Barnes’ No. 51 Monte Carlo won the R.A. Jeffreys Distributing Company pole and then the $5,000 cash prize given to him as the winner of the race.
“This was the first time, I’ve ever been here period, and it was great to win at this facility,” Barnes said. “All the people were nice and I couldn’t have asked for better people to deal with.”
According to Barnes, who lives in Louisville, this was his sixth victory in his 30-year career. He stayed near the front of the pack and made his move to go ahead after half of the laps had gone by.
“I was second or third for the first 75 laps,” Barnes said. “When we had that break, I changed tires and the guys did a good job of making some other minor adjustments. The car was loose going in, in the middle and coming off (in the first half). We tightened it up a little - it was still loose going in, but tight coming off.
“The 00 car (of Brett Hudson) was the most competitive one out there. Something happened to his engine there at the end. Had it not happened, it would have been real close there at the end.
“I came out, took the lead and stayed there. This definitely ranks as one of the top win in my career.”
Finishing behind Barnes was Anthony White, while Rick Erwin was third. Clint Watkins finished fourth and Tim Jenson rounded out the top five. Erwin drove a 1988 black Monte Carlo and shocked himself with where he placed.
“It’s just a dream come true to finish this high,” Erwin said. “The only thing that would’ve been better would’ve been winning, but I didn’t come here expecting to win. I just felt like I needed to finish. There were many times last year where I’d either crash the car or had engine troubles, so it was good to keep it together and finish out in front.”
Rockingham Speedway owner Andy Hillenburg was satisfied with how the day turned out.
“I’m really pleased with a lot of things,” Hillenburg said. “I thought we had a great crowd, a great turnout and a great car count.”
However, Hillenburg pointed out there were some things he learned that will help him the next time when the Polar Bear race takes place in the next new year.
“I’m learning a lot as a promoter, and know there are a couple things we can improve on,” Hillenburg said. “The biggest thing is we had a couple glitches from our electronics, which made it tough in the beginning and we’re going to make a couple improvements on that. The other thing is putting together our staff together a little sooner when we have a race on a holiday weekend. Nevertheless, each race we’re getting stronger and bringing in a few more fans.”
Contact sports reporter Corey Davis at 997-3111, ext. 44; e-mail email@example.com