Georgia Racing Hall of Fame Museum
Fasten your seatbelt! Imagine how it felt to be a moon tripper, outrunning the sheriff while speeding along a snaking white line in the moonlit hills of north Georgia. At the Georgia Racing Hall of Fame Museum, visitors can become prohibition outlaws without going to jail!
The museum, recognized by the Georgia state legislature as the official home of the Georgia Racing Hall of Fame—in addition to housing Dawsonville’s City Hall—features an entertaining multi-media presentation of the history of stock car racing in Dawson County Georgia.
After the historic town of Dawsonville purchased the foreclosed museum building from a tourist attraction, formerly known as Thunder Road, they reopened the museum and building in 2007, and they are now utilizing the back offices for administrative purposes.
But, before visitors even enter the large glass front of the spacious 40,000 square foot museum with its giant checked flag veranda, there is plenty to see outside where there is an array of vintage racing cars, and the Garden of Bricks and Winner’s Circle—both bearing plaques with the names of contributors to the museum’s creation.
Inside the museum, visitors will discover memorials to NASCAR racing greats, and several exhibits featuring the history and the machines of the prohibition moonshine runners that became racers and mechanics, and then NASCAR’s first drivers and team owners.
Additional attractions include the museum’s interactive games, racing simulators, Georgia racing artifacts, license plates, and street signs. There are also many old newspaper clips, video presentations, and numerous famous racecars that belonged to the prominent members of Georgia’s racing heritage who ran the blockades to deliver their illegal cargo from Dawson County south to Atlanta and north to Knoxville. There is even an old trailer-bound moonshine still.
Exhibits at the Georgia Racing Hall of Fame Museum include . . .
• The Saturday Night Drive-In Theater, which presents a movie about the evolution of stock car racing that visitors can view while they sit on tailgates and in the back seats of vintage cars.
• The Georgia Racing Hall of Fame Room honors the men and women who made Georgia racing famous—among its numerous inductees are: Raymond Parks, Gober Sosebee (“Wild Injun”),Bill Elliott (“Awesome Bill From Dawsonville”), Jimmy Mosteller, Mickey Swims and Bud Lunsford.
Each year—in October, prior to the annual Moonshine Festival in Dawsonville—the Georgia Racing Hall of Fame Association (GRHOFA) inducts eight more racers into the Hall of Fame. The Georgia Racing Hall of Fame Room presents and honors all current GRHOF racers and inducts eight new drivers each year.
The Georgia Automobile Racing Hall of Fame Association is a statewide organization with over 500 members—anyone who is a fan of automobile racing can join and help preserve the history of automobile racing in Georgia. For more information on GARHOFA, visit http://www.garhofa.org.(10-10-2007)
• The Georgia Racing Heritage Scrapbook Wall spotlights the personalities, technical innovations, drivers, mechanical wizards, outlaws, racing showdowns and legends as they happened in the foothills of the north Georgia mountains.
• The Elliott Family Legacy Room is a section of the museum that pays tribute to the legendary NASCAR driver and Dawson County native, Bill Elliott. Featuring many of Elliott’s trophies, awards and several famous racecars and awards, the Legacy room with its many exciting exhibits is a chronicle of the entire Elliott family’s racing history that lead to Dawsonville’s native son becoming the first driver to win $1 million dollars in a single race in 1985.
“Million-Dollar Bill” as he was nicknamed then went on in 1988 to win the Winston Cup Championship, two Daytona 500 wins, and a record four consecutive wins at Michigan International Speedway. In addition, Bill Elliott has accumulated forty-four career wins and has been awarded NASCAR’s Most Popular Driver Award a record sixteen times.
• The Champions Café is the Museum’s retro-styled diner—with a black and white checked floor and shiny red and white booths—serving southern cooking and ice cold Sweet Tea.
Georgia’s Connection to NASCAR
Thirteen years of Prohibition and the outlawing of moonshine transformed Dawsonville, Georgia into a southern icon for stock car racing. Moreover, Georgia drivers, car owners, mechanics, and speedways have long played a key role in the origination, development, and growing popularity of the National Association of Stock Car Racing, making Dawsonville if not the outright birthplace of NASCAR, then certainly the “cradle of speed”, as it was aptly labeled by Captain Thunder (Heard on ESPN Radio) of CaptainThunderracing.com
NASCAR: Beyond a Local Attraction
As of 2009, NASCAR has become the second-most viewed professional sport in terms of U.S. television ratings. Internationally, NASCAR races are broadcast in over 150 countries. Moreover, stock car racing is no longer just a man’s sport, Dawsonville’s racing legends Louise Smith, Sara Christian, and Ether Mobley are among the very first “Women behind the Wheels” to inspire 30+ million female NASCAR racing fans.
And though Charlotte, North Carolina may have won the race to become the host for the NASCAR Hall of Fame, against Atlanta—home to more NASCAR sponsors than any other city—racing fans passing through north Georgia can still honor NASCAR icons and learn about the evolution of stock car racing at the Georgia Racing Hall of Fame Museum.
Georgia Racing Hall of Fame Museum
415 Highway 53 East
Free Admission—visitor donations are welcome to help the volunteer run museum.
Hours of Operation:
Monday – Friday 10:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m.
Weekends 10:00 a.m. – 2:00 p.m.
Holiday Hours Vary
(Call for times 706-216-RACE)
Groups are welcome to tour the museum, and there are guided tours (1-2 hours) available. For more information, call 678.283.6011.
Directions: From GA400, take a left onto HWY 53 (next light after N GA Premium Outlet Mall). Proceed on HWY 53 for 5 miles. GRHOF Museum will be on the right.