Wednesday, 17 August 2011 16:43

Barber bouncing back from car crashes on track

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By Chris Jaster — This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

John Barber is known for having a lot of spare parts in his trailer and helping out other racers in the Speedy Creek Racing circuit.


If drivers ever have car issues and need a part, usually all they have to do is ask Barber for the part or some help and he will be right there.

Karma seemed to work in the IMCA modified driver last month after he competed in the Dakota Classic Tour, a racing event which has drivers competing in six events in six nights across North Dakota and in Estevan.

During the fourth night, in Dickinson, N.D., Barber’s car was pinned between another car and the wall in a race, causing it to shoot up the wall instantly. It went end-over-end twice and did a pair of barrel rolls, completely destroying the vehicle.

“That car was a total write-off,” said Barber, who wasn’t injured in the incident. “It just shredded the car when it rolled that many times.

“We used the power train out of it, but basically the body and main frame were done.”

Left without a car for the rest of the tour, Barber stayed on his trip and helped out other Speedy Creek racers who made the trek.

Not finishing the series, however, was only one of Barber’s problems. The Swift Current racer was without a car and he wanted to race in the Wolff Pack Run two weeks later.

It just so happened Barber had a new frame for a car he was planning to build for the 2012 racing season. Suddenly, that frame was the only way he could compete, although it would be a massive project. Barber usually builds cars over the course of the winter, but now he only had two weeks.

He got to work on the car as soon as he got home, staying up until midnight or 1 a.m. during weekdays and putting in 16-hour days on the weekend to try to get the car ready.

Thanks to a lot of help from his peers, and a little luck, Barber was able to enter his new No. 59 mod into the Wolff Pack Run.

“There were guys popping in here and there (to help),” said Barber, who works at Tune-A-Matic Service Ltd. “Getting ready for the Wolff Pack, we had a meeting at the shop and a bunch of guys who weren’t part of the meeting were working on the car and trying to get it running.

“We had a motor come in last minute and we were waiting for parts for it. It came on the Friday before the Wolff Pack.”

Barber couldn’t help but smile at the Wolff Pack Run knowing he would be able to compete, but that didn’t last too long.

During his second heat, he went sideways and another car got underneath him, flipping over his brand new car. It almost rolled a second time, but it stopped and came back down. Barber was able to start his car and drive off the track after the incident, but his weekend ended there.

Barber’s bad luck continued to follow him the next weekend in Lethbridge when a collision forced him to straighten the frame of his new car.

Although Barber feels a little jinxed for crashing so often, he also feels blessed at the same time.

“It’s kind of a combination. You’re lucky you don’t get hurt, but you’re jinxed because it kind of happens to you,” said Barber, who has been racing since 2000 and had not totalled a car until this season.

“It’s one of those things where everything piles up into one or it’s luck of the draw. It’s like everything, if there’s a time for it, it will happen.”

Barber’s luck, however, appeared to change last weekend at Kinetic Park.

He did not crash his new car during the second day of the Speedy Creek twin bill Aug. 14, winning one of his heats and Sunday’s feature in the process.

Those victories moved him into third place in the IMCA modified points standings with 247. He trails Dan Lee, who won Saturday’s feature, by 11 points. Bob Heffer leads the pack with 315 points.

Being so close to the top of the standings doesn’t add pressure for Barber. He won’t even look at the standings, preferring to race for fun, especially after the season he has had so far.

“I’m just out there for a blast now. I’ve had my excitement for the year,” he said. “I’m just going out there and working with the car.

“We have a race that we go to in Vegas in November. We’ll key up to that and I need get the feel of the car going into that race and get all the bugs out of it.”

In the ministock class, James Johnson continued his dominance last weekend, winning three heats and one feature. Norman Larson won the other feature. That performance gave Johnson the points lead with 230. Stuart Johnson is second with 177 while Dwayne Krause is third with 157 points.

Brad Levorson lost his street stock points lead to Daryl Kehler on the weekend. Kehler won Saturday’s feature and a heat on Sunday to move into first place with 303 points. Levorson, who won a pair of heats on the weekend, is close behind with 298. Randy Schultz isn’t leaving the race for the street stock championship. His win in Sunday’s feature moved him within seven points of Levorson in the standings.

In the hobby stock class, Clay Nelson maintained his spot on top of the class by winning Saturday’s feature. He sits in first place on the leaderboard with 328 points. His teammate, Kevin Schafer, sits in second with 312 points while Tyson Crowe is in third place with 271 points. Shane Grose, who won Sunday’s feature, sits in ninth place with 78 points.


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