blog

Tim Flock, next to his trusty steed, one that would be first to the checkered flag 18 times in 1955. 


Photo courtesy NASCAR

5/17/24


Tim Flock, the 1952 Grand National Champion, arrived to Daytona Speedweeks 1955 with no ride and no intention on racing. Carl Kiekhaefer and his Chrysler 300 convinced him otherwise. Read up here on his incredible 1955 season in NASCAR and why I chose to use a tribute of this car in my wedding. 

4/24/24


Several individuals from Dawsonville Georgia have tried their best to do extraordinary things at NASCAR's biggest track over the years. Click here to read on both Bill Elliott's and David Sosebee's greatest attempts at the track in the 1980's. 

Bill Elliott on pole to start the 1986 Talladega 500, at the time, his fourth consecutive pole at the track. 


Photo courtesy Elliott Racing Heritage

Mincey getting a big win at Looper Speedway in Gainesville Ga in 1954. This track is now under Lake Lanier.


Photo courtesy Peach State Speed Archives

3/7/24

Charlie Mincey had a Hall of Fame career with Hollywood like beginnings. He got his driver's license at the tender age of 12, and began hauling liquor out of the mountains just two years later. Read more about his early escapades and his transition to the track here  

2/18/24


Did you know that there are seven individuals from the tiny North Georgia town of Dawsonville to have won a race at Daytona? Four drivers on the beach course, one owner, and two drivers on the asphalt track. Incredible numbers that any other town likely won't be able to match. Read up on those legends  here 

An aerial view of the old Daytona Beach & Road Course. Two miles on Highway A1A, and two miles on the hard packed sandy shores. 

Photo courtesy Peach State Speed archives

A tribute painting of an old Peach Bowl advertisement featuring Charlie Mincey & Jack Jackson, by artist Ron Edwards


Photo courtesy of Fred Simmons. This painting is on display in the Georgia Racing Hall of Fame.

2/9/24

The small quarter mile track, known as the Peach Bowl Speedway stood just a few miles from the center of downtown Atlanta. Over it's 22 year history, countless racers and fans made lasting memories.  Read more on the history of the Peach Bowl, here 

12/14/23


NASCAR, the billion dollar enterprise it has become some 7 decades later, was hatched by a group of racers and businessmen in a smokey boardroom on the third floor of a hotel in Daytona. Read more on how this came to be as well as a nod to the birth of Lloyd Seay, here 

The Streamline Hotel in Daytona Beach, where NASCAR was officially conceived in December 1947

Within a short 5 year span, Bill Elliott and his family team achieved NASCAR greatness. 


Photos courtesy Elliott Family Heritage

11/20/23


November 20th, the day the Bill Elliott earned his first Winston Cup Victory, and just 5 years to the day later, would become Champion. Read more about it here 

One of the earliest stock car races held at Lakewood Speedway in Atlanta. Circa 1939


Photo courtesy Peach State Speed Archives

11/13/23


10 years before NASCAR was formed, the first stock car race as we know it was held at Lakewood Speedway was held. Read up on the day and the events leading up to it here 

11/8/23

While Ryan Blaney won the NASCAR Cup Title during it's 75th Anniversary, another 'RB' became the first to do so back in 1948. Read more about some tales and events that made the first season memorable here 

Red Byron, leaning against his trusty Raymond Parks owned, Red Vogt built Ford that propelled him to NASCAR history. 

Photo courtesy Peach State Speed Archives


Depiction of a Gold Prospector of North Georgia, circa 1830. 

Photo Courtesy of UGA Library

10/16/23

Did you know that the first major US Gold Rush & The First Nascar Championship share the same family tree?? 


Read more on this North Georgia history here 

Gober Sosebee piloting his Buick sedan at Daytona Beach, February 15, 1948


Photo courtesy David Sosebee

10/1/23


Last week we talked about when Gober Sosebee finished his trip to Daytona by hauling his 'towcar' with the racecar. This time, it was both the cars that ended up on the results sheet. Click here to read more - The Time That Both The Racecar & Towcar Entered a Race 

9/24/23


Sometimes getting to the track is more exciting than what happens during the race.  Read more on this hilarious story involving Georgia Racing Hall of Famer, Gober Sosebee.  Click to read more - Getting to the Track is a Journey in Itself 

Sosebee & Crew after a win in Gainesville Ga, 1946


Photo courtesy Sosebee Family

Some of the vintage racecars on display on Main Street.


Photo by Robbie Curlee

9/14/23

The Town of Mt Airy, NC hosted their 4th Annual Moonshine & Racer's Reunion this past weekend. Read up on my trip and a little reminiscing here -

Click to read more Mayberry Meets Moonshine & Stock Car Racing 

9/4/23

The first Southern 500 at Darlington in 1950 was one for the record books. Several Georgia Racing Hall of Famer's tried their hand at making history. 

Click to Read More -  The First 500 Mile Stock Car Race 

Darlington Raceway, a unique egg-shaped mile and a half asphalt track, just north of Florence SC. As we have discussed with other tracks previously, Dawsonville unsurprisingly has many ties and connections with this track too; ranging from the very first race held there in 1950, to a million dollar victory in 1985. Darlington Raceway has always been a fan favorite due to it's history and the uniqueness. It's a driver's track and is very unforgiving. Even more so since 2015, when the track got their traditional Labor Day weekend date back after a 12 year hiatus and ever since a majority of the cars run a 'Throwback' paint scheme at the track to honor the past.


To fully appreciate what we have in today's Nascar, you have to look at where it came from. In 1950, the Nascar Grand National division (now Cup Series) was immensely popular. It took off like a rocket and had full crowds anywhere the tour went. At that time, Nascar rarely raced on any track longer than a mile in length. The outlier would be the Daytona Beach course, which until 1958, was two miles on the beach, and two miles on A1A. Even Atlanta's own, Lakewood Speedway, which was a big track for it's time, was only a mile in length. Nevertheless, Darlington's founder, Harold Brasington, would attend an Indy 500 years earlier and a lightbulb went off. He witnessed the thousands of fans that attended the two mile track and immediately thought 'Why can't we have one of these down south?'. And so he did. Darlington Raceway was constructed start to finish in just a little over a year. He would partner with NASCAR President, Bill France on securing a Labor Day date, and advertisements and entry forms were sent. France, however was skeptical if his division could handle a 500 mile race. It had never been done before. It was the first paved racetrack in the South, and the first of it's size for Nascar. Brasington and France hoped for about 10-12k fans and instead got bombarded with just over 25,000. It was a big deal!


Dawsonville's Raymond Parks was a successful businessman and race team owner. It was Raymond's team that would win the very first Nascar-sanctioned race in 1948, as well as the first Modified Division title in 48' and the first Strictly Stock (Cup Series) title in 1949. The team, comprised of Georgia Racing Hall of Famer's, Parks with his driver, Red Byron and chief mechanic, Red Vogt, were a hot ticket, anywhere they went. Parks had already learned how expensive racing was, if you wanted to win. And the first Darlington race would prove no different. Parks and Byron had just competed in the first La Carrera Panamericana race just a few months prior. The duo used a brand new Cadillac in the 7 day long road race through Mexico. While they did not win, they were impressed with how a Cadillac could do as a racecar, so that's what they chose for the first Darlington race. A big car, with a big V8 and a proven name was sure to be a winner, right?


Another Dawsonville native, Gober Sosebee, would join at the chance to compete for a $10k first prize. Another first in stock car racing. Upon sending in his entry form, Sosebee would purchase a brand new 1950 Oldsmobile 88 from Mitchell Motors in downtown Atlanta. When Sosebee and crew got to Darlington a week before the event for qualifying (remember they drove the cars to the track back then), Gober noticed his brand new racecar had just rolled over to 1,300 miles. Like many racers of the early days were, Gober was very superstitious about certain things. No one ever raced #13, ate peanuts in the pits, had a green racecar, etc. Needless to say, Gober was NOT going to drive on track while his odometer read 1,300. The day before his qualifying session, he spent the afternoon driving around the infield until he reached 1,400 miles. Then it was fine to take on track. With 75 entries to be filled, Darlington and Nascar opted for a multi day qualifying. Gober was scheduled to qualify on day three and was the fastest that day. Meaning, he although he started third, he was on the front row, along with Jimmy Thompson in the middle row and Curtis Turner starting pole. Byron in Parks' Cadillac would start 7th, having been the third fastest qualifier on the first day. Confusing I know.


Just before history was set to start, there were talks of a large pot of money being built up on who was going to lead the first lap - Gober Sosebee or Curtis Turner; both hard-nosed and successful drivers. It has been said that future Hall of Famer and one of the most known racing announcers across Georgia, Jimmy Mosteller, went up to Sosebee before the race and said to him "If you don't lead this first lap, there'll be alot of us with no money to get back home". Needless to say, the "Wild Injun" done just that and rocketed to the lead in his Rocket 88 and would lead the first four laps in Superspeedway Racing in Nascar. Upon the 5th lap, Sosebee decided to back off the throttle as he knew he was driving too hard for the tires to handle it. You have to remember that this was a STOCK race. Stock cars, stock tires, etc.


The morning of the race, track officials would put sand on the racing surface as they thought it would provide grip. What happened was the hot Labor Day sun would bake the sand into the new asphalt and soon turned the surface into sandpaper. Tires wore faster than they should have, which is why Sosebee gave up the lead. He could tell after just 5 laps, his tires weren't as good as they were on the first. Virginia's Curtis Turner led until lap 26.


While Sosebee lost the lead to preserve his tires, the Parks entry of Red Byron was going through tires like they were going out of style. Very quickly, the Parks team went through all the spare tires they brought. Raymond offered the tires off of his personal Cadillac and soon went into the infield, cash in hand, to buy tires off of spectator cars. While it's not known how many sets they went through, it is known that Byron ran a tire down to the wheel 24 times. Parks, although still dressed in his Sunday best, jumped in to help change tires using an air gun, while most crews were using old school lug wrenches.




All in all, it took over 6 and a half hours to run the first 500 mile race and it was not won by the fastest car. The winner, Johnny Mantz, a former open wheel racer, won the race driving an economical six cylinder Plymouth - a car that qualified 9 mph slower than the pole sitter. Mantz had an ace up his sleeve so to speak. While he was literally the slowest car on track, he never once came into the pits, other than for fuel. While the faster, more powerful cars spent valuable time in the pits changing tires dozens of times over...the little Plymouth was quietly running truck tires. A harder compound which was much more durable than that of regular passenger car tires everyone else ran.


A Dawsonville driver or team would not return home as a winner. In fact, it would be until 1985 before a Dawsonville driver would take victory at the track known as "Too Tough to Tame".


The Parks' Novelty Cadillac driven by Red Byron would finish 3rd in the first Southern 500, 10 laps behind. While the $2,000 payday was great for the time, it still stung because of what won the race. It also stung as Byron was originally scored second, but was bumped back another spot after a protest from Fireball Roberts. The difference was worth $1500.  On paper, a Plymouth should not have beaten a Cadillac. It was a true blue version of 'The Tortoise and the Hare'. 

Sosebee on the other hand would be wrote into the history books as leading the first ever laps on a paved Superspeedway in Nascar. He would finish 17th and only pocket $290. You can see that very tire that started on the #51 Oldsmobile that day on display today in the Dawsonville Pool Room.



Hall of Famer, Raymond Parks jumped into action to help pit the car bearing his name. Notice that he was using an air wrench, in 1950!


Photo Courtesy of Peach State Speed Archives

Gober Sosebee (#51) led the first four laps of Nascar competition at Darlington Raceway


Photo Courtesy of Sosebee Family

9/2/23

Still, 80+ years later, we remember a young man who could "Make a Ford Coupe climb a Georgia Pine"

Click to Read More - "Lightning" Lloyd Seay - 82 Years Later 

*Editor's Note - This article originally appeared in the August 31, 2021 edition of the Dawson County News*


By Cody Dinsmore


September 2nd, 1941, a young man, only 21, was shot and killed. September 2nd, 2021, 80 years later, the young man's memory will be remembered. This Thursday, 9/2/21, will forever be known as Lloyd Seay Day in Dawsonville, Georgia.


But who was Lloyd Seay and why are we honoring him?


Lloyd Seay was born in Dawsonville, on December 14th, 1919, about a month prior to the beginning of Prohibition.


Seay grew up poor. When he became tall enough to reach the pedals of a car, he quickly learned he could have fun behind the wheel and was a natural at it. Seay started hauling Moonshine, a tricky and skillful job that would take about an hour of work driving down Highway 9 from just north of Dawsonville to Atlanta. Moonshine 'Trippers' like Seay, could net more money in one night of hauling than many could in a week from farming or factory work in the city.


Seay was unique. He was fearless, but planned out every curve. He would accelerate in the turns at night (sometimes driving by moon light without headlights on) with his hands placed at the 5 and 7 o'clock position or 4 and 8 o'clock on the steering wheel, to ease his car around; much different from the normal 10 & 2 position.


One of the most famous Lloyd Seay stories was the time that Lloyd was pulled over just outside of Atlanta, heading back home to Dawsonville. The traffic fine was $10, and Seay handed two ten dollar bills to the officer, explaining that he was "paying in advance" because next time he comes through, he won't have time to stop; meaning he'll have a trunk load full.


But Seay was also a pioneering stock car racer.


He was the victor in what we know as the first organized stock car race in the state of Georgia in 1938 at Lakewood Speedway. Stock car racing had already been happening at Daytona Beach for a few years, but the craze of showroom street car racing hadn't quite made it to Georgia yet. That's not to say auto racing hadn't happened in Georgia yet, just not what we think of as stock cars. On November 11th, 1938, Seay drove a 1934 Ford Roadster, owned by his cousin and fellow Dawsonville native, Raymond Parks, to victory; with a broken arm nonetheless. He was only 18, with already years of driving experience.


The racing bug was set. Dawsonville cousins Raymond Parks, Roy Hall, along with Seay would become stock car racing's first 'team' in 1939, with mechanical wizard, Red Vogt wrenching on all the cars. For the next three seasons, this quartet would be the ones to best at any dirt track across the south and east coast. The Parks team was the equivalent of Hendrick Motorsports or a Roger Penske of today. The cars had the best horsepower, best drivers and the cars always looked their best. Sometimes, the cars were even transported to the track by flatbed truck!


In 1939 and 40', it was mostly the 'Roy Hall' show, with Hall taking more of the victories, even being declared 'Champion' in 39'. In 1941, it was Lloyd Seay's time to shine.


As the summer of 41', was ending, Seay was on a streak as hot as the summer sun itself. He started his 5th race at Daytona Beach on August 24th. He had never won on the sandy and tricky track, but it definitely wasn't due to lack of trying. He was in contention for two prior races at Daytona that year, and each race would flip his car, still to finish in the top 5 or 10. On the August 24th race, he started 15th, and would find himself in the lead by the end of the first lap, and never relinquished it. He finally won at Daytona.


One week later, at High Point NC, he would win yet again, driving his 'Silver Bullet' racecar and winning against guys like his cousin, Roy Hall, and future founder of Nascar, Bill France, who that day was actually a teammate to Seay.


The next day was September 1st, Labor Day. The annual Labor Day Classic was held at the Lakewood Speedway in Atlanta. Due to racing in NC the day before, Seay arrived late to Atlanta and had to start at the rear of the field, but that certainly didn't bother him.


Seay was notoriously known for his #7 racecar, with cousin Hall driving #14. Raymond Parks' third car was usually #21. However on September 1, 1941, many of Seay's peers poked and prodded him that the reason he was so successful as of late was because of his 'Lucky 7' number. So Seay gave the ultimate "I'll show you" and took some paint, crossed out the 7, and painted #13 over it.


He would go on to win the race and be declared 1941 National Stock Car Champion, but less than a day later, he would lose his life.


Following the biggest win of his career, Lloyd Seay would load his helmet, coveralls and winnings into his brand new 1941 Ford convertible, say his goodbye's to his fans and friends, and take Highway 9 North, back home to Dawsonville. He stayed the night with his brother, Jim, who lived just across the Dawson/Lumpkin County line. The next morning, another cousin, Woodrow Anderson, came arguing that Seay had charged a couple bags of sugar to his store account. Anderson made the moonshine in the hills, and Seay would deliver it to the city. Anderson told the Seay brothers that an Aunt in town could figure out who owed what to who. But they never made it there. Along the way, the Anderson car stopped to get water for the radiator. An argument broke out and both Seay's were shot. Jim in the neck, but lived, and Lloyd in the chest, and would succumb.


Only 21 years old and not yet had reached his full potential in life or on the track. Seay's cousin, Raymond Parks, lost his best racer, a family member and a friend. He paid for the intricate 6ft tall marble headstone that sits in the Dawsonville Cemetery. Engraved on it is the trophy he won the day before he died, one he would never get to fully enjoy. As well as a picture of Lloyd's face placed behind porcelain, in the driver's window of an engraved Racecar, forever looking towards town. It is one of the most visited gravesites in the county. Racing fans and historians from all over the country have come to pay their respects to Stock Car Racing's first superstar. Nascar founder, Bill France, said later in life, that Seay was undoubtedly the best stock car racer he'd ever seen. Seay was the fearless country boy who could wheel a car and was both respected and feared on track and adored by fans. 80 years later, it's another Dawsonville driver that holds that position.

And with Lloyd Seay Day, it's a piece of a puzzle needed to help preserve his name and legacy for generations of fans to come. 

Seay in front of his "Silver Bullet" 1939 Ford owned by Raymond Parks. This photo was taken at High Point NC in August of 1941, just a few days before his death. Seay went on to win this race.