"Skeeters"

I can hear it now!! What the H____ is a "Skeeter"??? Well, unless you have lived down south in the Georgia, Alabama, Tennessee area you probably don't know. But "Skeeter" was the name given to small cut down coupes & coaches that ran in that area mostly in the 60s. I first saw them run on the dirt at the Athens, Georgia Speedway in 1960 while living in South Carolina. Pretty neat little cars!! They ran on both dirt and pavement and I doubt any team had but one car in those days. I don't know when they started, but probably in the very late 50s as drivers tried to go faster by getting lighter and smaller. At a few tracks in that area I think they lasted well into the mid-late 60s or maybe even the early 70s, long after I returned to western PA. From the late 50s into the early 70s, short track racing all over the country was in transition from the old full body coupes. How things changed in each local area has a lot to do with what is being run there today, Sprints or Late Models, or in the Northeast, Modifieds. In some areas the coupes got smaller and smaller and then went to completely homebuilt bodies as "Super-Modifieds" and then it wasn't long until the first Sprint Cars with roll cages showed up. In other areas the promoters said we want to go with later model cars that the fans can identify with and the "Late Models" were born. Things developed differently in different sections of the country and that is much too involved to get into here. The Georgia area appeared to be headed the Super-Modified way but the full-bodied "Late Models" won out and today that is mostly what is run in that area.

The Peach Bowl in Atlanta is a historic track in NASCAR's early years. Opened as a 1/4 mile dirt in 1949, it was soon paved in 1950 and was an active as a track into 1971 according to Allan E. Brown's HISTORY OF THE AMERICAN SPEEDWAY. Roy Shoemaker was the owner, builder and promoter of the legendary Peach Bowl Speedway in downtown Atlanta. The track was a favorite among southern racers, and was located closer to the downtown Atlanta area than the Atlanta Zoo is today. Shoemaker sold the track in 1970, and passed away in 1971. A MARTA bus repair depot now sits on the site of the old Peach Bowl. In the early days the likes of the Flock Bros. and other NASCAR notables such as Jack Smith raced at the Peach Bowl. By the time of my 1962 visit all of those drivers had moved on and the track was running "Skeeters" under NASCAR sanction. I can't tell you who won that night, but what I remember most was that Bobby Allison came over from Alabama to run his full-bodied coach against the much smaller lighter cars. He didn't win with his trusty #312 coach but ran competitively and I think finished in the top ten for valuable NASCAR points.

Bud Lunsford, a Hall of Famer out of Gainesville, GA was 1962 Peach Bowl champ, edging Johnny Sudderth by only two points, which was just a single position in a feature race by the point system NASCAR used at the time. Katron Sosebee was 3rd over Estes and Bill Hemby, who is featured on Jimmy's old time website. Lunsford is in a couple of Late Model Hall of Fames, but in his early days was a whale of a Modified driver with his gold #49 cars and was the driver to beat in the early 60s.

GOOD RACING!!!!

Walt Wimmer 01/27/04