Memories Of Athens Speedway Live On

The Athens Speedway in Athens, GA, seen here from 1966,closed in 1992, but lives on in the memories of those that will gather at the third annual Athens Speedway Reunion this weekend.

By Brandon Reed
Posted in Feature Stories 4/14/12

It’s been almost 20 years since the lights went out for the final time at one of the most popular and successful short tracks in Georgia history.

The Athens Speedway, located on old Jimmie Daniel Road in Athens, Georgia, saw its final race in 1992 after over 30 years of action.  Today, the track sits abandoned, mostly forgotten by people in Athens.

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.

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.

Drivers From Dawsonville Have Dominated Daytona

Gober Sosebee races his Ford down the beach. Sosebee, was one of five drivers from Dawsonville, Georgia, to score a win at Daytona.

By Brandon Reed
Posted in Feature Stories 2/24/12

Some say it may be something in the water.  Other say it has something to do with what they make out of the water.

Regardless, the little town of Dawsonville, Georgia, nestled in the mountains of North Georgia, holds a distinction that few other single towns can claim.

It is the hometown of no less than five Daytona winners, between the beach years and the years at Daytona International Speedway.

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.

Long Lost NASCAR Tucker Lost No Longer

A look at the famed NASCAR Tucker as it sits out front of Joe Nagel Jr. Motor Sales in Pittsburgh, PA. The car was piloted at Canfield Motor Speedway in Canfield, Ohio by Joe Merola. Photo courtesy Tom Merola

By Brandon Reed
Posted in Feature Stories 2/10/12

Just over two years ago, we posted a story at Georgia Racing about various interesting and odd cars that have competed in NASCAR over the years.

Far and away the portion of the story that got the most attention was the section on the only 1948 Tucker Torpedo to compete in NASCAR.  The rare vehicle made its appearance in a 200-lap event on May 30, 1950.

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