KINGSPORT, Tenn. — Gene Glover of Kingsport won the 1979 NASCAR Late Model Sportsman national championship, and he also owns more track titles at Kingsport Speedway than any driver who’s ever competed in the Model City.
His son, Tony Glover, served as crew chief for his father before eventually moving into the same role for many years in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series with Abingdon, Va.-based Morgan-McClure Motorsports (three Daytona 500 wins coming in 1991, ’94, and ’95), plus with Sabco Racing owned by Felix Sabates, and Chip Ganassi Racing. The younger Glover was back home again Friday night in Northeast Tennessee as Kingsport Speedway paid tribute to his father, who passed away in 2008 at age 73.
Another Kingsport racer, Ronnie McCarty, is the defending Kingsport Speedway NASCAR Whelen All-American Series Late Model Stock Car champion.
McCarty aided his cause in hopefully repeating as champion as he led all 60 laps while en route to capturing his fourth victory on the season. However, the win didn’t come easy. McCarty was pressured the entire distance, but drove a flawless (mistake-free) race to remain out front until the checkered flag waved.
McCarty and Kres VanDyke led the 18-car field to green from the front row for the 60-lap main event, and the duo raced door-to-door for the opening five laps before McCarty moved ahead over VanDyke, Wayne Hale, Joey Trent and Justin Fontaine.
Zeke Shell, who entered the night of racing trailing McCarty by just one-point in the standings, started at the back of the pack due to breaking a rear axle when he pulled out onto the track to qualify. But he quickly worked his way into the top 10.
Robbie Ferguson, last week’s race winner, got around Austin Peters and Fontaine to move into fifth place on lap 15 and just two circuits later he passed Trent racing up off (turn) two for the fourth spot.
Meanwhile, Shell was on a mission and he rolled around both Peters and Fontaine on lap 18 to move into sixth place. He was not done, as he began working on Trent for fifth and successfully completed the pass for position as they raced off the fourth turn on lap 21.
Good racing was taking place back through the top 10 cars (all on the same straightaway) in the running order. McCarty had VanDyke pressuring him up front, with VanDyke either riding on the leader’s rear bumper or sticking the nose of his car underneath McCarty racing off the corners. But lap-after-lap, McCarty kept hitting his marks and VanDyke was unable to overtake him.
Shell passed Ferguson to take over fourth place as they raced off the fourth turn on lap 31, and quickly closed in behind third-running Hale. Shell made the pass for position on Hale on lap 33 racing off the second corner down the backstretch.
Shell was now zeroed-in on McCarty and VanDyke just ahead of him, while just behind them Hale, Ferguson, Trent, Fontaine, Peters, and current NASCAR Whelen All-American Series national points leader Matt Bowling were jockeying for real estate around “The Concrete Jungle.”
The action up front intensified around lap 50, as McCarty had VanDyke breathing down his neck and Shell was glued to VanDyke’s back bumper. VanDyke looked under McCarty to try and take the lead on lap 54 racing off the fourth turn. But things quickly went from good to bad for VanDyke, as he got loose and spun on the front straightaway and slammed hard into the inside wall to bring the event’s first caution out. The damage to VanDyke’s car was too severe for him to continue.
With a six-lap shootout to the finish looming, Shell was hoping to mount a serious challenge on McCarty to grab the lead off the ensuing double-file restart. But McCarty shot out ahead and went on to record the victory over Shell, Ferguson, Hale and Fontaine.
Completing the top 10 finishers were Trent, Bowling, Peters, Derek Lane and Nik Williams.
Veteran Street Stock racers Chris Tunnell of Wise, Va., and Paul Shull entered the night of racing separated by only two points. They started beside one another on the front row for the 30-lap feature and battled during the early stages before Tunnell began to pull away, as the race ran caution-free. Tunnell captured his third victory over Shull, Royce Peters, Mark Christian and Dennis Deese.
Kenny Absher was looking to make it three straight wins in Pure 4 action as he grabbed the lead at start of the 25-lap feature over teammate and divisional point leader Billy Byington. Both Jason Ketron and his father, John Ketron, got around Byington within the first five laps, with Byington settling into the fourth spot in the running order.
The elder Ketron passed his son for second place on lap 15 racing off the fourth turn and set his sights ahead on leader Absher. But Absher looked to be zoned-in on earning another visit to victory lane as he held a 10 car-length advantage over Ketron with just five laps remaining. Richard Quillen spun between turns three and four to bring the caution out on lap 20, thus erasing Absher’s commanding lead.
With Absher and Ketron on the front row for the double-file restart, Ketron outran Absher down the front straightaway into the first turn to take the lead. Once out front, John Ketron of Kingsport would not be denied his second win of the season over Absher, Chris Neeley, Jason Ketron and Byington.
Rocky Yates of Abingdon, Va., took the lead on the seventh lap in the Mod 4 feature and remained out front to the finish in capturing his division-leading seventh victory over Kevin Canter, Jessie Amburgey, Jerry Miller and Larry Bowens.
Jamie Meadows of Castlewood, Va., held Marty Tunnell off for his second Pure Street win on the season. Finishing third through fifth, respectively, were Duke Bare, Dennis Arnold and Bobby Talbert.
With schools around the region back in session, that means the kick off to Friday night high school football. Kingsport Speedway will take next week off due to NASCAR racing at nearby Bristol Motor Speedway, but Precision Electrical Company Inc. Championship Night is scheduled on Friday, Aug. 26.
KINGSPORT SPEEDWAY – FRIDAY, AUGUST 12, 2016 – GENE GLOVER TRIBUTE RACE & BACK TO SCHOOL NIGHT
NASCAR WHELEN ALL-AMERICAN SERIES – LATE MODEL STOCK CAR (60 laps)
1. Ronnie McCarty #5-Kingsport, TN
2. Zeke Shell #50-Johnson City, TN
3. Robbie Ferguson #7-Jonesborough, TN
4. Wayne Hale #19-Bluff City, TN
5. Justin Fontaine #60-Fletcher, NC
6. Joey Trent #26-Gray, TN
7. Matt Bowling #83-Ridgeway, VA
8. Austin Peters #66-Kingsport, TN
9. Derek Lane #28-Kingsport, TN
10. Nik Williams #51-Greeneville, TN
11. Rick Pannell #33-Kingsport, TN
12. Kres VanDyke #15-Abingdon, VA
13. Steven Deskins #14-Oakwood, VA
14. Jamie Harrison #76-Church Hill, TN
15. Kyle Barnes #15-Draper, VA
16. Danny Casteel #41-Johnson City, TN
17. Royce Peters #8-Kingsport, TN
18. Elby Harrison #83-Bastian, VA
STREET STOCK (30 laps)
1. Chris Tunnell #6
2. Paul Shull #48
3. Royce Peters #40
4. Mark Christian #43
5. Dennis Deese #24
6. Gary Crumbley #59
7. Nick Cole #63
PURE 4 (25 laps)
1. John Ketron #27
2. Kenny Absher #11
3. Chris Neeley #94
4. Jason KEtron #28
5. Billy Byington #11
6. William Hale #47
7. Bruce Crumbley #33
8. Craig Phelps #00
9. Bucky Smith #99
10. Dylan Bates #6
11. Kevin Darnell #4
12. Robert Darnell #88
13. Robert Young #59
14. Daniel McMurray #0
15. Richard Quillen #13
16. Lloyd Baker #7
17. Paul Stanley #40
18. Robert Smith #1
19. Dennis Crawford #14
20. Larry Stapleton #15
21. Alexcia Ray #99
Did Not Start: Brent Curran #32
MOD 4 (25 laps)
1. Rocky Yates #3
2. Kevin Canter #2
3. Jessie Amburgey #7
4. Jerry Miller #01
5. Larry Bowens #18
6. Dennis Arnold #7
7. Chris Amburgey #17
8. Bobby Talbert #11
PURE STREET (25 laps)
1. Jamie Meadows #11
2. Marty Tunnell #99
3. Duke Bare #52
4. Dennis Arnold #7
5. Bobby Talbert #67
6. Brandon Crumbley #7
7. Jeremy Draughn #7
-Kingsport Speedway Press Release. Photo Credit: Kingsport Speedway