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Tiny Lund is inducted into racing hall of fame

HEPHZIBAH, Ga. -- One of the great legends of automobile racing, the late Dwayne "Tiny" Lund was among those inducted into the Hall of Fame at the Annual Augusta International Speedway reunion held at Diamond Lakes Regional Park near Hephzibah last weekend.

The event was sponsored by members of the Augusta International Raceway Preservation Society. Harvey Tollison serves as the group's president.

His widow, Wanda Lund Early, was there to accept the honor on his behalf.

"It really meant a lot to see Tiny get that recognition," said Mrs. Early, who was married to the famous race car driver for seven years before he later was killed in a wreck at Talladega, Ala. International Motor Speedway. "It's so nice to see that his memory still lives on with so many racing fans and those who want to preserve racing history."

Mrs. Early made those comments during an exclusive interview with The McDuffie Mirror and Morris News Service at Diamond Lakes Regional Park last Saturday afternoon.

"I hope his memory and that of his racing buddies who have now gone on, too, will live on forever," said Mrs. Early, who has been promoting her late husband's accomplishments since his death. "It's very special to be back in Augusta and to see old friends."

One of those friends was Rosemary Burson Padgett, who still lives in Augusta. Mrs. Padgett was the wife of the late Georgia Sen. Mike Padgett, who served as a promoter at Augusta International Speedway when it opened on May 1, 1960 and shut down a little more than 10 years later in July 1970.

Mrs. Padgett's first husband, Bob Burson, who was one of the visionary persons wanting to build a race track that would attract all the big name racer car drivers to Augusta, as well as thousands of fans, died of cancer before the track could actually become a reality.

"It means a lot to me that members of the Augusta International Raceway Preservation Society would honor Bob in such a nice way," said Mrs. Padgett. "I was fortunate to have been married to two men who loved the sport of automobile racing. It really meant a lot to both of them."

Mrs. Padgett and Mrs. Early received red racing jackets from Mr. Tollison's group.

"It was so thoughtful of them to do this for us," said Mrs. Early, who attends five to six races around the country every year selling her late husband's photographs, etc.

Mrs. Early ventures on those trips with her husband, Bud Early. Mr. and Mrs. Early, who reside in Waynesville, N.C., have been married for 32 years and have raised four sons together.

"It really meant a lot to me that they went all-out to honor Tiny like they did."

While married to Lund, the couple had a son, Chris, who now is 40 and lives in Atlanta.

Web posted on Thursday, September 23, 2010

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