Dennis Garrett

001 HUTCHINS RUNS WELL ... BUT DENNIS RUNS FIRST 190

HUTCHINS RUNS WELL ... BUT DENNIS RUNS FIRST
RICHMOND NEWS LEADER
MONDAY APRIL 20, 1970

RACED ON SUNDAY, APRIL 19,1970
RICHMOND SPORTSMAN 300
STATE FAIRGROUNDS AKA RICHMOND FAIRGROUNDS RACEWAY
HENRICO COUNTY,VA.

Thanks for any information or photos posted.
Dennis Garrett
Richmond,Va.USA
Dave Fulton
@dave-fulton   2 years ago
A damned stout field of Late Model Sportsman heroes at the Richmond Fairgrounds in 1970 for this one, Dennis. What I wouldn't give to see that group of drivers head to head one more time. Thanks for the great clip.
Dave Fulton
@dave-fulton   2 months ago
Wonder what last place finisher Gene Lovelace of Newport News, Va. who completed just 3 laps did to earn $50 more than the 9 cars finishing ahead of him? Lap leader? Qualifying position?
Dave Fulton
@dave-fulton   2 months ago
Last place finisher Gene Lovelace of Newport News, Va. would die less than 3 months after this Richmond Fairgrounds race when he suffered a massive heart attack on July 3, 1970 at Richmond's Southside Speedway. lovelace.jpg heart.PNG Some 30 years after his death, Al Pearce wrote this tribute to Gene Lovelace:

Driver Remembered For Skill, Character





April 23, 2000|By AL PEARCE Daily Press


HAMPTON — There's no telling how Virginia's racing landscape would have looked in the 1970s and 1980s if Gene Lovelace had lived beyond 37. It's almost a cinch his name would have been on almost every page of every speedway's record book. Enormously successful and popular, the Newport News native collapsed on July 3, 1970, after driving in a 10-lap Late Model Sportsman heat race at Southside Speedway in Richmond.






He was rushed by ambulance to the Medical College of Virginia, where he was declared dead of a heart attack. There was a 2 p.m. service three days later at Riverside Chapel in Newport News, followed by burial at Peninsula Memorial Park, near his home on Dominion Drive. Without exception, rivals spoke of his skill and determination whether on dirt track or paved, in Modifieds or Late Models. But just as quickly, they spoke of his character and integrity. "Gene could drive a race car as well as anyone - and I mean anyone you'll find anywhere,'' longtime rival Sonny Hutchins said at the funeral. "But he was also a fine, fine man, a true credit to this sport.'' Bill Champion, a full-schedule Winston Cup driver at the time, called Lovelace "one of the nicest people in the sport and one of the best drivers you'll ever find.'' Unfortunately, Langley Field Speedway (as it was known then) didn't always keep good records. Lovelace won its 1967 Modified title over Lennie Pond, Butch Tori, Frankie Burnham and Joe Hendricks, but there's no listing of how many races or poles he won. (He was 14th in the 1967 Modified standings at the State Fairgrounds Raceway in Richmond). In '68 he finished behind Maurice Blayton, Bill Dennis and Pond in Langley's Modified points. He sat out part of '69 after an early-season spat with track promoter Henry Klich. Specifically, Klich offered a weekly bonus to anyone who could beat Lovelace, and Lovelace quite properly felt he should get the money if he won. The top five in points that year were Jimmy Hensley, Pond, Lefty France, Hendrick and Hank Thomas. Lovelace and Klich made up late in '69, and Lovelace had won several Late Model races by the time he died 30 years ago this summer. Maybe Hank Richardson, crew chief for his Late Model, said it best: "I know how it sounds,'' he said at the funeral, "but I really feel that if Gene could have picked a place and time to die, it would have been at a race track near his friends.''

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