BULLS GAP, Tenn. — The Lucas Oil Late Model Dirt Series $10,000-to-win 11th annual Scorcher presented by Reece Monument Co. of Tazewell and O’Reilly Auto Parts is scheduled Thursday, Aug. 21 at Volunteer Speedway. Track owners Joe and Phyllis Loven are pleased to announce that former East Tennessee NASCAR racer Randy Bethea will serve as grand marshal for the event.
Bethea, who resides in Newport, was a regular competitor during the 1970s in the NASCAR Late Model Sportsman (current day Nationwide Series) division, traveling all around the Southeast to race against drivers “The Ironman” Jack Ingram, Harry Gant, L.D. Ottinger, Butch Lindley, Gene Glover, Jimmy Hensley, Bob Pressley, John A. Utsman, Brad Teague, plus many others.
He made history in 1973 by becoming the first African-American NASCAR racer to win a pole award in an upper-division race, when he out-qualified Darrell Waltrip for the top spot along with a (strong) loaded field in the Late Model Sportsman Southern 400 at Nashville Fairgrounds Speedway. Bethea made history again in 1975, driving for car owner D.K. Ulrich in the NASCAR Winston Cup Series World 600 at Charlotte Motor Speedway to become one of only seven African-Americans to compete at NASCAR’s highest level, currently known as the Sprint Cup Series.
To learn more about Randy Bethea, watch an outstanding 60-minute documentary titled “Just Another Racer: The Randy Bethea Story” on YouTube at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Jpqbih1TM5E.
The grandstand gates at Volunteer Speedway will open at 5 p.m. on Thursday, Aug. 21. Hotlaps are tentatively scheduled to begin at 7:45 p.m, to be followed by time trials and then green-flag racing action starting around 9 p.m. (RW)
Volunteer Speedway (423) 235-5020 – www.VolunteerSpeedway.com