randall Davis.

Dave Wiley – A True Friend To Georgia Racing

Brandon Reed

Brandon Reed

By Brandon Reed
Posted in Columns 11/25/11

It’s not been very often that a good, solid friendship between the Georgia racing scene and television has come together.

That has not been the case, however, when it comes to Dave Wiley and this Commerce, Georgia based TV station, JBTV-54.

Dave’s channel has become a favorite of the locals in and around north Georgia.  While it is carried solely on Windstream cable, Dave sends his programming all over north Georgia, including high school football, gospel music programs and other local based programming, including races from Gresham Motorsports Park.

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