Dawsonville is making national news, once again.
An ESPN crew is in town filming at the Georgia Racing Hall of Fame, the historic Dawsonville Pool Room and other local locations, for a segment on Chase and Bill Elliott. The piece is scheduled to air during a pre-race show leading up to the NASCAR Nationwide Series on Feb. 22, according to Hall of Fame President Gordon Pirkle.
This is the biggest break we could have got, Pirkle said. Theyll probably go through Bill Elliotts career, then Chases.
Bill Elliott is a 44-time winner on the NASCAR Sprint Cup circuit and a 16-time winner of the series most popular driver award until 2003, when he withdrew his name. He holds the track record for fastest qualifying speed at Talladega at 212.809 mph and Daytona International Speedway at 210.364 mph. Both were set in 1987. His mark at Talladega is the fastest speed for any NASCAR event, ever.
And 16 days from now, his son, Chase Elliott, 18, will compete in his first NASCAR Nationwide Series DRIVE4COPD 300 at Daytona International Speedway 120 laps, 300 miles. He plans to make a run at the 2014 NASCAR Rookie of the Year title. On Jan. 26, Elliott picked up his second SpeedFest victory, adding to his three Pro Late Model SpeedFest triumphs.
ESPNs crew filmed Tuesday at the hall of fame, and plans to spend today in downtown Dawsonville.
I am very excited about Chase, Pirkle said, and that we have the opportunity to do this at the hall of fame like we did with Bill (Elliott) at the Pool Room in the 80s when fans would come and watch the races and cheer him on.
The younger Elliott will pilot the No. 9 NAPA Auto Parts Chevrolet for JR Motorsports. The race is being shown at 1:15 p.m.on ESPN, and it will be broadcast on a theater-size screen at the hall of fame. There is no fee to enter.
Pirkle said hed like to see the place packed with fans to support yet another hometown boy as he makes his mark in the NASCAR ranks.
People first took notice of Dawsonville, Ga., back in the mid-80s. The year was 1985 when Bill Elliott, young and virtually unknown in the NASCAR world, stormed around the high-banked tracks of Daytona and Talladega setting records still unbeaten today. Along the way, media and fans alike were intrigued by this guy hailing from Dawsonville, Ga. They wanted to know him and in order to do so, traveled to his hometown.
Awesome Bill from Dawsonville was created, and it stuck. Fans from all over the country and even internationally began descending upon Dawsonville.
Pirkle, owner of the historic Dawsonville Pool Room, began the tradition of sounding a siren every time Elliott scored a win in his 20-plus year career.
Keeping with tradition, Pirkle does the same for Chase.
In other hall of fame news, Cindy Elliot has been named director of marketing and special events at the museum.
She is the wife of Bill Elliott and the mother of Chase.
I look forward to the challenge, she said. I hope the community will welcome these changes. As we grow and bring more opportunities to local businesses, we are also expanding the City Hall facility to make available the Gordon Pirkle and Joe Lane Cox rooms for executive conference meetings. These rooms will have free wi-fi access included with the rental fee. We are also in the process of updating the georgiaracinghof.com website.
The museum also plans to rotate and refresh its exhibits.
We have plans to expand and refresh some of our exhibits in hopes of having a grand re-opening sometime early summer, Cindy Elliott said. Our expansion will include the newly announced Jimmy Mosteller Library and the Ernie Elliott Engine Dyno display, as well as other improvements. Funding and sponsorship of the museum as always are key elements to making these exciting new plans come to fruition.
And the City of Dawsonville supports these efforts.
On Monday, the council agreed to lease an additional 416-square-foot space, inside city hall, to the museum.
For other news from city hall, see www.DawsonAdvertiser.com.