2017 Augusta International Raceway Racers Reunion - WFXG FOX 54 - News Now

2017 Augusta International Raceway Racers Reunion

1960 NASCAR Champion Rex White (shown here L-R with Jeremy Clements and Gary Spurling) has attended the reunion every year. Although he never won at the track, he was always a factor. Darlington, 2016 (source: Doug Allen) 1960 NASCAR Champion Rex White (shown here L-R with Jeremy Clements and Gary Spurling) has attended the reunion every year. Although he never won at the track, he was always a factor. Darlington, 2016 (source: Doug Allen)
Seven time NASCAR Champion Richard Petty raced at AIR from 1962 until its closing in 1969. (source: Doug Allen) Seven time NASCAR Champion Richard Petty raced at AIR from 1962 until its closing in 1969. (source: Doug Allen)
1983 NASCAR Champion Bobby Allison,  will be in attendance to honor his brother Donnie Allison, who is being inducted into the Hall of Fame. Darlington 2017. (source: Doug Allen) 1983 NASCAR Champion Bobby Allison, will be in attendance to honor his brother Donnie Allison, who is being inducted into the Hall of Fame. Darlington 2017. (source: Doug Allen)
AUGUSTA, GA (WFXG) -

Diamond Lakes Park roared to life with the sounds of vintage race cars from years gone by at the 14th annual Augusta International Raceway Racers Reunion.

The event was hosted by the Augusta International Raceway Preservation Society. Starting with the Hall of Fame induction banquet on Friday night, such racing notables as Donnie Allison, Archie Graham and Ray Cagle received the honor. Allison, who won ten times on NASCAR's senior circuit, was on hand to receive the honor and sign autographs for the fans. "This is one of the greatest honors any driver can be awarded. Its really great to be recognized by your piers who at one time were my fiercest competitors" said Allison." And to top it off my brother (Bobby) is here with me, that makes it even more special"

The event raised funds for the 5Wkids outdoor Learning center, a park-like area outside the community. The goal is to raise funds for benches that will seat three children so they can learn about the history of racing at the storied facility. Their goal is to have in place ten benches in the next couple of years. Each bench costs $2,500 and is made of marble. Each has a special dedication carved into it commemorating a driver or event that helped make Augusta International Raceway part of the history of Augusta.

The newest bench was unveiled this year was in honor of Rex White, the 1960 NASCAR Champion and Hall of Famer. White who has been to every reunion but one was thrilled by the honor. I won here on the oval 3 times", commented White. "I've had a lot of honors in my lifetime but this one being for the kids is truly special."

As the crowds grew throughout the day, most came to see 1983 NASCAR Champion Bobby Allison and have memorabilia signed by the Allisons and Rex White in a truly rare appearance by three of the sport's greatest stars.

Henry Jones who is the founder of AIRPS was thrilled by the turnout. "This is our 14th year and it just keeps getting better every year. The history of racing in Augusta is so important to be preserved. The best part of this is, if you look around right now not only do you see some of the greatest divers of the last 50 years, but the cars that made them stars."

The cars on hand ranged from midget racers to full-blooded NASCAR machines capable of speeds of up to 200 mph. Augusta International Raceway held twelve NASCAR races on the half-mile oval from 1962-1969. The Allisons, Rex White, Joe Weatherly, Ned Jarrett and Fred Lorenzon all raced there on the way to becoming Hall of Fame race car drivers.

Jones wants everyone to know how important the society which he founded is. "By preserving our nations sports history for the youth of today they learn the lessons of hard work, sacrifice, success, and failure. All lessons still relevant today" for more information on the Racers Reunion, or to make a donation call Harvey Tollison at (706) 829-6825.

Copyright 2017 WFXG. All rights reserved.

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