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No. 24 teams hopes to deliver on Sunday at Dover
Can Jeff Gordon and company find the last piece of the puzzle Sunday so their day ends in Victory Lane after the FedEx 400 benefiting Autism Speaks at Dover International Speedway?
While Gordon won the season finale at Homestead-Miami Speedway last year marking his 87th career NASCAR Sprint Cup victory, he has yet to secure a win this year. Accidents, part failures or other issues have ruined potential strong finishes in the first dozen races of 2013. Last weekend at Charlotte, Gordon had moved up to third before an ill-timed caution and pit stop cost him a lap. It later cost him a car after he was involved in a multi-car accident.
"It just hasn't all come together yet," said Gordon. "If we keep having strong cars and running in the top five each week, we'll battle for wins."
The four-time NASCAR Cup Series champion appeared to be in that position here last year. Gordon led 60 laps, but an unscheduled pit stop for a loose wheel ultimately cost him a lap. He recovered to finish 13th at the one-mile concrete track.
"Dover has high speeds with high-banked turns and high-banked straightaways, as well," said Gordon, who will drive a specially painted No. 24 AARP Credit Cards from Chase Chevrolet SS this weekend. "Here, just like Darlington, you have to really respect the race track.
"You can't get too caught up in racing the competition. If you get track position, you have to try to maintain it. Survival and having a good car here are very important, though."
In 40 starts at "The Monster Mile," Gordon has four wins, four poles, 15 top-fives and 22 top-10's. But he knows the Delaware track earned its moniker for a reason.
"It's a track where you're on the edge," said Gordon, who is 15th in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series point standings. "There's not a lot of room for error.
"It can happen by itself. On your own, you can break your car loose and find yourself in trouble - and it's hard to recover. Usually when you have a problem, you're in the wall.
"And the same thing when you're in a group. If it happens as a group, there is going to be a big wreck.
Hal Martin: Charlotte Motor Speedway Post-Race
Girl Friday PR
Germán Quiroga Dover International Speedway Advance
THE ONLY SURE THING ABOUT LUCK IS THAT IT WILL CHANGE: The three-time Mexico Series champion Germán Quiroga will enter the sixth NASCAR Camping World Truck series race this season at Dover International Speedway. The Rookie of the Year contender has found exceptional speed in his No. 77 NET10 Wireless Toyota Tundra but anxiously awaits his first win in one of NASCAR's premier series.
With eight wins on the NASCAR Mexico Series short tracks, Quiroga anticipates the 'Monster Mile' with pure excitement and determination. Quiroga made his Truck Series debut at the 1.06-mile track of New Hampshire Motor Speedway where he earned a 16th-place finish.
HAPPY BIRTHDAY: Germán Quiroga will celebrate his 33rd Birthday on Wednesday, May 29th. Be sure to follow @gerspeed1 on Twitter to wish him a 'Happy Birthday'.
NET10 WIRELESS®: The Truck Series returns to action at Dover International Speedway and so does NET10 Wireless as primary sponsor on German Quiroga's No. 77 Toyota Tundra. The no contract cell phone leader will continue its support as primary or associate sponsor for the remainder of the season. For more information on NET10 Wireless, visit www.NET10Wireless.com.
CHASSIS HISTORY: Quiroga will pilot Chassis No. 002 this weekend at Dover International Speedway. This chassis was raced at Martinsville Speedway in April where Quiroga qualified fifth. In 2012 the truck saw action at Rockingham Speedway, Martinsville Speedway and Phoenix International Raceway and had its best finish (3rd) at Iowa Speedway in the series second visit to the track.
MEET & GREET: Quiroga, along with teammates Timothy Peters and John Wes Townley will head to the Lucas Oil display in the FanZone outside turn four after qualifying on Friday, May 31st from 1:30 - 2:15 for a Truck Series autograph session.
REARVIEW MIRROR - CHARLOTTE: The No. 77 NET10 Wireless Toyota Tundra team was forced to start in the rear of the field at Charlotte Motor Speedway after fixing right rear damage from contact with the wall during Quiroga's qualifying lap. The team rallied to fix the NET 10 Wireless Tundra in time for the green flag. Early on, Quiroga made contact with another competitor sustaining right side damage. Quiroga was forced to pit road where his team rallied once again to put the NET10 Wireless Tundra back out on the track. As Quiroga was making his way back to the pack, he cut down a right front tire and slammed into the wall in turn three ending their night.
Germán Quiroga on Dover International Speedway:
Your crew chief Dan Stillman has had multiple top-five and top-10 finishes at Dover. What advice has he given you about the 'Monster Mile'?
"Dover seems like a very tough track. But that's the type of track that I like. It's really banked and concrete instead of pavement. I think we are getting faster and faster each time we are at the race track or testing, so my goal for the weekend is to complete all the laps in my NET10 Wireless Toyota Tundra and hopefully bring home a top-10 or better top-five finish.
Your teammate Timothy Peters mentioned that Dover is intimidating for first timers. Are you intimidated by the 'Monster Mile?'
"No. The majority of the tracks this season have been my first visit. I'm pretty sure I am going to like it right away and feel comfortable. Hopefully we can gain speed during practice and learn more about my Tundra and be ready for qualifying and the race."
Timothy Peters Dover International Speedway Advance
TURNAROUND TIME: The 2013 NASCAR Camping World Truck Series season has seen its ups and downs for Timothy Peters and his No. 17 Parts Plus Toyota Tundra. Friday evening, Peters will take on the 1-mile oval of Dover International Speedway in hopes to capture the win that will turn his season around. In five wins, Peters has collected four of those victories on tracks less than 1-mile in length including Martinsville Speedway, Lucas Oil Raceway (formerly International Raceway Park), Iowa Speedway and Bristol Motor Speedway. The 'Monster Mile' is his to tame on Friday evening.
PARTS PLUS: Timothy Peters' No. 17 Toyota Tundra will again proudly represent Parts Plus at Dover International Speedway featuring their orange and red color paint scheme. Parts Plus has served as the primary sponsor for the first five races of the season. The Memphis-based warehouse distributor originated more than 56 years ago tracing back to a series of jobber programs. Since 2005, Parts Plus has been a member of the Automotive Distribution Network that has over 300 member distributors under five brand names and from over 400 separate warehouses across the United States, Mexico, Canada and Puerto Rico. For more information on Parts Plus and locations near you, visit PartsPlus.com.
CHASSIS HISTORY: Timothy Peters and his No. 17 Toyota Tundra team will utilize Chassis No. 010 this weekend at Dover International Speedway. The chassis was most recently raced at Kansas Speedway where Peters collected his first top-10 finish of the season. Since Kansas, this brand new chassis had vital testing time during a two-day test at Texas Motor Speedway as well as spending time at the wind tunnel.
MEET & GREET: Peters, along with teammates John Wes Townley and German Quiroga will head to the Lucas Oil display in the FanZone outside turn four after qualifying on Friday, May 31st from 1:30 - 2:15 for a Truck Series autograph session.
REARVIEW MIRROR - CHARLOTTE: Timothy Peters qualified third for the NC Education Lottery 200 at Charlotte Motor Speedway and was battling for the lead before he brought his Parts Plus Toyota Tundra to pit road for early adjustments. The stop put Peters in seventh place but that didn't stop Peters. From there, he worked his way back to the front and was battling for the race lead. During the lap 84 caution, Peters visited pit road when he hit another truck as he was coming out of his pit box and had to return to fix the damage. He restarted 19th but quickly brought his Tundra behind the wall to assure there would be no further damage. The No. 17 Parts Plus Toyota Tundra finished 26th, 12 laps down.
Timothy Peters on Dover International Speedway:
What is it about short track racing that fits your driving style? Four of your five wins are on tracks under 1-mile.
"I look at Dover kind of like a big Orange County Speedway - fast, high banked. I've had a lot of success with my late model at Orange County. It's something about the G forces in the corner and how fast you can hustle the Parts Plus Toyota Tundra at a mile race track. You wouldn't think what you could do what's being done speed wise. It's an intimidating racetrack if you've never been there before but it's a fun track to race."
What is it about Dover that gets drivers and the fans excited?
"It's exciting for me as a driver because it's like a roller coaster. You're driving off down a hill and then up out of a hill. There is just so much movement with the truck going into turn one especially because the track just feels like it falls out underneath you. A fans perspective - if you are standing on the infield down in the corner, the track is above you. It doesn't matter if it is a NASCAR Camping World Truck, Nationwide Series Car, or Sprint Cup Series car the sensation of speed coming into the corner is amazing."
John Wes Townley Dover International Speedway Advance
DRIVER FAVORITE: If you ask Red Horse Racing driver John Wes Townley what one of his favorite race tracks is, he will reply Dover International Speedway. With the 2013 NASCAR Camping World Truck Series season five races in, the 23 year-old driver has had many positive experiences with his No. 7 Zaxby's Toyota Tundra team and looks forward to adding to them at Dover.
TRIPLE THREAT AT DOVER: Crew chief Mike Beam is a four-time winner at Dover International Speedway and has captured a win in each of NASCAR's three premier series as crew chief. Beam earned the Cup Series win with driver Bill Elliott in 1990 where they were able to win after starting on the pole. It was 2006 when Mark Martin was coached by Beam into victory lane in the Truck Series. And in 2011, Beam went back-to-back with Carl Edwards in the Nationwide Series winning both races at Dover that season, where they started from first and second respectively.
NEW AT ZAXBY'S: Zaxby's, a southeast favorite for chicken fingers and wings, has been indescribably good for more than 20 years. The Athens, Georgia based chain offers its guests prepared-at-order Chicken Fingerz, Traditional or Boneless Wings, sandwiches, Zalads and Zappetizers, along with a variety of nine sauces ranging from Wimpy and Tongue Torch to Nuclear and Insane. Capturing the essence of a southern classic, guests can now enjoy Zaxby's new Banana Pudding Milkshake for a limited time. It's just the treat to complement Zaxby's House Zalad, a popular menu item with mansion-sized flavor. The company operates more than 570 locations in 13 states. John Wes Townley will compete with Zaxby's serving as primary sponsor for the entire 22 Truck Series race schedule. For more information, please visit zaxbys.com, facebook.com/zaxbys or follow on Twitter @Zaxbys.
CHASSIS HISTORY: The No. 7 Zaxby's Toyota Tundra team will utilize Chassis No. 001 on Friday night at Dover International Speedway. Chassis 001 collected four consecutive top-five finishes on intermediate tracks in 2012 at Michigan International Speedway, Atlanta Motor Speedway, Kentucky Speedway and Texas Motor Speedway.
MEET & GREET: Townley, along with teammates Timothy Peters and German Quiroga will head to the Lucas Oil display in the FanZone outside turn four after qualifying on Friday, May 31st from 1:30 - 2:15 for a Truck Series autograph session.
REARVIEW MIRROR - CHARLOTTE: The shining star for the Red Horse lineup was John Wes Townley and his No. 7 Zaxby's Toyota Tundra at Charlotte Motor Speedway. Townley drove a masterful race after starting in the 18th position and drove into the top-10, collecting an 8th place finish which tied his previous career high NASCAR Camping World Truck Series captured at Pocono Raceway in August 2012.
John Wes Townley on Dover International Speedway:
What is it about Dover that makes it one of your favorite tracks?
"I love the speed. I've always enjoyed racing at Bristol and before I raced at Dover I thought man Bristol would be a lot more fun if the straight-aways were longer. So running at Dover, it was like my dream came true. The speed really hustles your Toyota Tundra. I'm really looking forward to continuing our progress on this Zaxby's team.
Your Crew Chief Mike Beam has a win in every series at Dover. Does that give you more confidence heading into the weekend?
"I don't have any expectations, but he does help me a lot as far as confidence goes and him having the experience and knowledge to help out. I think we will definitely be able to put that knowledge to use and it'll be a great weekend for our Zaxby's Toyota Tundra."
Every year on Memorial Day weekend, three of the biggest motorsports events - Formula1 at Monaco, IndyCar at Indianapolis, and the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series at Charlotte Motor Speedway - take place across the globe, creating a special day for teams and fans alike. After watching fellow GEICO Racing driver Tony Kanaan win the historic Indianapolis 500, Casey Mears and the No. 13 GEICO team looked to record a solid performance in the longest race of their 2013 season. Despite two pit road penalties and a brush with the wall in the first 115 laps, the Germain Racing team battled back to finish in the 23rd position.
The Coca-Cola 600 race weekend kicked off on Thursday as Mears took to the 1.5-mile track for practice and qualifying. After a 27th-place effort in the opening practice session, the GEICO crew made changes to the car prior to qualifying. The set-up tweaks significantly helped the Ford Fusion during time trials, as Mears laid down a lap of 28.142 seconds while the sun was still heating the track. A traditional off-day on Friday allowed the team additional preparations before returning to the track on Saturday for two final practices. The Germain Racing team, led by Crew Chief Bootie Barker, completed their sessions in the 16th and 15th positions, respectively.
Mears knows what it takes to win the longest event of the year - 400 laps, 600 miles - as the California native took home the trophy in 2007. Positive outlooks were seen throughout the GEICO pit stall prior to the green flag, but shortly after the race started, trouble struck the No. 13 team. As Mears came in to make his first scheduled green flag pit stop, the GEICO Ford Fusion was caught speeding, placing a pass through penalty on the team. While the problem was still being diagnosed, NASCAR informed the team that Mears was also speeding on his pass through penalty, causing him to make a stop-and-go penalty. With both of these penalties happening under green flag conditions, Mears was scored in the 40th position when the dust settled.
Unfortunately the trouble didn't stop there for Mears. On lap 115, the veteran driver made contact with the outside wall bringing out the caution. Minor damage could be seen on the GEICO Ford and the crew quickly made the repairs on pit road before returning to the track. A strange turn of events happened once the field went back to racing, as the TV camera over the frontstretch broke a cable, leaving the wire across the race track. Numerous cars, including Mears, ran over the cable causing damage to all involved. While repairs were made to the cable, NASCAR brought out a 15-minute red flag period and allowed teams to make any necessary repairs to the cars. This opportunity gave the crew time to make changes to help Mears when racing resumed.
Despite the uphill battle, the GEICO Racing team never gave up. Green flag conditions returned on lap 131 with Mears in 39th-place. Over the next 130 laps, Barker used pit road strategy to regain positions on the track and Mears continued to drive his Fusion with determination. By lap 260, the No. 13 GEICO Ford had picked up five positions to return to the top-35. As the race began to wind down, the action on the track heated up, as fellow competitors wrecked twice directly in front of Mears. By missing the spins in front of his windshield, Mears was scored in 22nd-place by lap 360.
Over the final 40 laps, Mears and the GEICO team continued their fight before crossing the finish line in the 23rd position. While this was not the finish the team had originally hoped for, focus and determination allowed Mears and his No. 13 GEICO Ford Fusion to gain positions and record their sixth top-25 performance of the season.
Next week, Mears and the GEICO Racing team head to Dover, Delaware for a meeting with the Monster Mile. The FedEx 400 benefiting Autism Speaks at Dover International Speedway will begin at 1 PM Eastern Time on Sunday, June 2nd. The race will be televised live on FOX, while the Motor Racing Network (MRN) will carry the live radio broadcast.
Max Gresham has been waiting for nearly two weeks to get behind the wheel of his Eddie Sharp Racing (ESR) Chevrolet.
For the driver of the No. 8 Trimmer Assist Chevrolet, two weeks is forever, as he has been eager to race again in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series (NCWTS) after finishing third at the Charlotte Motor Speedway on May 17.
"Sometimes the hardest thing is waiting for the next race, especially when you have a lot of momentum and confidence like we have right now at Eddie Sharp Racing as a team," Gresham said. "It's only been two weeks since our last race, but when you're as excited as we are to keep it going, it seems like it's been two months."
Another reason why Gresham's team is excited to be racing in the Lucas Oil 200 at the Dover International Speedway is that the track presents many of the same challenges as Charlotte. Both tracks have 24-degree banking. Both tracks require an ever-changing set-up. Both tracks demand the very best of both driver and team. However, only one is considered the "Monster Mile."
"We worked hard on our setup for Charlotte and it really paid off," crew chief Chris Showalter said. "We focused a lot on the way our Chevrolet Silverado gets through the second and fourth turns. When you're able to be on the gas pedal, and not on the brakes, on the exits, you've already got a running start down the straightaways.
"We know what our trucks like, and we know how to make them turn. That experience will be invaluable for Friday's race."
In one career start at Dover in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series (NCWTS), the Milner, Georgia, native finished 30th as a mid-race incident took his Joe Denette machine out of contention at the 1-mile track. Gresham started 14th in the 2012 event - his best short track qualifying attempt.
The track also sparks other special memories for the 20-year-old driver. He clinched the NASCAR K&N Pro Series East championship at the "Monster Mile" in 2011.
"I have very positive memories at Dover," Gresham said. "It's always good to come back to a place where you have some experience, even if we're a young team overall. When I ran the last race of the 2011 K&N season at Dover, I led 39 laps and finished third in the race."
The challenge now is to create even better memories there, and one of the steps to do so is with a new look and partner.
Gresham will debut a new primary partner in Trimmer Assist. Gresham's Chevrolet will feature a green and blue fading paint scheme with a silver trimmer on both sides of the car and red trimmer string intertwining with the paint scheme.
"This has been one of the smartest things NLKUSLLC has done to date for our product Trimmer Assist," Tony Hanes CEO of NLKUSLLC said. "The NASCAR fan base is very loyal. If you have a good product the fans can get behind, they will support you to no end."
"Our paint scheme for the "Monster Mile," I assure you, is one of the best ones NASCAR fans have ever seen," Hanes said. "We really want to thank Max Gresham for an outstanding job representing our new product, the Trimmer Assist, and allowing our company to sponsor the No. 8 Chevrolet at Dover."
Max Gresham PR
Kanaan Earns $2.3 Million For Winning 97th Indianapolis 500
Tony Kanaan earned $2,353,355 from an overall purse of $12,020,065 for his victory Sunday, May 26 in the 97th Indianapolis 500 Mile Race.
Brazil native Kanaan, who started 12th, set a record winning speed of 187.433 mph, breaking the previous mark of 185.981 set by Arie Luyendyk in 1990. Kanaan won "The Greatest Spectacle in Racing" for the first time in 12 career starts, tying an event record for earning a victory latest in a driver's Indy 500 career. The other driver to win the race for the first time in his 12th career start was Sam Hanks in 1957.
Kanaan, who led the race 15 times for a total of 34 laps in his No. 11 Hydroxycut KV Racing Technology-SH Chevrolet, won the race when he and Carlos Munoz overtook race leader Ryan Hunter-Reay entering Turn 1 on a Lap 198 after a restart. During that restart, three-time Indianapolis 500 winner Dario Franchitti's No. 10 Target Chip Ganassi Racing Honda made contact with the wall between Turns 1 and 2, allowing Kanaan to cruise to the checkered flag under caution.
In the first IZOD IndyCar Series race of his career, Munoz, of Colombia, qualified second and finished second in his No. 26 Unistraw Chevrolet for Andretti Autosport. Munoz was voted the winner of the prestigious Chase Rookie of the Year Award.
Munoz, who owns two Firestone Indy Lights wins this season and finished fourth in the Firestone Freedom 100 on Friday, May 24, earned $964,205, which included a $25,000 bonus from Chase.
Reigning IZOD IndyCar Series champion Hunter-Reay earned $583,005 for driving his No. 1 DHL Chevrolet for Andretti Autosport to a third-place finish in a performance that saw him lead the race 13 times for 26 laps.
In driving his No. 25 RC Cola Chevrolet Chevrolet to a fourth-place finish, Andretti Autosport's Marco Andretti joined Kanaan in leading the race 15 times, the most ever by an Indianapolis 500 driver who did not win the race. Andretti, who led for 31 laps and took the IZOD IndyCar Series points lead, was awarded $469,755.
Justin Wilson drove his No. 19 Dale Coyne Racing Honda to an Indianapolis 500 career-best fifth place after starting 14th. Wilson earned $337,805.
Three-time Indianapolis 500 winner Helio Castroneves earned $313,755 by driving his No. 3 Shell V-Power/Pennzoil Ultra Team Penske Chevrolet to a sixth-place finish. Castroneves led one lap in the race and has led in eight of his 12 career Indianapolis 500 starts for a total of 232 laps.
Pole sitter Ed Carpenter, who led the race six times for a race-high 37 laps in his No. 20 Fuzzy's Vodka Ed Carpenter Racing Chevrolet, finished the 10th Indianapolis 500 of his career in 10th position. He received $405,955, which included $100,000 for earning the Verizon P1 Award as pole winner.
The Indianapolis 500 Mile Race purse consists of Indianapolis Motor Speedway and IZOD IndyCar Series awards, plus other designated and special awards. Purse awards were announced and presented at the Victory Awards Celebration presented by Ice Miller LLP on Monday, May 27 at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway.
The 98th Indianapolis 500 is scheduled for Sunday, May 25, 2014. First run in 1911, "The Greatest Spectacle in Racing" is the world's largest single-day sporting event and most prestigious auto race.
Georgia Racing Hall Of Fame Announces 2013 Inductees
Some of the greatest racers in Georgia Racing History gathered at the Georgia Racing Hall of Fame in Dawsonville, GA Saturday morning as the five newest inductees into the Hall of Fame were formally announced.
They include a former NASCAR and short track ace, a pioneer Peach State open wheel racer, a trailblazing stock car team owner, one of the most successful short track racers in the southeast, and a drag racing legend and pioneer.
The 2013 inductees are Charles Barrett of Cleveland, GA, Hank Blalock of Decatur, GA, Frank Christian of Dahlonega, GA, Freddy Fryar of Chattanooga, TN, and Huston Platt of Buford, GA.
The five new GRHOF inductees were chosen from a list of 15 semi-finalists, all of whom were honored during Saturday’s event. The inductees were chosen by an 18 member panel of voters.
The 2013 Georgia Racing Hall of Fame Induction banquet will be held on Dec. 13, 2013 at the Georgia Racing Hall of Fame, located inside the Dawsonville Municipal Complex in Dawsonville, Georgia.
A limited number of seats for the banquet will be available. For more information, call the Hall of Fame at (706) 216-RACE (7223) or go online to www.georgiaracinghof.com.
Here’s a closer look at the five inductees to the Georgia Racing Hall of Fame for 2013:
Charles Barrett – Cleveland, GA – Winner of approximately 250 feature events – Won 27 Late Model sportsman features in 1972 – Won the 10th anniversary 150 lap Sportsman championship race at Anderson in 1972 – 1968, 69, 70 Anderson track champion- Won several championship events at Anderson between 1967-1972 – Competed in several NASCAR Sprint Cup events for car owner George Elliott, including a 10th at Talladega in 1973, 18th at Atlanta in 1973.
Hank Blalock – Decatur, GA – Deceased – Competed in Midget Cars across the East Coast – Served in the US Coast Guard during World War II – Began racing in 1946 in Midgets – Scored wins at Lakewood Speedway in Atlanta, GA the Peach Bowl in Atlanta, GA, Columbia Speedway in Columbia, SC, Augusta Speedway in Augusta, GA, -Was injured in a flip at Plant Field in Tampa, FL late in 1947 while leading, suffered brain concussion, burns, and a shoulder fracture – Served as President of the SRDC (Southern Racing Drivers Club) in 1948 – Was points champion in 1949 – Competed at Lakewood Speedway in Atlanta, GA, Lake Winneepesaukah in Chattanooga, TN, Macon Speedway in Macon, GA, Looper’s Speedway in Gainesville, GA, Skyway Speedway in Calhoun, GA, Columbia Speedway in Columbia, SC, Lithonia Speedway in Lithonia, GA, Augusta Speedway in Augusta, GA, Garden City Speedway in Augusta, GA, Savannah Speedway in Savannah, GA, Birmingham International Raceway in Birmingham, AL, Bowman Grey Stadium in Winston-Salem, NC, Broadway Speedway in Knoxville, TN, Pensacola Motor Speedway in Pensacola, FL, Langhorne Speedway in Langhorne, PA, Greenville-Pickens Speedway in Greenville, SC, Boyd’s Speedway in Ringgold, GA, New Orleans Motor Speedway in New Orleans, LA, and Idle Hour Speedway in Phenix City, AL – Was considered a strong competitor, always finishing in the points and in the money – Was a member of the Southern Racing Enterprises, AAA, and NASCAR – Suffered a massive head injury in a crash while leading at Toccoa Speedway in Toccoa, GA on Aug. 14, 1955. After spending 6 months in a coma, Blalock passed away in early 1956.
Frank Christian – Dahlonega, GA – Deceased – Was a pioneer in multi-car ownership, winning 22 races in his career. Drivers included his wife, Hall of Famer Sara Christian, Bob Flock, Speedy Thompson, Buddy Shuman, Banjo Matthews, Fonty Flock, Buck Baker, and Curtis Turner. Christian himself competed in several events as an owner/driver. His cars had an average starting place of sixth and an average finishing place of 12th. Christian’s cars scored 35 poles in a six year span. Christian is credited with bringing the moonshine runners out of the mountains and into the first organized modern stock car race, held at Atlanta’s Lakewood Speedway in November of 1938. Was the car owner for the first Chevrolet to win a NASCAR Sprint Cup race, with Fonty Flock as a driver, in 1955 at Columbia, SC.
Freddy Fryar – Chattanooga, TN – Won 826 feature events. Began racing in the early 1950s, following his brother Harold’s footsteps, at the age of 14. First raced at Fort Oglethorpe Speedway in Fort Oglethorpe, GA. Competed in Modifieds on the beach at Daytona in 1956, 57. Finished second to Bobby Allison in the NASCAR Modified Championship in 1964. Competed in NASCAR Modifieds, Grand Nationals, and Late Model Sportsman and USAC Stock Cars in the 60s, 70s, and 80s. Won seven NASCAR Series track championships. Won state championships in Louisiana, Mississippi, and Texas. All Pro Series champion in 1983. Won All Pro Truck championship in 1984. Ran NASCAR’s Winston Cup series in several events from 1956-1971. Won the Snowball Derby twice, 1979 and 1981. Won at Mobile International Speedway, Jackson International Speedway, Montgomery Motor Speedway, Caraway Speedway, Gresham Motorsports Park (then Georgia International Speedway), Corpus Christi Speedway, Five Flags Speedway and more. Retired form racing in 1987. Worked for various NASCAR teams for 15 years, and served as a driving instructor at the Richard Petty Driving School.
Huston Platt – Buford, GA – Deceased – Began drag racing in 1959 – Established his reputation piloting the famed “Dixie Twister”, beating out several big names, including Richard Petty during Petty’s stint into drag racing in 1965. – Platt’s 66 Chevy II became the fastest and quickest unblown injected Chevy in the country, turning runs in the upper 8 seconds at 160 mph and setting several records – Competed in match races against Ronnie Sox, Junior Johnson, Phil Bonner, Arnie Beswick, Tommy Grove, among others – Was an independent, without factory backing. – Was a pioneer in the development of the famed “Funny Cars”, which remains one of the most popular forms of drag racer today – Platt traveled around the country and into Canada to compete in his 1968 Chevy Camaro Funny Car known as the “Dixie Twister”, which could turn times in the high 7 seconds and 185 plus mph – Served as his own engine builder – Worked with the Logghe brothers in developing special wheelie bars to keep cars like this on the ground off the starting line – Went on to race and defeat several major racers from around the country, including Don Nicholson, Connie Kalitta, Larry Reyes, Gene Snow and others – After a tragic accident at the Yellow River Drag Strip in 1970, Platt worked to improve safety aspects in drag racing – Platt would win the Funny Car Division II Championship in 1971 – Would retire a couple of years later – Would later take his restored Dixie Twister around the country on display and in exhibition runs. Was inducted in 2009 to the East Coast Drag Times Hall of Fame. Passed away Nov. 30, 2011.
Photo cutline: The Georgia Racing Hall of Fame announced its Class of 2013 inductees on Saturday. They include Charles Barrett, Frank Christian, Huston Platt, Hank Blalock, and Freddy Fryar. Image courtesy GRHOF
About the Georgia Racing Hall of Fame – The Georgia Racing Hall of Fame is owned by Dawsonville History Museum, INC. The Hall of Fame inducted its first class in 2002, and became a 501(c)3 non-profit organization in 2010. The museum, recognized by the state legislature as the official home of the Georgia Racing Hall of Fame, recognizes prominent members of Georgia’s racing heritage. The Hall of Fame also plays host to other events saluting the state’s racing history, including the annual Lakewood Speedway reunion. The Hall of Fame and Museum are housed in the Dawsonville City Municipal Complex just outside of downtown Dawsonville, Georgia on Hwy. 53. The museum is open Monday – Saturday from 10 a.m. – 4 p.m., and Sunday 12 p.m. – 4 p.m. Holiday and Summer hours vary. For more information, call (706)216-RACE (7223) or go online to www.georgiaracinghof.com.
Business, Sports Leaders Honor 10,000 Military Members And Their Families With Special Celebration Luncheon At The Coca-Cola 600
On the eve of Memorial Day, more than 10,000 active duty military and family members were honored by Charlotte Motor Speedway and business leaders from around the country prior to the Coca-Cola 600, as part of a Memorial Day weekend saluting the U.S. Armed Forces. The day of tribute featured a special celebration luncheon hosted by John Schnatter, founder, chairman and CEO of Papa John's International, where more than 3,000 pizzas were served to the military guests.
The star-studded affair was emceed by HLN's Robin Meade, and included special appearances by Lt. Col. Oliver North (ret), a political commentator, television host, military historian and New York Times best-selling author; Willie Robertson, star of "Duck Dynasty;" Kurt Busch, NASCAR Sprint Cup Series driver of the No. 78 Furniture Row Racing Chevrolet; Clint Bowyer, NASCAR Sprint Cup Series driver of the No. 15 5-Hour Energy Toyota; Marcus Smith, president and general manager of Charlotte Motor Speedway; Congressman Robert Pittinger; NASCAR driver and television personality, Michael Waltrip; and Papa John himself. The event was held at zMAX Dragway and also featured live music and a drag racing exhibition with Smith, Papa John and Busch.
"We have been involved with the military for many, many years and we were excited to partner with Charlotte Motor Speedway to honor the heroes of the U.S. military and their families," said Schnatter. "This is just one small way of saying 'thank you' for the sacrifice they and their families are making every day to defend our freedom."
North shared his perspective on Memorial Day with the troops.
"This Memorial Day race is held here for these American heroes and that's what they are – heroes," said North. "Normally people think of heroes as being someone wearing spandex and a cape. My heroes wear flak jackets and helmets and flight suits in difficult and dangerous places."
Hundreds of the troops were loaded onto buses courtesy of the speedway's Patriot Partners program, where companies such as Toyota, Papa John's, Goodyear, Coca-Cola, Bojangles' and more sponsored more than 30 Patriot Partner buses to transport them from area military bases. Fans were able to salute the troops as 600 soldiers marched through the grandstands as part of the pre-race ceremonies. The show also included an air parade featuring 10 vintage warbirds, the flight of an American bald eagle during the national anthem performed by Robin Meade and a 21-gun salute by the Fort Bragg firing squad.
"I'm humbled. I'm honored. I'm a retired soldier. We didn't do a lot of this when I was in the military," said John Falkenbury, president, USO of North Carolina, which helped organize the event. "I think America has got it right and it is just a phenomenal event. We are so appreciative of Papa John's and Charlotte Motor Speedway who bent over backwards, not just for this event, but for all races."