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Bill Elliott celebrates Awesome career
Racer joins NASCAR Hall of Fame in weekend ceremony
A-The Elliotts pic Bill
With Hendrick driver Jeff Gordon retiring, Chase Elliott has been announced as his replacement. Meanwhile, his father, racing legend Bill Elliott, was inducted into the NASCAR Hall of Fame last week. - photo by File photo

The legend of Bill Elliott's awesome racing career culminated Friday night when the Dawsonville native was inducted into the NASCAR Hall of Fame.

"You go through your career and certain things lead you in certain directions and you do certain things and all of a sudden, it's nights like this just put everything in a total perspective," he said Monday. "That's what's so overwhelming about the whole night."

He joined Wendell Scott, Joe Weatherly, Rex White and Fred Lorenzen as the hall of fame's 2015 class.

Known for his calm demeanor and southern charm, Elliott thanked those who helped him along the way.

"You've got so many people that have done so many things for racing. When you do it week in and week out and you're into it, you don't really realize how those guys paved the road for you as you continue through your career," he said.

The 1988 Winston Cup Champion raced to 44 series victories, including two Daytona 500 wins and a record four consecutive first-place finishes at Michigan International Speedway.

He humbly said he could not have accomplished all he did without the support he received from family and his racing crew members, many who were in Charlotte Friday for the ceremony.

"It was fantastic having all those guys that showed up that were a part of that deal and wanted to be a part of it," he said. "And there were a lot of people that wasn't there. We lost Mike Rich back in 1990 and another boy... Dan Palmer. And then we lost another boy yesterday, Mark Thomas that helped me on tires. And I'm sure there are a lot of guys that I've missed.

"It's hard to say that I was the person...I was the one in the limelight, but it was the other guys that were holding me up there. I just try not to lose sight of those guys."

Longtime paint and fabricator Phil Seabolt said he can't remember seeing the champ as happy as he was Friday night.

"It was a special day, and I was honored to be a part of it all," he said.

Affectionately known as "Awesome Bill from Dawsonville" by his legion of fans, Elliott's induction cemented the town's status in motorsports history even if he refuses to take the credit for himself.

Instead, that praise goes to "all the guys like the Raymond Parks and the Lloyd Seays and all the guys that really were on the cutting and leading edge of everything that transpires from this point on," he said.

"Dawsonville to me has more racing history than anywhere else, especially in the early days, and that's what people just don't understand. They don't understand how instrumental this little town was and what all came out of it."

That legacy lives on with the champ's son Chase Elliott, who exploded onto the NASCAR scene in 2014 when he won three races, most popular driver, rookie of the year and the Xfinity Series championship in his first year of contention.

A day before the ceremony, Hendrick Motorsports also announced the younger Elliott would compete fulltime in the Sprint Cup Series, replacing a retiring Jeff Gordon in 2016.

"It was just like when they announced that deal on Thursday, they just told us about it two days before that. I was shocked about them going ahead an announcing he'd be in the 24 car," Bill Elliott said. "It was just a great week, all in all for everything."

 

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