Saturday, May 22, 2010

'Shine On

Being one of those people who doesn't understand the attraction of NASCAR, I can't say I was thrilled to be going to the Georgia Racing Hall of Fame. It's in tiny Dawsonville, Georgia, about 45 minutes north of Atlanta. I love it that the building says "Georgia Racing Hall of Fame" and "Dawsonville City Hall."

I must admit I got a kick out of learning some of the history there. Seems this area was noted for moonshine -- both during prohibition, into the 1950s and, truth to tell, now. Back in the old days, moonshiners would make the run down curvy Highway 19 to Atlanta, sometimes several times down and back in one evening.

One of those entrepreneurs who was in business in a big way was Raymond Parks. Not only did he run shine, he hired other drivers to help. Parks would laugh about the "young uns" running 'shine on Saturday night. Parks would just get a couple of nicely dressed ladies to sit on the 'shine and he'd make his run on Sunday morning -- at a leisurely, Sunday-goin'-to-meetin' pace.

The drivers were pretty proud of their cars and would meet in a local field on Sunday afternoons and challenge one another. Believe it or not, these races were the roots of NASCAR. This shiny '39 Ford belonged to Raymond Parks' cousin, Lloyd Seay.

I still think watching cars go round and round is the noisy equivalent of watching paint dry -- but I appreciate the history. And for those who are fans -- you'll find lots of autos and racing memorabilia here. Do check it out.

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