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Racing Hall of Fame recognizes volunteers, pioneers
3. Racing Hall of Fame pic1
Barbara Hubbard, far right, with daughter-in-law Amy Hubbard and grandson Gus, was surprised to learn she was being honored with the Georgia Racing Hall of Fames Annie Dean Samples Spirit Award at Saturdays Hall of Fame induction ceremony. - photo by Michele Hester Dawson County News

Day in and day out, there is a group of race fans that spend hours upon hours working to keep Georgia's motorsports history alive.

They are the ones you see giving tours, answering phones, greeting visitors, arranging cars and memorabilia, and above all, maintaining the Georgia Racing Hall of Fame as a premier destination for racing enthusiasts.

They aren't there for recognition or to be able to say they are a part of a prestigious organization.

For them, it's all about the love of racing and the legacy of their town as the birthplace of motorsports.

On Saturday, a few of those behind-the-scene volunteers were surprised to find themselves the center of attention during the Dawsonville museum's annual celebration and hall of fame induction ceremony.

"I'm very, very honored, but I don't deserve this," said lifelong race fan Barbara Hubbard, recipient of the hall of fame's Annie Dean Samples Spirit Award.

Credited with saving the museum when the Thunder Road complex failed, Samples died in 2010, while her memory lives on in those following in her footsteps.

Presenter David Sosebee called Hubbard's passion for racing and promoting the state's motorsports history, like Samples, virtually unmatched.

"[Barbara's] been a race fan all her life, and she definitely deserves this," he said.

Sosebee also accepted the hall of fame's volunteer of the year award on behalf of his friend Joy Minter, who was unable to attend the luncheon.

"She comes up here and works at the museum two days a week," he said. "We have so many good volunteers. These people work tirelessly."

Gordon Pirkle, founder of the hall of fame, also gives out an annual presidential citation.

This year's recipient was Tom Reed, a professional photographer that voluntarily documents happenings at the museum for print, web and promotions.

"He comes in here and takes all kinds of pictures. He was one of the first people here this morning, because he wanted to get pictures of how the tables were set up. He has been a tremendous help to the Georgia Racing Hall of Fame," Pirkle said.

The museum in Dawsonville is recognized by the state as the official home of the Georgia Racing Hall of Fame, which honors prominent members and their contributions to motorsports heritage.

This year's class of inductees included James Lyle, Jim Downing, C.L. Pritchett, Billy Clanton and Harold Fryar.

The hall also named Blairsville's Jonathan Davenport as the 2015 Driver of the Year, while Charles Head of Toccoa was given the Jimmy Mosteller Excellence in Journalism Award.