Tommy Barrett, Jr. of Millis, Massachusetts will take his next step up the racing ladder during the 2015 racing season. Barrett, 19, has teamed up with car owner Chris Our and will compete in select ARCA Racing Series events, including the series opener at Daytona International Speedway (FL), during the upcoming season.
Our, who also owns the No. 22 Tour-Type Modified that Barrett pilots on the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour, recently purchased a car from Rick Merkel that was driven with the No. 86 on it during the 2014 season. He has also leased a superspeedway motor from a “top team” to use at Daytona in anticipation for the season opener in February.
“When we go to do something I want to do it right or I don’t want to do it all,” Our said in a phone interview on Friday. “Right now I think we are going to focus on some of the bigger speedways because of the speedway car that we have. The car ran last year at Daytona and Talladega. We have a real good motor from a guy, so hopefully the combo of the motor and the car will bring us right up there.”
Barrett, a household name in the northeast Modified ranks, recently completed two successful days of testing in an ARCA car at Daytona driving for Carter 2 Motorsports and is thrilled to have the opportunity to race in the Lucas Oil 200 on February 14.
“We have to try to focus on moving up the ladder in racing,” Barrett told Speed51.com powered by JEGS. “I love the ARCA racing so we sat down and decided we were going to move forward and try to do something with the fendered cars in ARCA and just have fun with the Modifieds if we can. I’m very excited. I can’t thank Chris Our and Robert Our enough for this opportunity.”
Barrett joined forces with Our for his rookie season on the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour in 2014. He picked up his first career NWMT win at Bristol on August 20 and scored three top-five finishes during the season. In addition to his NWMT success, Barrett has eight career Valenti Modified Racing Series victories and scored a $10,000 payday in July during Seekonk’s Speedway’s (MA) Open Wheel Wednesday.
Moving forward, Our and Barrett have plans to compete in select NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour events during the 2015 season, but at this time do not have plans to compete full-time.
“With the type of money and everything that goes into it I’ve wanted to do something different,” said Our, who enters his fourth year as the owner of Our Motorsports. “It seems like this might be my smartest and best avenue. We’ll see how this first race goes but we’ll probably run 2-4 races this year and see where it goes and what the sponsor feedback is. We have some sponsors that are with us to move on and to help but we are always looking for more.”
Both Our and Barrett look at their move for the 2015 season as an opportunity to grow together. While Our focuses on improving the business side of the operation, Barrett has the opportunity to grow behind the wheel while competing in a full-bodied race car.
“I want to move and grow with him,” Our said about making the move with Barrett as his driver. “I sat down with Tommy and asked him his feelings and he wants to do whatever I want. And he just wants to grow, wherever it is. I told him that going the ARCA route we are going to back off some of the Modified stuff and he was fine with that.”
Our plans to keep his team “as is” and will continue to rely on the help of people like Brad Lafontaine of Northeast Racecars, who will serve as the team’s crew chief, to keep the team competitive on the track.
“Hopefully we can build it more and more,” said Our. “Last year was only my third year into it. This will be my fourth year and I think we’ve done pretty well in that short time frame. Hopefully we can keep this momentum going. Hopefully we can attract some sponsors so we can grow it on the financial end so we can keep going places.”
While the main focus during their ARCA races together will be to learn and grow, Barrett is unsure of their on-track expectations and goals entering the season. He expects there to be a learning curve driving the heavier, high-powered Stock Cars, but he also knows that he’s a racer and wants to win.
“I just want to go out and make the race and obviously run up front as much as we can,” said Barrett. “We’ll just have to see where it goes. We don’t have any expectations right now but as always we are going to go out and try to win the race.”
At the end of the day, Barrett’s feelings about his 2015 racing plans can be summed up in one word: excited.
“I’m just excited to be getting the opportunity to move on to fendered cars and try to move up in my career. I’m very excited. I know my car owner, Chris, is too. I can’t thank him enough for this opportunity and everyone else backing us.”
-By Brandon Paul, Speed51.com Northeast Editor – Twitter: @Brandon_Paul51
-Contributing Author: Rob Blount, Speed51.com Regional Editor – Twitter: @RobBlount
-Photo Credit: Mario Fiore