G.C. Spencer, a longtime driver and car owner in NASCAR’s top series, died Thursday in Johnson City, Tenn. Spencer, 82, suffered from emphysema.
Spencer ran in 415 races between 1958 and 1977. He did not win on what’s now known as the Nextel Cup circuit, but finished second seven times and had 55 top-five finishes and 138 top 10s.
Spencer’s best season was in 1965, when he finished in the top five 14 times and in the top 10 in 25 races on his way to a fourth-place finish in the final standings.
Spencer ran his final race as a driver at Atlanta in 1977 at age 51 and fielded cars as a team owner until, in 1983, Larry McClure purchased Spencer’s equipment and formed Morgan-McClure Motorsports. Spencer was team manager for Morgan-McClure for three seasons before retiring.
“I saw G.C. a couple of weeks ago, and he certainly still had his wit and was as active as he could be," McClure told the Kingsport (Tenn.) Times-News.
“He was a tough customer - a tough guy that the racing community is going to miss. I know I'm going to miss him sorely. He's the reason I'm in racing and have been in racing the last 25 years. He was a good guy and a good friend.”
A graveside service will be held at 2:30 p.m. Saturday in Johnson City.