Memories of Augusta as a racing hub will once again drive into the spotlight this weekend, when the Augusta International Raceway Preservation Society holds its 2012 hall-of-fame induction banquet and racing reunion.
Five new inductees will be honored and a lifetime achievement award will be presented during the banquet Friday evening at the Diamond Lakes Recreation Center. The two-day event will wrap up Saturday with a vintage race car show and family-friendly attractions.
“I think we’re really going to have a great turnout,” said Jack Watson, one of the event’s organizers. “We don’t get a lot of publicity all the time, but some of the best drivers in the world raced out there.”
The Augusta International Raceway once saw premier racing in the 1960s. The track’s 42-member hall of fame includes Richard Petty (Class of 2006).
Five drivers will be inducted this weekend: J.W. Boatwright, Berry Newman, Hubert Platt, “Little” Bud Moore and Harvey Tollison. Joe Cawley will receive a lifetime achievement award.
“These fellas all raced at Augusta at some time or another,” Watson said. “As far as I know they’ll all be here this weekend.”
Tickets to the banquet are $20 and the event, which includes dinner, is open to the public. Saturday’s festivities are also open to spectators, and admission is free.
The Augusta track was a 3-mile banked road course that is no longer in use, though the Augusta International Raceway Preservation Society is dedicated to keeping alive its history, legacy and memory.
“There’s a lot of history of NASCAR in Augusta,” Watson said. “Some people don’t realize it’s right here.”
Saturday’s festivities will also include a “Rats at the Raceway Show,” a new addition to the annual event.
“It’s actually a piece of junk, but they put a good motor in it,” Watson said. “It’ll be something to see.”
The event will conclude at 2 p.m. Saturday with an awards presentation.