Straight out of Windham, Maine, Brandon Barker has become a force in his home state the past few seasons, particularly at Beech Ridge Motor Speedway. Late in 2018 he showed that he could win away from home, taking the No. 16 Wright Pearson entry to his first triumph in the Granite State Pro Stock Series at New Hampshire’s Lee USA Speedway.
But that wasn’t the end of the story. Back on a part-time slate for the team in 2019, Barker returned to Lee in GSPSS competition to dominate the second half of the 150-lap May Madness feature earlier this spring.
Now with Friday’s Seacoast 100 looming for the GSPSS at Lee USA, Barker and crew chief Robbie Harrison are primed to continue their success at "New Hampshire’s Center of Speed."
“I’m excited to get back there, hopefully we can pick up where we left off. Robbie has been working on it to get it all sorted out after Loudon and to get it ready for this week,” Barker told Speed51.
While the numbers speak for themselves, Barker still isn’t entirely sure as to the key to success on what is regarded as one of the most abrasive surfaces in the region.
“I don’t know, I want to say the team. But, when we’re at Lee, we’re usually not the fastest in practice, but I know what it needs to feel like, and it doesn’t really slow down," he stated. "We always seem to maintain our speed and everybody falls off more than we do. Just, have a good grip on Lee with the Pro Stock, now we’ll see if we can go three-for-three.”
One skill that Barker admits he is still adjusting to is the art of qualifying via time trials, which makes up the qualifying process for GSPSS along with heat racing afterwards. With time trials setting heat race lineups, then the top heat race finishers going to a critical redraw for the top starting spots in the feature, getting that one fast lap to start the day has become critical for all.
“The first time I went there, I had never time trialed or anything; that was my weakness getting the perfect lap," Barker admitted. "So we started further back that first race. It was only 75 laps, but we made it work there. Then I got some information from DJ Shaw and Joey Doiron on how to time trial and we did a little better last time, so I’m getting better with the whole thing. It’s big for the heat race to get in the redraw for the race.”
Overall, Barker has enjoyed not only his stints in GSPSS competition, but also taking on many other challenges that are present for Northeast Super Late Model racing.
“I just want to race, but I like racing on the Granite State Pro Stock Series. All the tours have great drivers and great people, they do a great job promoting and all put on great shows. The series has some cool tracks and a neat format too.”
But naturally, Barker wants to continue winning, and winning three straight this Friday night at Lee USA would be a big mark he wants to put on his racing resume.
“It would be cool, I’m just going to go in with no pressure just like I do every week. Whatever happens, happens. There’s no reason to feel pressure unless something goes wrong, but other than that we are in really good shape. It’ll be tough though, Jeremy Davis ran well at Speedway 51 and he’s always tough at Lee. He’ll be there, Joey will be good, Mike O’Sullivan too. But, we’ll just try to go beat them again.”
Race fans from all across the Northeast can come out to Lee USA Speedway in southeast New Hampshire Friday night to see the whole racing program and a fireworks display. For those unable to make the trip, Speed51 will show the 100-lap Granite State Pro Stock Series feature race live online as a part of the 2019 Summer Thunder TV presented by PFC Brakes.
Access to all Summer Thunder broadcasts comes with either a monthly or yearly subscription to the Speed51 Network. Click here for more info and to join today.
-Story by: Connor Sullivan, Speed51 Northeast Editor – Twitter: @Connor51CT
-Photo credit: Speed51