Ryan Walker Takes First Victory at GPS
By Reese Fant
GPS Staff Writer
It was a show of practically total domination in the Late-Model Stock main event Saturday night at Greenville-Pickens Speedway.
Ryan Walker, driving the race car that Bob Root started the season racing, led from start to finish, and was never threatened, to capture his first ever LMS victory.
Walker and his race crew had everything planned just right, up until the moment he arrived in Victory Lane and GPS flag man Mark Turner asked him how it felt to capture his first win.
There was silence for a moment, before Walker said, simply, "I really don't know what to say," an answer the GPS spectators loved and one that endeared him to the entire track.
Then Walker pulled himself together after the emotional win, and added, "The car was a handful to drive. The last 25 laps, (Of the 50-lap event) I had to concentrate every second to hit all my marks and not mess up."
When Turner asked about the possibility of being run down and passed in the latter stages, "Walker said he never looked back at there any of the other cars were, but just kept driving his own race, Then he thanked Bob Root, saying 'I just can thank him enough. I want to thank everyone who worked on the car, who had anything to do with the car.
"This is the third straight race I've been inverted to start on the pole position," Walker said. "I just wanted to make sure I drove my race car and didn't let anything happen."
What Walker didn't know, what anyone couldn't know, was the cars that appeared to finish second and third, which are also the first and second cars in the ALMS points standings, were both disqualified. The second-place car was thrown out due to the suspension, and the third-place finisher had a problem with the fuel not passing.
Since every driver is allowed to not count two races, the points battle is actually closer than it appears, but since both the first and second place drivers in the points were penalized, and there are only five LMS races scheduled before Championship Night, in mid-September, unless the leader has another bad race, he has a substantial lead.
The disqualifications put Kyle Plott in second, with Jamie Tate third and Kres Vandyke fourth. Tasha Kummer, having her best season, ever, sits in third place in the points and was fifth.
Kason Plott was sixth and Rodney Howard took seventh. It was his first race in a new car. Andrew Cordell was eighth, with Dale Dove ninth and TJ Lollis finished tenth.
TJ Lollis, The son of veteran racer Tim Lollis, drove a good race for his first time out, showing the talent in the Lollis family doesn't all belong to the dad. Kyle Barnes was 11th, and Matt Lockee in 12th. Trey Gibson was credited with 13th and David Roberts finished 14th.
Midway through the evening's program, GPS promoter Anthony Anders made a special announcement that delighted the entire track.
Since the Wheels of Destruction and 4-Cylinder Enduro is the program for Greenville-Pickens on the 18th, Anders announced that on July 25th, on a regular show program, he is giving $2 of every admission to the fund for the Gentry family as they fight this battle against cancer.
Veteran race car driver Shane 'Big Show' Gentry has been diagnosed with grade 4* glioblastoma. He is starting chemo and radiation therapies and will be going to Duke University Hospital for additional diagnosis and treatment. This is a treatable form of cancer, but at this time there is no cure.
There was a celebration for the Gentry Friday night at their home in Easley, which had a terrific turnout.
"Let's call it the 'Shane Gentry Show' , Anders said.
Veteran racer Gentry earned the nickname, 'Big Show' back when it seemed he always won the races when special programs were being held.
There was a special program for the Renegade division where two 15-lap main events were staged, and Greg Darnell was the winner of the first race. Blake Gregory was second, with Brad Burns taking third. Bobby Emory was fourth and Alexx Brezeale fifth.
Parker Jameson was sixth, with Daniel Jameson in seventh. Colt Smith took eighth with Brandon Ellison and Connie Cepek rounding out the top 10. Greg Manley and Chris Meinders completed the field.
In the second main event Alexx Brezeale took the checkered flag with Darnell in second. Blake Galloway was third and Brad Burns took fourth. Chris Meinders was fifth. It was Brezeale's first victory in the division. Colt Smith was sixth and Daniel Jameson took seventh. Brandon Ellison, David Cepek, and Gregg Manley rounded out the top 10.
Bobby Emory, Blake Gregory and Parker Jameson completed the field.
The most trouble Tim Sams had in the Super Renegade race was getting by his son, Josh. The division points leader said he felt bad for his son with he was able to pass, adding how hard they had worked on the son's car. "At least somebody in the family won," Sams said. Jimbo Mann was third with Stanley Pressley fourth. Danny Gilbert was fifth.
Andy Norris, Ricky Stephens, James Johnson and Joe Satterfield rounded out the field.
In the 4-cylinder main, veteran Buck Simmons showed his dominance, finishing ahead of Michael Cross and Donnie Tavernia. Danny Esco and Joshua Thomason were fourth and fifth, respectively. Isaac Powell, Chad Tavernia, Manuel Molleda, Barry Gonsalves and Sandra Tavernia rounded out the top 10. Casey Finley was 11th.
Jason McGrew took the win in the Pure Street Stock main, finishing ahead of Spencer Darnell. Michael Webster was third, with Fred Hale and Chris Harvell were fourth and fifth, respectively. Ray Mulinax, AJ Davis, and Chris Meinders rounded out the division.
Randy Porter Wins Doug Noe Memorial Race
When the dust settled, the fantastic fireworks display ended and things got dark and quiet at the historic half-mile Greenville-Pickens Speedway on Saturday night, the Family Reunion was over and former two-time track champion Randy Porter was the happiest trucker loading up and heading home.
The race, called the Doug Noe Memorial Race, had all of the trappings of a Family Reunion on a true American Holiday. And as usual at some Family Reunions, there were a few heated discussions among relatives.
While the racing in all six divisions seemed exciting, there was almost as much passing done in the Tech Shed, during Post-race inspections, as there was on the track.
Former two-time GPS track champion Randy Porter came out on top of the biggest discussion, after the Southeastern Super Truck Series main event.
The holiday race was named in honor of former GPS friend and race car driver Doug Noe, whose life was cut short by tragic illness, and one of his racers was on prominent display. Super Trucks from all over came to compete, but it turned out to be a family affair.
The former champion who jumped out and led the most laps, appeared dominant throughout, and took the checkered flag without much trouble, just couldn't make it through the tech shed for the post-race inspection. Rumor had it the car's fuel was a touch too powerful, causing the disqualification, but this is unofficial. The only official thing known is, his visitor was taken away and the win presented to another GPS former champion, Randy Porter.
Porter, who was competing in a Chevrolet truck, was vocal in Victory Lane about how much faster the apparent winner was, who was driving a Ford. And, second-place finisher Tim Lollis, who also competes in a Chevrolet, said he, too, was going to have to look into a Ford product due to the apparent horsepower advantage on the straightaways.
But in the end, due to the disqualification, it turned into a July 4th celebration for the local guys and Chevy. With Porter taking the win, and Lollis finishing second, third-place went to another local driver, Jamie Tate, and it wasn't until Lee Tissot was credited with fourth place that one of the regular traveling series cars finished.
Cole Glasson was fifth, with Tal Dawson sixth and Luke Sorrow seventh. Local racer Jamie Altop was eighth, with Ed Surrett and Dalton Slagle rounding out the top ten.
Ricky Bowers, Houston Sullivan, Danick Coomer, Kevin Leicht and Pete Porter made the top 15. Zach Franks was 16th, and Shawn McIntyrre was 17th. Former GPS track champion Kenneth Headen was credited with 18th.
The Family Reunion theme held through the Southeastern Super Stock series, part of the traveling Super Truck racing package.
Local racer Nick Thunder showed dominance in this event, working his way through the field to take thc checkered flag. He handily outran Steven Carver, with Jason Leatherwood taking third. Jerry Bryant was fourth and Sawyer Frady was fifth. Clint Watkins and Danny Gilbert completed the field.
In the Carolina Vintage division, Johnny O'Neil was the winner and Greenville's own Greg Porter took second.
Competing in his classic Camaro, Porter raced second most of the event, then came storming up at the end to try and get around O'Neil, but the checkered flag seemed to come out just one lap too soon for Porter to catch the victor.
Chuck Thorne was third, with Phil Terry and Hutch Webb rounding out the top five. Roger Sams was sixth, Joe Evans seventh, and Duffy Sums seventh and Howard Scruggs took eighth.
The most dominant racer in the Renegade division, going for his ninth win of the year, had problems in the Tech Shed, following the event, and the victory went to points leader Bobby Emory. Greg Darnell was second and Eddie Ray took third. Jackie Foster was fourth and Blake Gregory took fifth. Blake Galloway was sixth, with Larry Nabors, Daniel Jameson, Parker Jameson and Michael Thompson rounding out the top ten. Alexx Brezeale was eleventh, followed by Wendell Smith, Gregg Manley, Brandon Ellison, Jack Hall, Connie Cepek and Colt Smith.
The apparent winner of the Pure/Street Stock race refused a protest, and the victory went to Spencer Darnell. Fred Hale was second, and Ray Mullinax finished third. Ashley Granata took fourth and AJ Davis was fifth. Jason McGrew was sixth with Charlie Meinders seventh. Hank Hutto and Michael; Webster were eighth and ninth, respectively.
It was the second-place car, not the winner, that was disqualified in the Four Cylinder, Front Wheel Drive race, with Don Tavernia taking the hard-fought victory. Michael Cross was second, and Isaac Powell was third. Joshua Thomason took fourth and Chad Tavernia was fifth. Barry Gonsalves, Manuel Molleda, Sandy Tavernia and Tommy Davis Junior completed the field in the race.
Gibson Continues Winning Streak
Greenville-Pickens Speedway points leader David Roberts suffered two losses Saturday night at the historic half mile oval. He lost approximately 10 points to his still commanding points lead, but that was minor.
Roberts still maintains a healthy lead, 642 to 580 to the race winner, Trey Gibson.
His other loss was quite substantial. His bright blue Ford racer was completely destroyed in a first-lap accident. Roberts had started on the outside pole in the race, and when the cars, still bunched together, went diving into the third turn, the racer that had started second row inside got a good run and made it three-wide going into the turn. Roberts seemed to already be pulling to the front, but suddenly the cars bunched and Roberts spun wildly into the third-turn wall. When he hit, his car went completely airborne before settling onto the track.
Both ends of the car suffered major damage.
Roberts, though, was not only alert throughout the incident, he was thinking hard.
The accident occurred just after the green flag, and no car had completed a lap. Due to the caution, the race had to be completely restarted, and Roberts went rushing out onto the track and took over the driving duty in Dale Dove's racer. By doing this, Roberts managed to finish sixth, instead of last, and saved himself some valuable points towards his quest to become a two-time champion.
Gibson, the youngest driver ever to win a Late-Model Stock main event at Greenville-Pickens Speedway, went on to win, and in Victory Lane said that although he was able to get a good run on the leaders and make it three-wide on the front row going into that third turn, he did not touch a single automobile and was not involved in the accident. He went on to thank his sponsors, and especially thank his father and grandfather for supporting him in his racing.
Cody Haskins was second, and Andrew Cordell was third. Tasha Kummer had trailed Haskins in the latter stages and managed to pass to take over second place just before the end. The two cars came together in the last two turns, and Kummer spun. Haskins was second, and Cordell took third.
Kason Plott was fifth, with Robert taking sixth. Dylan Hall was seventh, and Ryan Walker was eighth.
Tommy Davis, Jr., took the victory in the 4-cylinder race, with points leader Don Tavernia taking second. Michael Cross was third, Joshua Thomason was fourth, and Chad Tavernia was fifth.
Issac Powell was sixth, and Casey Finley took seventh. Tommy Davis Sr. was eighth, Danny Esco ninth, and Sandra Tavernia was tenth. Barry Gonsalves, Manuel Molleda and Michael Webster completed the field.
Chris Harvell collected the victory in the Pure-Street Stock race, as Spencer Darnell was second. Jimbo Mann was third. Michael Webster was fourth and Freddy Hale fifth.
Hank Hutto was sixth, with AJ Davis, Ray Mullinax and Ashley Granata completing the field.
In the Super Renegade race, it was a short field and the Sams duo, father Tim and son Josh, made short work of it.
Tim collected the win, with Josh in second. James Johnson was third and Andy Norris took fourth.
Greg Darnell took the victory in the highly popular Renegade division main, as he put 14 other cars to rest. Brad Burns, who has won eight races in these ranks this season, took second, and Bobby Emory was third. Shane Hill was fourth and Jackie Foster took fifth.
Daniel Jameson was sixth, as Blake Galloway was seventh. Parker Jameson was eighth, and Manley Gregg and Jack Hall completed the top ten.
Connie Cepek was eleventh, with Steve Guthrie, Fred Hale, Matt Hale and Blake Gregory rounding out the division.
Gibson Takes the Checkered
Roberts Strong Again at GPS
By Reese Fant
GPS Staff Writer
The grandstand of stock car race fans and the people sitting on the backstretch watching the Greenville-Pickens Speedway program Saturday night may not have realized it, but there were a couple of sad race-within-the-race emotions.