When Bill Elliott was voted last week into the 2015 NASCAR Hall of Fame, Georgia Racing Hall of Fame President Gordon Pirkle wanted to fire up Bills siren outside the historic Dawsonville Pool Room, but he couldnt.
That thing has been up there 31 years, and it just doesnt work no more, Pirkle said. I hung it up there when Bill won his first race in 1983, and I about burned it out.
So, he instead fired up the new siren he installed for Elliotts son, Chase.
The sound was so loud it penetrated the walls of city hall, three blocks away, during a meeting with county officials.
Yes, we could hear it go off, and we knew it had to be because Bill got voted in, Dawsonville Mayor James Grogan said. Its really exciting for him and for Dawsonville.
Awesome Bill from Dawsonville was one of five members of the 2015 class. He was joined by Wendell Scott, the only African-American driver to win a Cup Series race; two-time champion Joe Weatherly; 26-time winner Fred Lorenzen, and 1960 champion Rex White.
Im just totally speechless over this whole thing, Elliott said. I just never imagined being in the Hall of Fame. I never imagined it in a million years that Id ever end up here.
I was shocked more than anybody. I would guess, but very much happy.
Elliott received 87 percent of the vote in his first year of eligibility. He was considered a frontrunner for the class of 2015 when NASCAR changed its rules to allow any driver 55 and older who had competed for at least 30 years to be eligible.
Elliott, now 58, has accomplished both.
He has received awards for being the most popular driver -- 16-times; he won Daytona twice, and had 44 wins in the series. He holds the track records for fastest qualifying speed at Talladega and Daytona, and he was the first to win the Winston Million bonus in 1985 for capturing three of NASCAR crown jewel races.
Wendell Scott, on the other hand, couldnt get anyone to work in his pit except his two sons.
In the early 1960s, when the track opened in Atlanta, I was down there on pit row, Pirkle said. Wendell was driving, and I remember him coming into the the pits. He jumped out of his car, grabbed the gas can, filled his own car up, and jumped back in.
We were all laughing about it saying, He aint got no pit crew. But, he came in sixth in that race, and I was real impressed with him.
At the time, Pirkle said, Wendells two sons, Franklin and Wendell Scott, Jr. served as his pit crew, and during that race learned an important lesson.
They learned not to both go to the bathroom at the same time, Pirkle said with a wide grin.
To this day, Scott is the only African-American to win a race at NASCARs highest level. He broke NASCARs color barrier.