Cannon home cookin' and cookin' on the track at Atlanta Dragway. COMMERCE, Ga. (April 30, 2003) -- If you're passing through Greer, S.C., on your way to Atlanta Dragway for the Summit Racing Equipment NHRA Southern Nationals this weekend, and...
Cannon home cookin' and cookin' on the track at Atlanta Dragway.
COMMERCE, Ga. (April 30, 2003) -- If you're passing through Greer, S.C., on your way to Atlanta Dragway for the Summit Racing Equipment NHRA Southern Nationals this weekend, and you find yourself on Trade Street, stop by Cannon's Restaurant for a bite. In fact, if you drive in and pull into a stall, you just may have a Mohawk-wearing, world-class Nitro Funny Car racer serving you at the curb, at one of the only remaining drive-in restaurants in South Carolina that still feature curb service.
Scotty Cannon, the Oakley-clad scary dude who drives the Oakley Funny Car for Don Schumacher Racing in the NHRA POWERade Drag Racing Series at over 320 miles an hour in under five seconds, is really a cool, laid back family man and the unlikely owner of Cannon's Restaurant, which has been in his family for 34 years. Just 15 minutes from the restaurant and an hour from Atlanta Dragway, Cannon lives with his wife Amanda and three boys, Scott Jr., Brandon and Destin in Lyman, S.C.
Growing up in South Carolina, Cannon worked at the restaurant for his dad. "I've done it all. I did everything from washing the walls when I was 9 years old to curb-hopping," he fondly recalls. "And then I moved up to bussing the tables, then I started to run the cash register and then I started cooking. There ain't nothing in there I can't do. I've done it all" -- a work ethic he continues to maintain as a totally hands-on member of his racing team.
Racing nitro Funny Cars has taken priority over bussing tables these days, but Cannon's 23-year-old son, Scott Jr., runs the restaurant now, while Cannon's dad oversees the eatery, which seats 100 inside and can serve 40 to 50 cars curbside. "I've served my time," adds Cannon, the 1999 NHRA Rookie of the Year. "I used to work there all the time, doing double shifts."
He still drops in for lunch and visits with his patrons, who enjoy the photographs chronicling Cannon's 25-year racing career on the walls. "I have a big following from my hometown," he says. "Like, if I go in there during lunch, everybody there always wants to talk about racing. I've got pictures on the wall dating back to when I first started all the way up until now. I'm probably in there a couple of times a week when I'm home."
He'll be hosting a group of customers and friends at the track this weekend, when the NHRA circus competes in the seventh round of the 23-event NHRA series.
"It's fun having my friends and customers come to the track," he says, "but it's more stress, beyond a shadow of a doubt. But it's good. I like to see everybody else enjoy my racing too, not just me. It gives everyone around me an opportunity to be able to enjoy and live a little bit of my life when we're racing at home. At the same time, it's stressful for me, but I still would rather be doing this than doing anything else."
Nitro qualifying at Atlanta Dragway is scheduled for 4:30 p.m. and 7:30 p.m. on Friday, May 2. Qualifying continues on Saturday, May 3, at 12 noon and 3:00 p.m. Final eliminations begin at 11 a.m. on Sunday, May 4.