Beyond the Track – 3 Ways to Experience Racing History in Dawsonville, GA

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There is a thrilling racing history in Dawsonville that continues to bring NASCAR fans to visit and play in this charming town north of Atlanta.

Most famous for being the hometown of the iconic Elliott racing family, Dawsonville has made it’s mark on the racing industry.

However, did you know it was long before the Elliott family arrived on the racing scene that bootleggers raced at night, on curvy mountain roads without their headlights on, to deliver shine without being caught by police.

And that, in short, is how Dawsonville became known as the birthplace of stock car racing.

Front of Dawsonville Pool Room Building - Racing History In Dawsonville

3 Unique Ways To Experience Racing History in Dawsonville

Lloyd Seay – Dawsonville’s First Race Car Champion

Lloyd Seay headstone at Dawsonville Cemetery - Racing History In Dawsonville

Thirty-six years before the Elliott family started in the racing scene there was a young man by the name of Lloyd Seay that lived in Dawson County.

Mr. Seay’s business was running shine, which led to both his success as a driver and his demise.

Lloyd started racing in 1938 and won his first stock car race at Lakewood Speedway. He was 18 years old. Fast forward a few years and he has quite the reputation as a driver.

lloyd image on tombstone - Racing History In Dawsonville

During a race at Daytona Beach Road Course he flipped his car twice and still finished 4th. He would return to that track a month later and lead all the laps, even though he started in the fifteenth position.

He went on to run another race a few days later which caused him to arrive late for the Labor Day race at Lakewood Speedway. Late arrival meant he was the last to start. However, by lap 35 he moved into the lead and won the race winning the title of National Stock Car Champion at Lakewood Speedway.

The race happened on September 1, 1941 and by the end of day September 2, 1941, Lloyd is dead, shot to death by a family member.

This story left me a bit sad and a whole lot of “what ifs.” I imagine, had Lloyd lived, he’d have left an incredible and lengthy race car driving legacy.

Inscription on Lloyd Seay headstone at Dawsonville Cemetery - Racing History In Dawsonville

Lloyd’s death was perpetrated by his cousin who was upset about a charge being place on his store account for sugar. While trying to settle the dispute the cousin shot and killed Lloyd ending what was sure to be an incredible life.

Lloyd is buried at the Dawsonville cemetery where you can pay your respects.

It would be decades later that brothers Bill, Ernie, and Dan Elliott, along with Bill’s son, Chase Elliott, would place their mark on the sport and continues to do so today.

The Dawsonville Pool Room

Entrance to Dawsonville Pool Room

No exploration of Dawsonville’s racing history is complete without a visit to the Dawsonville Pool Room.

This unassuming restaurant, located in the heart of downtown, serves as a community headquarters for the Elliott racing team and fans.

Inside Dawsonville Pool Room

Inside you’ll find an interesting collection of history and memorabilia on Bill Elliott’s NASCAR career and early moonshine runners.

It was here that the now-famous tradition of sounding the siren after each victory began—a tradition that continues to this day whenever a local driver achieves success in NASCAR.

Bully Burger and Fries at the Pool Room

When you visit be sure to order the famous Bully Burger and fresh cut fries.

Racing History in Dawsonville at the Georgia Racing Hall of Fame

Georgia Racing Hall of Fame Sign in Dawsonville

A visit to the Georgia Racing Hall of Fame is a pilgrimage for many NASCAR fans. This museum pays homage to Georgia’s racing legends, with a significant focus on the Elliott family including a special exhibit for Chase Elliott.

During your visit explore more than 30 exhibits featuring iconic race cars, memorabilia, and the inspiring stories of those who made history on the track.

The exhibits range from photos to  interactive displays to multimedia presentations.

One of the favorite exhibits is Gober Sosebee’s Daytona 500 winning Ford, a story of the achievements of local racing heroes.

Exhibit at Georgia Racing Hall of Fame
Exhibit at Georgia Racing Hall of Fame.

If you’re a Chase Elliott fan do not skip the Chase Elliott exhibit, which celebrates the remarkable career of this racing prodigy and his legendary father, Bill Elliott.

The museum cover everything from early dirt tracks to modern-day circuits, and you’ll be feeling the need for speed during your visit.

Georgia Racing Hall of Fame Car Exhibit
Georgia Racing Hall of Fame Car Exhibit

I wouldn’t consider myself a NASCAR fan, but after my visit to Daytona Beach I really started to appreciate the sport more and now I enjoy visiting places centered around racing.

From “meeting” the drivers, both past and present, to seeing how the sport has evolved over time there is aways something interesting to learn. I still haven’t been to a race, but it’s on my list.

Whether you’re a seasoned fan or a curious newcomer, the racing history in Dawsonville provides a unique look at stock car racing of both the past, present and future.

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