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Lloyd Seay: NASCAR's Greatest Driver Who Wasn't?

Most of today's NASCAR fans have never heard of Dawsonville's Lloyd Seay, but he very well could have been one of NASCAR's greatest drivers ever had he not been murdered six years before the sanctioning body was founded.

Lloyd Seay
Lloyd Seay

One day, there will be a movie about Lloyd Seay.

"Lloyd who?"


Of all the legendary race car drivers who never turned a lap of NASCAR competition, Seay might be the greatest. He never competed in NASCAR because he never had the chance. Had he not been shot and killed on September 2, 1941 - just over six years before Bill France incorporated the sanctioning body - he very well could have been one of, if not the, best.

Carl D. Lloyd Seay was born December 14, 1919. Dawsonville is now most commonly associated with NASCAR icon Bill Elliott, but many more stock car racing legends hailed from the North Georgia town, including Seay and his cousins, Raymond Parks and "Rapid Roy" Hall. Parks was NASCAR's first championship-winning car owner, while Hall was the subject of Jim Croce's song "Rapid Roy (The Stock Car Boy)." "Lightning Lloyd" began racing stock cars at the age of 18, winning in his very first start at the Lakewood Speedway in Lakewood, GA, in a car owned by Parks.

Accounts of Seay's life from those who saw him race - and the deputies who chased him during his nights running moonshine - he was fearless. One deputy in particular recounted a tale in which he pulled over Seay for speeding. Seay gave two five-dollar bills to the officer, who reminded him that the fine for speeding was just five-dollars. Seay allegedly replied, "I'm gonna be in a hurry coming back, so I'm paying in advance."

Perhaps the biggest compliment paid to Seay came from Bill France himself. The NASCAR founder, who saw all of the great stock car racers from the birth of the sport up to his death in 1992, stated that Seay was "the best pure race driver I ever saw."

If that isn't a strong enough endorsement, Seay provided one of his own in August-September 1941. He won at the Daytona Beach Road Course - the circuit that preceeded Daytona International Speedway - on August 24. He won at the High Point Speedway in North Carolina seven days later, before immediately traveling to Lakewood for a Labor Day event. He won the race, his third win in three different states in 15 days.

The morning after his Lakewood triumph, Seay and his brother Jim were confronted by their cousin, Woodrow Anderson, over a sugar bill charged by Lloyd to Woodrow's account. Anderson shot both Seays, fatally wounding Lloyd. He was just 21-years-old.

In 2002, the Georgia Racing Hall of Fame in Dawsonville recognized Lloyd Seay's achievements in an all-too-brief driving career by inducting him as part of its inaugural class. He was joined his cousins, Parks and Hall, two-time NASCAR champion Tim Flock, Red Byron - who won the first NASCAR championship driving for Parks in 1948 and the first title in what is now the Sprint Cup Series one year later - and Bill Elliott. One of the cars Seay raced to victory is on display in the museum.

Photographs by coka_koehler used in background montage under Creative Commons. Thank you.