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Race team owner arrested on DUI charge

By Jason A. Smith

jsmith@henryherald.com

A NASCAR team owner faces charges in Henry County, after being arrested on the grounds of Atlanta Motor Speedway (AMS) in Hampton Wednesday.

James William "Billy" Ballew, 49, of Blairsville, is charged with one count of driving under the influence of alcohol.

The Henry County Sheriff's Office stopped Ballew Wednesday night, according to Sheriff's Maj. David Foster.

"Ballew was arrested by one of our officers on suspicion of DUI," said Foster. "The sheriff's office has jurisdiction at the speedway, even though AMS has their own security and law enforcement."

According to an Atlanta Journal-Constitution report, Ballew said he was "100 percent sure" the charge against him would be dropped. "It was only one drink; I was not drunk," Ballew reportedly told the AJC. "I was on Atlanta Motor Speedway property. I was not on the highway."

Ballew, the AJC report said, refused to take a breathalyzer test, "but acknowledged that he was carrying a mixed drink in the car when he was pulled over."

Ballew is a NASCAR Camping World Truck Series owner, and founder of Billy Ballew Motorsports. Drivers who work under him in the series are Kyle Busch, Mark Mitchell and Shane Sieg.

Past drivers on the Ballew team include Denny Hamlin, Bill Lester, Jeremy Mayfield, Geoffrey Bodine, Rich Bickle, Joe Ruttman, Bobby Gill and John Andretti.

Ballew was released from the Henry County Jail Thursday morning on a $1,506 bond.