The Georgia Racing Hall of Fame was the backdrop for a segment on ESPN2’s racing show “NASCAR Now” last Wednesday.
Veteran NASCAR contributor and ESPN.com senior writer Ed Hinton filmed the broadcast sitting in front of local racing legend Bill Elliott’s stock cars on display at the Dawsonville museum.
Hinton, a resident of neighboring Pickens County, said he plans to run a live feed from the museum at least once a month.
“I’ve told them we could film every week for a year from here and never show the same backdrop twice,” he said. “There’s that much stuff in here.”
Museum volunteer and city council member James Grogan calls the museum, which highlights the Elliott family’s racing legacy, “Georgia’s best kept secret.”
“It hopefully won’t be kept secret for long,” Hinton said. “We plan to (broadcast) at least once a month from here.”
“NASCAR Now” is a news and analysis show that airs Monday through Friday on ESPN2 based in Bristol, Conn.
In last week’s episode, Hinton made some predictions on Sunday’s race at Martinsville Speedway before changing course to Dawsonville’s racing heritage that started with the moonshine runners hauling whiskey “out in wagons from the hollows.”
“Way before there was a NASCAR, Dawsonville was racing,” said Hinton, after, when he sat down to talk racing with a few locals who stopped by the museum when they heard he’d be there. “Moonshine running was probably the best racing preparation anybody could ever get.”
Hinton compared driver development of yesteryear to developmental programs of today, citing 15-year-old Chase Elliott’s deal with one of the top teams in NASCAR, Hendrick Motorsports.
Following in his father Bill’s racing shoes, Chase Elliott in February signed a developmental deal with Hendrick. He’ll continue to drive for Bill Elliott Racing based in Dawsonville until he is 18 and becomes eligible to run in NASCAR national series events.
“We’d love to get Bill and Chase here for an episode,” Hinton said.
The next scheduled live filming at the museum is June 22, “but things happen. If we have breaking news, we could be filming it from here sooner,” Hinton said.
Gordon Pirkle, president of the racing hall of fame, said the cable sports channel is always welcome to film at the museum.
“This is a pretty big deal for the museum. He says he’s going to help promote us and I really think this will bring more people to Dawsonville,” Pirkle said.