CORONA, California – Whenever you’re trying something new it helps to do it in familiar surroundings. That’s why Kayli Barker is making her debut in a Lucas Oil Modified in Las Vegas Saturday evening (November 21).
The Lucas Oil Race of Champions presented by MAVTV will be at The Bullring at Las Vegas Motor Speedway, where Barker said she has run “10 years worth of laps” in various race cars. So where better to have a get-acquainted date with the cars and drivers in the series the 18-year-old plans to join next season?
The Race of Champions brings together the West’s two best touring series, the Lucas Oil Modified Series presented by LoanMart and the SPEARS SRL Southwest Tour, for a pair of lucrative season-ending races on The Bullring’s 3/8-mile banked oval that MAVTV will record for viewing at a later date.
This event is the second of the two lucrative special events that were included on the Lucas Oil Modified Series schedule.
The 10-race points championship concluded and the Hoosier Tire West point standings were established two weeks ago when Austin Barnes capped off his title-winning season with a victory at Havasu 95 Speedway in Lake Havasu City, Arizona. That means Saturday’s 75-lap race will be all about the money – $4,000 to win and $300 to start, plus bonuses – and the chance to pick up some extra Christmas cash should guarantee a most competitive night.
Barnes was third behind Dylan Cappello and Scott Winters in the first special event, at Kern County Raceway in Bakersfield, California, in late February, and to get a win Saturday the 20-year-old from Escondido, California, will have to deal with the mental and physical strain of driving in both the Southwest Tour’s 125-lap main event and the Modified main.
Winning the Modified race will test his stamina, though, because he’s also driving racing in the Southwest Tour’s 125-lap main event, which will run just before the Modified main.
Two-time series champion Jim Mardis, 2014 champion Dylan Cappello and Matthew Hicks share the Modified favorite’s role with Barnes based on past performances. Mardis and Barnes have won at The Bullring three times each (ironically both won in 2011, 2012 and 2014), Cappello took the checkered flag there in May and Hicks captured the 2013 season finale on the wide, fast oval.
Barker has won 15 main events and a Super Stock championship on the track, but this weekend the University of Nevada-Las Vegas freshman will be almost a raw rookie again.
The Modified Barker will be driving, a Lefthander Chevrolet once raced by Aaron McMorran, is about 350 pounds lighter and has more horsepower than the Super Late Models she has been racing in recent seasons. It also has a smaller, harder tire (8 inches wide instead of 10) that limits the amount of usable horsepower and demands good car control and tire management from the driver.
“Friday (at practice) will be the first time I’ve ever driven it,” said Barker, who will be working with long-time family friend Pat Petrie and the H-Town Racing team. “It’s definitely going to be different. I’m excited just to learn a new car. It will be nice to try something different.
“I’m excited more than anything. Obviously my goal is to make the race (30 cars will start the 75-lap main event), then do all the laps and just learn as much as I can.”
The Lucas Oil Modified Series presented by LoanMart is supported by a potent marketing concept known as “Team Lucas” whose members include General Tire, GEICO, E3 Spark Plugs, Optima Batteries, Carlyle Tools, Kawasaki, AutoMeter, iON Cameras, Speedco Truck Lube and Tire, BILSTEIN Shocks, LoanMart and SuperClean.
Additional sponsorship is provided by Lucas Oil Products, Protect the Harvest, MAVTV Motorsports Network, Hoosier Tire West, Sunoco Race Fuels, K&N Filters, Aero Racing Wheels, ASI Racewear, Bosch, Five Star Race Car Bodies, Frank’s Radios, Racing Plus and DJ Safety.
Detailed information on the series is available at www.LucasOilModifieds.com.
-Lucas Oil Modified Series Press Release & Photo