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Lakewood Reunion stirs stories of days gone by
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Randy Platt and his son Butch pose with the re-creation of Hubert Platts 1967 Ford Fairlane during Saturdays Lakewood Reunion at the Georgia Racing Hall of Fame. - photo by Amy French Dawson County News

Some racing dreams may have faded, but the memories are still vivid for the fans and drivers who were a part of the legendary Lakewood Speedway in Atlanta.

Over the weekend, former drivers, avid racing fans and friends and family gathered at the Georgia Racing Hall of Fame to celebrate the glory days of racing during the 9th annual Lakewood Reunion.

The event ran from 10 a.m. until 3 p.m. and included a dedication ceremony in honor of Hubert Platt, known as the "Georgia Shaker."

"Lakewood was Indianapolis for us because none of us ever dreamed we'd get to go to Indianapolis," said Bud Layton, former NASCAR mechanic and racing fan. "Lakewood was a track that would draw large crowds. It drew people back then and you wasn't nobody unless you run a race there.

All the Flocks, the Pettys, everybody ran there."

The stories from the track are extensive and the legends that go with it are no less so.

Layton said he was at the track in 1959 when Richard Petty won his first race, even though Richard's dad Lee was named the winner.

"He was flagged the winner and Lee was running for points and Richard had just started driving. I know that they took it away from him," Layton said.

The speedway was a one mile dirt track adjacent to the Lakewood Fairgrounds south of Atlanta.

Prior to the construction of the Atlanta Motor Speedway in 1960, the track hosted Indy and NASCAR racing.

Former driver and teammate of Platt's, Randy Payne, came out for the event, as well as Hoyt Grimes, who is known as the "Granddaddy of Southeastern Drag Racing."

Payne sat and visited with the curious fans who swooned over Platt's last project, the re-creation of his 1967 Ford Fairlane.

Tom Krul and his wife Marie are the owners of the vehicle and were friends of Platt's before his passing in September of 2015.

"When Hubert and him [Tom] hooked up, Hubert was impressed with Tom's skills. Hubert and Tom went click," Marie said.

The two lived near each other and became fast friends and eventually started the project of re-creating the Fairlane that was on display Saturday.

Although Platt died before the project was complete, Tom and Marie said he loved every minute of working on the project.

"He was the life of the party. He loved to be around people. That's why this car was done. Hubert wanted to have his car at a show, to be there signing autographs, reliving the old days," she said.

Platt was considered a pioneer and a legend in drag racing. His fascination with racing began after he spent time hauling moonshine between Georgia and South Carolina.

He was known for besting NASCAR star Richard Petty during a drag race on Lassiter Mountain in Birmingham, Ala.

Platt was inducted into the NHRA Hall of Fame in 1986, into the Super Stock & Drag Illustrated Hall of Fame in 1995, into the East Coast Drag Times Hall of Fame in 2002 and into the Old Drag Racers Reunion Hall of Fame in 2003. He also served as the grand marshal during the 47th annual Mountain Moonshine Festival.

A dedication ceremony for the 67 Fairlane was held at 1 p.m. after guests had lunch that was catered by the Dawsonville Pool Room.

The Fairlane will be on display at an invitation only nostalgia car show put on by the National Hot Rod Association for the Labor Day weekend in Indianapolis, according to Krul.