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Local fans ecstatic for Elliott
Celebrate season-ending race at world-famous Pool Room
2 Fan Reaction pic1
C.B. and Gewene Anderson, of South Carolina, celebrated their 18th wedding anniversary in Dawsonville, where the couple fulfilled a dream of watching Chase Elliott race from bar stools at the world-famous Pool Room. - photo by Michele Hester Dawson Community News

The Elliotts aren't the first racing champions from Dawsonville. The city has also played host to the following racing champions, who predated NASCAR by at least a decade.

• Ted Chester, car owner - Sprint Cup champion in 1952 with driver Tim Flock.

• Gober Sosebee, driver - winner of two Sprint Cup races; two-time winner on Daytona's beach and road course prior to NASCAR's inception in 1948.

• Bernard Long, driver - Daytona's beach and road course winner in 1941.

• Roy Hall, driver - national champion in 1939.

• Lloyd Seay, driver - winner of more than 40 races; inaugural class of Georgia Racing Hall of Fame (2002).

• Harry Melling, owner - NASCAR champion owner in 1988 with driver Bill Elliott; won Daytona with Elliott in 1985, 1987, 1988 and 1991.

• Raymond Parks, owner - won the first two NASCAR championships as Red Byron's car owner in 1948 (modified class) and 1949 (strictly stock class, now known as Sprint Cup); inaugural class of Georgia Racing Hall of Fame (2002); inducted into International Motorsports Hall of Fame in 2009.

Source: JR Motorsports

 

Saturday's race at Homestead-Miami Raceway may not have been a career win for Chase Elliott, but the siren sounded all across Dawsonville regardless.

With the season over, Elliott was crowned Nationwide champion, having amassed a total of 1,213 career points for the year, leading 42 points ahead of the next driver, JR Motorsports teammate Regan Smith.

Friends and fans watching from the historic Dawsonville Pool Room and the Georgia Racing Hall of Fame didn't care that Elliott didn't come in first, however.

"It don't matter, he's still the champion," said Shirley Martin. "We're so proud of him."

Even though Elliott clinched the series championship a week earlier at Phoenix, the trophy presentation after Saturday's race drew a crowd to downtown Dawsonville, where Gordon (G.P.) Pirkle, Jr. was waiting to turn on the Pool Room's now world-famous "si-rene" to celebrate the championship season win.

"It's exciting, but not as exciting as last week," said Pirkle, who planned to let the "si-rene" roar for as long as the town would let it without complaining.

Pirkle's father, Georgia Racing Hall of Fame president and local racing historian Gordon Pirkle said that he knew Elliott would win the whole time.

"I can't be more proud for Chase," he said. "I felt that he was going to win it all along."

The elder Pirkle also noted that Elliott was not the first racer from Dawsonville to take a championship.

"Chase isn't the only one from Dawsonville to clinch the national championship. Roy Hall and Lloyd Seay both won tons back in 1939," he said. "Lloyd Seay won the very first stock car race they had and then clenched the championship that year. Then, the next year Roy Hall won the championship and he was only 18, too."

According to Pirkle, racing was in its infancy and didn't have official cup championships, but Dawsonville represented all the same.

"We had what they called ‘national championships' and Raymond Parks won every one of them but one between 1938 to '58," he said. "It wasn't that big then, but it was for racing, because it only started in '38. NASCAR wasn't even formed for 10 years after Lloyd Seay won his championship."

Fans from far and wide were in town for the race.

"I just think that Dawsonville, Georgia is key to NASCAR from the history and I just always wanted to come here. This is something I've wanted to do for years, ever since I saw the ‘si-rene' ring for [1988 NASCAR Sprint Cup champion and Chase's father,] Bill Elliott," said Jeff Murrell, who drove from Sarnia, Ontario, Canada to live out a dream of watching at the Pool Room in Dawsonville.

A longtime fan of Elliotts, C.B. Anderson and his wife Gewene spent their 18th wedding anniversary in Dawsonville in order to celebrate Chase Elliott's victorious season after a renewed interest in stock car racing. The couple traveled from their home in South Carolina to watch the event.

"We ... got away from NASCAR and quit going to the races and kind of quit watching some of them on television," C.B. Anderson said. "Then all of a sudden, here comes Chase, Bill's son. Because Chase got in it, it kind of renewed the enthusiasm. We began to watch Nationwide and pulling for Chase."

While Gewene Anderson said she had hoped to also be celebrating a win at Homestead, where Chase Elliott ran much of the 200-lap race near the front of the pack, being part of the Dawsonville atmosphere was still worth it.

"I got to hear the si-rene for Chase," she said. "This is one of the greatest things to me in the world."

A run into the wall near the end of the race forced a final pit stop, leading him to finish in the 17th position, and 42 points ahead of JR Motorsports teammate Regan Smith, series runner-up.

The youngest driver and first rookie to win a championship, Elliott said he still had trouble grasping the accomplishment.

"This is a dream come true," he said after the race.

Staff writer Michele Hester contributed to this story.

 

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