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Red Dirt Dash set for Saturday

POSTED: November 2, 2008 5:00 a.m.

WOODSTOCK — Legendary racecar driver Bill Elliott is returning to the racetrack where his illustrious career began more than three decades ago to host the “Bill Elliott 50 Red Dirt Dash” late model race on Saturday.

  

Scheduled to join Elliott at Dixie Speedway’s 3/8-mile dirt track in Woodstock are popular NASCAR stars Tony Stewart, Kasey Kahne, Ken Schrader, David Gilliland and Dave Blaney who will also be competing across town at Atlanta Motor Speedway.

  

“Dixie Speedway is a special place for me because it is where I won my first race,” said Elliott, who grew up in the nearby North Georgia town of Dawsonville.  “To be able to go back and bring along some of my counterparts in NASCAR to show my appreciation to the race fans has been a goal of mine for years.”

  

Originally scheduled for last fall, the Bill Elliott 50 was postponed after Dixie Speedway track operator Mike Swims passed away last September after a long battle with cancer.  Cancer is also a personal issue to Elliott, as it has afflicted several members of his own family. Therefore, proceeds from the event are to be donated to the Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta for cancer research and care.

  

“Mike Swims was a big part of this sport and he is sorely missed,” added Elliott. “Donating the proceeds to a charitable cause in his honor means a lot to both the Elliott and Swims families.”

  

With the support of his father George, a young Bill Elliott began racing at Dixie Speedway with cars built in the family garage. He won his first race there on Sept. 7, 1974 at the age of 18. Less than two years later, his natural talent quickly transcended the dirt track arena, propelling Elliott to NASCAR’s Winston Cup series, where he eventually became a star. 

  

Elliott won his first Winston Cup race in 1983 and later claimed the 1988 Winston Cup championship. Throughout his stock car racing career, Elliott was named NASCAR’s “Most Popular Driver” a record 16 times, a testament to his popular following in his home state of Georgia.

  

After 31 years of NASCAR racing that includes 44 Winston Cup wins and 320 top-10 finishes, Elliott is officially retiring from the NASCAR circuit at the end of 2008 season to focus on supporting the careers of up-and-coming racers with the recently announced Bill Elliott Driver Development program.

  

Elliott, who has guided young stars like Kahne, hopes to “pay it forward” and give his young racers a strong foundation for success rooted in the same family values that led to his formative years at Dixie Speedway.

  

Advanced tickets for the Bill Elliott 50 can be purchased over the phone by calling the track ticket office at (770) 926-5315. (Monday through Friday 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.) Visa and MasterCard are accepted.

  

Dixie Speedway is located just north of Atlanta at 150 Dixie Drive, Woodstock, GA 30189.

 

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