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Racing promoter honored with Raymond Parks award
Pirkle: Really a hero of mine
3 Gordon honored pic
Local racing historian Gordon Pirkle hangs the award he received last week at Daytona next to a photo of one of NASCARs founding members, the late Raymond Parks, in the Dawsonville Pool Room. - photo by Michele Hester Dawson Community News

To Gordon Pirkle, it’s always nice to be honored for doing what you love.


It’s even better, he said, when the award pays tribute to your hero.


Last week in Daytona Beach, Fla., Pirkle was presented with the inaugural Raymond Parks Award by the Victory Lane Racing Association for his dedication and enthusiasm to keeping the sport’s history alive.


“I was real honored and proud to get it, because Raymond is really a hero of mine,” Pirkle said.


Founded in 2005, Victory Lane Racing Association promotes not only the history of auto racing, but the people who made the history — from the drivers, car owners, mechanics and promoters to the fans of yesteryear.


The awards presentation highlighted Pirkle’s work with the annual Mountain Moonshine Festival and the Georgia Racing Hall of Fame museum.


“I’m proud they wanted to have something to keep Raymond’s name alive,” Pirkle said.


JB Day, a longtime friend to Pirkle and Parks, presented the award.


“I was just tickled they chose me to present the award. They’re both real good friends of mine, both good businessmen, both good fellows,” Day said.


“And Gordon and Raymond were real good friends. He deserved it as much as anyone.”


A Dawsonville native who died last year, Parks was part of the group who in December 1947 gathered at a smoky Daytona conference room to create NASCAR.


“I’ve followed him all these years and he was such a gentleman,” Pirkle said. “As the years go on, some bigger names will get this award later, but to be the first one to get it, it means something to me.”