“The development of the karts has progressed, but I don’t think the racers have,” Tuell said. “Some of these kids need to practice and have someone teach them the basics before getting on the track.
“My kids would practice up to 500 laps during the week before every race. That’s the only way you can learn.”
Brent Tuell is Phil’s son and the father of eight-year-old Konner and 11-year Karston. Using now defunct karting tracks such as the quarter-mile clay oval at Beechnut Raceway in Blountville as a proving ground, Brent earned over 100 wins in the grassroots sport.
“I started racing at age 5 and kept racing until I was 17,” Brent said. “It was fun.”
Brent is now content to watch his young sons pay their dues at tracks such as Kingsport Miniway and the historic Ashway Speedway in Strawberry Plains, Tennessee.
“I get nervous at times, but karting is a family activity that we all enjoy,” Brent said.
Phil helps his grandsons in every aspect of their hobby, from kart maintenance to race strategy.
“There are no shortcuts in racing,” Tuell said. “You have to be willing to listen, learn and work at it.”
The work ethic and versatility of Phil Tuell is legendary among the motorsports community in far Southwest Virginia, Northeast Tennessee and beyond.