Local family spreads ashes of race fan

Family members of racing enthusiast Vernon Gober are scheduled to pay him tribute this weekend at the Senoia Raceway. They say it will be both memorable and historic.

Gober's children — Robbie Gober of Locust Grove and "Lou" Mitchell of Newnan — plan to spread the inurned remains of their father on the 3/8ths-mile dirt track in Coweta County.

The tribute is scheduled to follow the kickoff to race activities at the raceway, said son, Robbie Gober. The tribute is planned to begin after 5 p.m., at 171 Brown Road, in Senoia.

"I'm doing this as a eulogy to my father because he loved it so," said Robbie Gober. "Dad loved it so much he was at the races every weekend. He came until he couldn't."

The son spoke from the Sports Care Service on Frontage Road, in Forest Park. He and his father co-owned the Clayton County auto repair shop and were in business together since 1968. His dad died June 14, from emphysema.

"Dad was a mechanic, and he created a lot of the trick stuff in the racing field, that dealt with the carburetor and exhaust," said Robbie Gober.

The junior Gober plans to drive around the track in a 1978 Chevelle, No. 17, that propelled him to 200 victories as a street stock and modified racer on tracks around the Southeast. He began his racing career in 1991.

"I raced when it [Senoia] was asphalt," said Gober. "We were dominating, but I could not have done it without dad, and my sponsor BobCraig,[ a Jonesboro businessman and Hampton resident]."

Robbie Gober said his father drove a motorcycle, and in 1961, was named a state champion in "hair scramble" riding, which is known now as motocross.

The elder Gober and his son made claims to having skills in the motorsports, but Robbie Gober's wife, Connie Gober, recalled her father-in-law was superstitious.

"He would always tell us not to bring peanuts, or boiled peanuts, to the pit area [because] it was bad luck," said Connie Gober. She said his son, and others, heeded his caution, and "Robbie always won."

The ride her husband will take this weekend will not be for trophies, titles or points.

Connie Gober said the family will make the hour-long trip from their southern Henry County home to the Senoia Raceway. There, they will find their father's special parking place. They will visit Vernon Gober's special place in the pit, as they would every Saturday night, when he was able to attend the weekend races. And they will pay tribute to a lifelong race fan.

Hampton resident and businessman BobCraig is expected to be there, too. He was a friend of Vernon Gober, and a primary sponsor for Robbie for about five years. He operated Sherwoods Restaurant in Forest Park, across the street from the Gobers' auto repair shop.

Craig continues to back racers like NASCAR's Reed Sorenson, and reflects fondly upon the Gober family.

"I think what Robbie is doing now is very appropriate," said Craig. "That was his dad's passion. He loved racing, and his life was working on automobiles."