After a string of success upon entering the top levels of Tour-type Modified racing in the Northeast, Tommy Barrett, Jr. had shown fans and fellow competitors that he had what it took to mix it up with the best. When problems off the track took Barrett out of the race car, he had the goal of getting back in the mix and showing he was still one of the best. This past Saturday, Barrett proved just that.
After a pair of so-so performance to start the inaugural season of the EXIT Realty Modified Touring Series, Barrett entered the third round of 2017 at Seekonk Speedway with a better race car underneath him and it showed.
The Massachusetts driver took his No. 9 right to the front, dominating much of the 125-lap race and earning his first MTS victory. Barrett celebrated with many friends and family, including his four-month-old son Tommy, III.
“It feels very good, it has been way too long,” Barrett told Speed51.com powered by JEGS after the race Saturday. “I don’t even know, I’m just so happy to be back in victory lane, happy for my crew and everyone else. It’s my baby’s first race that he’s ever been to and to win it for him is special.”
It was the first major win for Barrett since he won a Valenti Modified Racing Series event at Stafford Motor Speedway in August 2014. That win came just over a week after a big upset victory on the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour at Bristol Motor Speedway (TN).
After Barrett’s troubles off the track in April 2015, he had raced just five times, all in the Tri-Track Open Modified Series. From the start, Barrett believed he could get another big trophy, showing promise in October 2016 when he won a 35-lap qualifying race at the New London-Waterford Speedbowl. Now Barrett is confident that he can keep the trophies coming.
“It just took a little time. We’re back here and we’re going to keep going. Just here to have fun, try to win races and that’s all you can do.”
It is the second career Modified win for Barrett at Seekonk, the first coming in 2014 in the $10,000-to-win Open Wheel Wednesday Tri-Track Modified feature, which he is entered to run in this season on June 28.
While Barrett has become known as a closer in races, he got up front early on Saturday, passing Todd Annarummo after starting second and keeping consistent lap times on the new American Racer tires being used by the MTS.
“This thing was awesome. I had the advantage of clean air up front, I could put the car wherever I wanted,” he said. “The guys made the right adjustments before the race, and it was on rails tonight. I saved a little bit, probably up until about 15 to go, but I saved in case we had another caution. The cautions were killing me, but we got through them and here we are.”
Barrett’s win has also locked him into the MTS Sunoco Quest for the Cup, a playoff style championship format which begins later in the season. He joins Ryan Preece and Jon McKennedy as drivers already locked in, and is looking forward to going for the $10,000 winner’s share later this year.
-By, Connor Sullivan, Speed51.com CT, MA & Long Island Editor – Twitter: @Connor51CT
-Photo Credit: Crystal Snape