WHEATLAND, Missouri (March 12, 2020) – Since he began driving race cars in 1992, Bob Barnett decided to walk away from the sport several times. How exactly did that work out?
“It about killed me,” Barnett said of life without racing. “I had to quit going to the track and watching because it bothered me so bad when I wasn’t racing.
“It gets in your blood. It’s hard to get away from it. I’ve tried and always got back in. You just get hooked.”
Now at 58, the Republic, Missouri driver known as “Big Show” feels more invigorated than ever about the dawn of a new season. Along with son and crew chief, Jay Barnett, a new Street Stocks is almost finished and the Barnetts are fired up for Lucas Oil Speedway’s Big Adventure RV Weekly Racing Series to begin.
Barnett is coming off a solid fourth-place finish in the 2019 O’Reilly Auto Parts Street Stocks points chase. He had five top-five finishes, but was bitten by a pair of DNFs that still sting to this day.
“We were close, up until our motor broke (late in the season) and were within reach of second place in points,” Bob Barnett said.
But the speed he displayed throughout the season, often running at or near the front, was a positive takeaway. Barnett recalled one race around midseason where he was leading eventual track champion Toby Ott in the late going before a caution flag wiped out his cushion.
“We dang near won two races,” Barnett said. “One of them, me and Toby was running back and forth. I finally realized, ‘I’m gonna win this race. I’ve got this race won.’ Then the caution came out.”
Barnett wound up third that night and also at the CMH Diamond Nationals, earning a podium finish and post-race interview, live on LucasOilRacing.TV.
As Jay Barnett points out, the team accomplished what it did with a 10-year-old car. He’s excited to see what can happen with a new FTH by Team 26 car this season. Winning a race and contending for a championship “is the game plan” Bob Barnett said.
“I’m kind of nervous as heck,” Bob added, about the new car. “I hope everything lines out and works the way we want it to work. Hopefully we’ll get the bugs worked out and get used to the new car. Then, it’s gonna be really good, I believe.”
One guarantee about the Barnett team: The best-smelling pre-race pit stall will be theirs. Not only will they have a new car, they also will bring a new upright barrel smoker to the track to cook a variety of BBQ for family and friends.
That’s just another part of the total racing experience for the Barnetts.
“We’ll have fun, like we always do,” Jay Barnett said.
Team sponsors include Just One More Brew and Cue, Shakers Mobile Bartending, Oil & Octane Shop, Team 26 Motorsports, Plumb Rite Plumbing, FTH by Eric Maggard, Conklin Excavating, DAP Backhoe & Trucking, Midwest Sheet Metal, Schaeffer Racing Oil, Fujimo Chassis and Fabrication, Helling Tire, Christi Bukaty with USA Mortgage, R&R Graphics and Chris’ Key Shop.
The Lucas Oil Speedway season kicks off with the Open Test and Tune on March 28, with the Big Adventure RV Weekly Racing Series opening night set for April 4 with action in all four divisions – Pitts Homes USRA Modified, Ozark Golf Cars USRA B-Mods, Warsaw Auto Marine & RV ULMA Late Models and O’Reilly Auto Parts Street Stocks.
Season passes for 2020, along with gift cards which can be redeemed in any department of the speedway, are now available. Contact Admissions Director Nichole McMillan at (417) 282-5984 or email her at [email protected] for more information.
Lucas Oil Speedway General ManagerOffice: (417) 282-5984 [email protected]