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'I know I'll miss it': Georgia stock car racing legend retires after 55 years

Former Wrightsville mayor Willis Wombles announced this week that he'll be retiring from stock car racing.

COCHRAN, Ga. — After 55 years, a former Wrightsville mayor says this week will be his last lap for stock car racing.

If you ask Willis Wombles about stock car racing, he'd tell you it's been a hobby.

"I know I'll miss it, it's sort of a bittersweet day," he said.

After seven years of working at Cochran Motor Speedway, he knows the place inside and out.

"These are single trailers, you do have some haulers, but most of them come on smaller trailers," Wombles said.

Wombles has done it all, from flagman, to announcer, and promoter. He says there's one thing that keeps him coming back.

"The people. The fans, the participants, they're all good friends, and I enjoy seeing people enjoy themselves," he said.

ombles says he has a lot to be grateful for, celebrating his 79th birthday earlier this month and overcoming cancer 22 years ago. The final straw came on Father's Day, from his grandsons.

"Together, one gave me a fishing pole, and one gave me a tackle box. I think they were trying to tell me something," he said.

In a victory lap of his own, Wombles says he cherishes all of the memories, and how racing has been able to bring three generations of his family together.

"Thanksgiving race down at Swainsboro Raceway, my oldest son and my grandson who are announcers down there, and myself, we announced a race together," he said.

Wombles says now that retirement is here, he'll be going fishing with his grandsons more. 

He also wants to do some traveling with his wife and get more involved in the city of Wrightsville, something he hasn't been able to do since his time at the mayor's office ended 12 years ago.


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