Valdosta Daily Times

Breaking News:

Local News

June 15, 2014

Racers recall glory days

HAHIRA — Whether it’s peaches, pecans or football, South Georgia is famous for a variety of reasons. One of the region’s largest claims to fame is found in its racing history.

On Saturday afternoon, many of the region’s most famous racers gathered to reminisce during the Second Annual South Georgia Racers Reunion.

Hosted by the Hahira Historical Society in conjunction with the Georgia Racing Hall of Fame, this reunion hopes to preserve the strong history of racing in the area.

Perhaps one of the most famous racers in

attendance, Georgia Racing Hall of Famer Eddie McDonald has spent the majority of his life racing.

McDonald raced for 32 years, winning more than 1,150 races and competing on more than 150 tracks.

While McDonald still regularly attends races and loves the sport, he definitely misses the days of racing.

“You felt like you accomplished more back in those days when you won. Everything is store-bought now, but back then you helped build most of your cars. It was better competition back then. You knew everybody and the racing was just more likable,” he said.

Another of the state’s most famous racers was honored during the reunion. Harvey Jones, who raced from 1959-2002, passed away five years ago. His widow, Hazel Jones, accepted a custom guitar from Michael Carter. The guitar was signed “Jones Special” and featured a gold No. 6 in honor of his racing number.

Despite being extremely competitive back in the day, many of the racers remain friends and share mutual admiration for one another.

McDonald guessed he had raced against almost half of the racers at the reunion, but nearly every racer that approached him shared praise for him.

Some described him as “The World Famous Eddie McDonald,” while others said, “If Eddie and Harvey were at the race, you were racing for third because you knew they would take first and second."

The racing reunion wasn’t only held for past racers. Current racers participated.

Lonnie Roberts, a limited late model and vintage car racer, has been racing since 1981, a total of 33 years. His love of racing began when he was 9 years old and continues to this day.

“I love the speed and the competitiveness. I also love the camaraderie. My dad started teaching me to race when I was little. Back in those days, it was really different though. Back then you could get pieces from a junk yard and compete. Now you have to use store-bought pieces to be competitive,” Roberts said.

Whether they are current or retired racers, the love of the sport doesn’t fade. After all of these years, McDonald planned to spend his Saturday night at the race in Needmore, a race where Roberts will compete.

McDonald explained, “Racing just gets in your blood."

1
Text Only
Local News
  • DSC_2381.jpeg Award-winning young professionals share success secrets

    The Valdosta-Lowndes Chamber’s MetroOne Young Professionals hosted a panel discussion on Tuesday at the Hilton Garden Inn to highlight successful business practices.

    July 27, 2014 1 Photo

  • 140726_summerlibrary002.jpg Library celebrates end of summer reading program

    With the first day of school just around the corner, students are soaking in the last few weeks of summer vacation. The end of summer also means the end of the South Georgia Regional Library’s 2014 summer reading program.

    July 27, 2014 1 Photo

  • artseason1 copy.jpg A sneak peek at some area arts organizations’ 2014-15 seasons

    Beethoven. Tennessee Williams. Non-stop art. Two versions of “The Wizard of Oz.” The 2014-15 arts season is coming.

    July 27, 2014 1 Photo

  • sabalmap.jpg Sabal Trail explains its position

    Representatives from Sabal Trail Transmission recently sat down with The Times to provide an update on the ongoing pipeline and potential economic development opportunities associated with the project.

    July 27, 2014 1 Photo

  • 072514-MoodyComp007.jpg Moody AFB crews race in load competition

    Moody Air Force Base hosted a weapons load competition Friday morning, a maintenance group tradition in which two 23d Maintenance Group A-10 munition load crews raced against the clock to load munitions onto an A-10C Thunderbolt II.

    July 26, 2014 1 Photo

  • moonshine bust.jpg Police close illegal drinking house

    After receiving numerous complaints, the Valdosta Police Department shut down an illegal alcohol sales operation Friday.

    July 26, 2014 1 Photo

  • election.jpg Black earns most votes in runoff

    State Rep. Ellis Black led the votes for state Senate District 8 Friday with seven of seven counties reporting certified results, according to the Georgia Secretary of State’s Office.

    July 25, 2014 1 Photo

  • 140724-LAT1.jpg Little Actors Theatre ready for summer show

    Since 2004, the Little Actors Theatre has provided a place for children ages 6 to 19 to express themselves through acting.

    July 25, 2014 1 Photo

  • 072414-MichelleNunn003.jpeg Michelle Nunn visits Valdosta

    The day after learning that her Republican challenger would be David Perdue, Democratic U.S. Senate hopeful Michelle Nunn kicked off her Common Sense and Collaboration Tour Wednesday by meeting with business owners in Atlanta, Athens and Macon and continued her tour Thursday morning by visiting the David S. Waller Unit facility of the Boys and Girls Club of Valdosta.

    July 25, 2014 1 Photo

  • lunch.jpg Valdosta One Lunch feeds summer-hungry kids

    Hunger is a concept that many people associate with third-world countries, not their hometown. However, in Valdosta, hunger is real. To combat this hunger, a group of Valdostans have created Valdosta One Lunch, a program that distributes bagged meals to children in need.

    July 25, 2014 1 Photo

Top News
Poll

Do you agree with the millage rate increases?

Yes. We need to maintain services
No. Services should have been cut.
     View Results