Former All American 400 winner Chuck Barnes, Jr. continued his dominance of the Street Stock division Saturday at the Short Track U.S. Nationals, winning for the third consecutive year at Bristol Motor Speedway (TN).
Barnes, Jr. set a new Street Stock track record in qualifying, but started tenth after an invert of the top ten qualifiers. Nonetheless, the Louisville, Kentucky driver quickly worked his way through the field, taking the lead on lap 30 of the 50-lap feature sanctioned by the Van Hoy Oil CRA Street Stocks.
Barnes, Jr. took the lead from Brett Hudson, a frequent opponent of Barnes’ at Bristol over the past three years.
“Typically here Brett Hudson leads every lap and then we come in there the final lap and take it away,” Barnes, Jr. told Speed51. “This year we had the car a little better and ran a little harder for all 50 laps and passed him on the outside. It was a pretty good piece we had.”
While Barnes, Jr. is now a three-time Short Track U.S. Nationals champion, the third victory holds a little more sentimental value. For one, this is the first time Barnes’ children have been able to see their father win at Thunder Valley.
“Just having my kids here this time, they weren’t here the first time or second time,” said Barnes, Jr. “They made a long drive for a 50-lap race. That’s what they kept saying earlier. I think it was well worth it now.”
Adding to the memorable moment, Chuck Barnes, Sr. took the runner-up spot behind his son, also passing Hudson in the closing laps. The younger Barnes said lessons learned from his father were pivotal in Saturday’s win.
“I watched my dad race Salem all my life,” said Barnes, Jr. “His deal was to lay low and be there in the end. That’s kind of what we’ve done the last few years here. Just watching him race there all those years and then racing at Salem and Winchester myself. Those are similar tracks to this, so it paid off.”
As for the father, Barnes, Sr. was pleased to see his son in victory lane once again.
“You always like to see your son win,” said Barnes, Sr. “It’s pretty tough. He’s got a good car and he’s got a good team.”
Hudson finished in the third spot, amazingly enough his worst finish in three years at the event. Hudson was runner-up at Bristol in 2017 and 2018, but was disappointed to once again miss out on victory.
“We just missed the setup today, I guess,” said Hudson. “It was the worst it’s been in three years. I just wanted to come here and win. Second and third doesn’t matter, I wanted to win here.”
Fans who missed Saturday’s Short Track U.S. Nationals can relive the action by watching the on-demand replay of Speed51’s broadcast of the race from “The Last Great Colosseum.” Click here to watch the replay.
The Van Hoy Oil CRA Street Stocks feature will return to action in two weeks, competing at Anderson Speedway (IN) for 200 laps to kick off the series’ Four Crown Series.
-Story by: Zach Evans, Speed51.com Southeast Editor – Twitter: @ztevans
-Photo credit: Speed51.com photo