Barnes Wheels to Wild Enduro Win
A resilient Chuck Barnes, Sr., banked $5,000 tonight by emerging from a 69-car field to claim his second straight 150-mile street stock victory at Kentucky in the "Frank Kimmel Enduro Nationals II Presented by Harley-Davidson of Cincinnati and Thoroughbred Harley-Davidson Shop of Florence, Ky."
The Louisville, Ky., driver battled back from a Lap 35 backstretch spin and overcame damage sustained to his No. 51 machine during a three-car incident on Lap 76 before getting a drafting boost on Lap 97 from Joe Williamson, Sr., and the No. 11 that gained Barnes a lead he wouldn't surrender.
Barnes, Sr., led the race six times for a total of 39 laps before crossing the finish line 0.143 of a second ahead of Williamson, Sr., of Shepherdsville, Ky. Kyle Hadley of Louisville, Ky., took third, Roger Williams of St. Paul, Ind., snared fourth and Brett Hudson of Owensboro, Ky., rolled in fifth.
The race saw a total of 19 lead changes with five in the final 18 laps.
"This would have to be one of the hardest races I've run. Those guys were tough, everybody was driving the wheels off it tonight. Joe gave me a good boost and I got way out front. Then, I got up beside him and slowed him down," Barnes, Sr. said.
In addition to Williamson's drafting expertise, Barnes, Sr., also credited tonight's triumph to solid crew work and lessons learned during his 2007 experience on the 1.5-mile Kentucky Speedway tri-oval.
"Being here last year made a big difference, but everybody had a good feel of the car tonight and it made for some good racing. The car was really good. We got bumped a couple of times and the toe was knocked out. The guys got it back together and got it back out there. It was a little hairy out there with all those cars side-by-side. It was tough," he said.
Drivers rolled to pit road on Lap 51 for a competition caution with Hadley, Brett Hudson of Owensboro, Ky., Barnes, Sr., Williamson, and Chad Hall of Orleans, Ind., making up the top five. The 20-minute stop was established in the event rules as the only time teams could add fuel to their machines. Fifty-two cars returned to competition following the midway break.
Barnes, Sr., also won the race pole award after turning the fastest lap in the second practice session at 136.3 mph. Hadley led the first practice session with a fast 134.3-mph lap.
Eighty-nine cars registered for the event. The starting field tied the record for the largest in track history. The record was initially set at the inaugural Kentucky Speedway Enduro race last season.
Kentucky Speedway will continue its ninth season by bringing all-star attitude to its June 13-14 NASCAR Nationwide Series weekend that will feature NASCAR Sprint Cup Series stars Carl Edwards, Kyle Busch, Clint Bowyer, David Ragan and David Reutimann.
Two days of action will begin June 13 with practice sessions and free fan infield access on "Nationwide Series Day." Gates will open at 5:00 p.m., and practice will conclude at 8:00 p.m.
Drivers are expected to entertain a capacity crowd for the eighth consecutive season when they return June 14 for "The Meijer 300 Presented by Oreo." Gates open at 2:00 p.m., "Meijer 300 Presented by Oreo" qualifying begins at 5:00 p.m., and rockers Smashmouth will be in concert on the Turn 1 Concourse at 6:30 p.m. Honorary Starter and Univ. of Louisville Head Men's Basketball Coach Rick Pitino will send the 43-car field racing at 8:30 p.m.
Tickets can be reserved through the Tickets pages of this Web site, by phone at 888-652-RACE, at Meijer stores and by visiting the Kentucky Speedway ticket offices at 400 Buttermilk Pike, Suite 100, in Ft. Mitchell, Ky., next to the Montgomery Inn restaurant or in the Sparta, Ky., Fan Center located off of Interstate 71 Exit 57 and Hwy. 35 N.
Story by Mike Schmaltz
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