Timing is everything in racing, and Saturday night was Austin Barnes’ time. Barnes of Escondido, California scored a $5,000 payday, winning the 50-lap Lucas Oil Modified non-points feature during Saturday’s Winter Showdown at Kern County Raceway Park (CA).
The win for Barnes was his first since November 2015 when he won the season finale at Havasu 95 Speedway (AZ) and capped his second Lucas Oil Mod championship title.
Barnes fell just short of Modified win at the Winter Showdown in 2016, and a little over a week ago it seemed that he would not be able to have another shot until 2018. Fortunately for him, he got the help to put a race-winning car together in just a matter of days.
“Can’t thank everybody enough, we threw this car together just this week pretty much, and we weren’t even planning on running,” Barnes said on the Speed51.com live broadcast. “A lot of people came together to make this happen. I’m so stoked for my guys that we got this win.”
Barnes started the race sixth and quickly moved forward, challenging polesitter Scott Winters with 15 laps to go. A well timed move to the outside of Winters just as the leaders hit a two-wide pack of lap traffic, gave Barnes the leverage to take the lead and open up the gap on Winters for good.
“(Lapped traffic) came into play a little early in the race. I saw Winters was having trouble with it, sure enough there was two wide racing. I went to the outside and was able to pull a pick off right there and kind of cruised on home from there,” Barnes said of the pass. “I got to give it up to Winters, that car was wicked loose and he drove the wheels off it, that was impressive.”
While Winters was disappointed in the end, it was a matter of “it is what it is.”
“When you start up front, you like that, but the downside is you got to deal with lapped traffic, and that’s what we had tonight,” Winters said. “We gave it our all. Austin did a great job and we came home second.”
The Lucas Oil Modified Series returns to action for their first points race of the season on March 11 at Havasu 95.
Fans can view on-demand photos and updates from the race now on Speed51.com’s Trackside Now coverage presented by JRi Shocks.
-By Connor Sullivan, Speed51.com CT, MA & Long Island Editor – Twitter: @Connor51CT
-Photo Credit: Speed51.com