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January 30, 2018

Last season or not, Barnett ready to make a title run in Lucas Oil Speedway Big O Tire Street Stocks

Bob Barnett
Bob Barnett utilized consistency to finish third in Big O Tires Street Stock points last season at Lucas Oil Speedway. (Kenny Shaw photo)

Wheatland, Missouri (January 30, 2018) - One of the Ozarks-area racing veterans knows he's entering the twilight of his career. But before Bob Barnett calls it quits, he hopes to make a Lucas Oil Speedway championship run.

"I'll be 57 this year. I'm probably the oldest one out there in our class," Barnett said of the Big O Tires Street Stock division.

While noting that 2018 could he his final full season as a driver, there's reason to believe Barnett will be a serious contender. The Republic, Mo., resident is coming off a strong third-place points finish at Lucas Oil Speedway last season and is eager to see what's in store this time around.

"It was pretty decent," Barnett said of last season, which included five top-five feature finishes including one second-place in the Big Adventure RV Weekly Racing Series.

An engine freshening late in the season gave Barnett's No. 27 additional speed. He was strong at the October Big Buck 50 Presented by Whitetail Trophy Hunt, running as high as sixth in the feature before settling for 11th. The event attracted 96 entries.

"It's an old car, a 2009 Franklin, that we've raced the last two years," said son Jay Barnett, who serves as crew chief. "Yeoman (Race Engines) went through the motor and did some updating before the Big Buck 50 and that really helped.

"We're putting a new rear-end in the car and updating some things, trying to keep up with the times. We talked about buying a new car, but it's not in our budget."

Bob Barnett has been racing on area ovals since the early 1990s, first on asphalt in Limited Late Models and Pure Stocks. He switched to dirt Modifieds before taking a 10-year hiatus from racing starting in about 2003.

Barnett came back four years ago and used a 10-year-old pure stock motor that had been sitting in the corner of his garage.

"We finished eighth in points with just a regular bomber pure stock against the cars that we're running against now," he said. "We bought Brian Schutt's old car after that."

Jay Barnett has been alongside as the chief mechanic most of the way and called it "good bonding time" between father and son.

"We get on each other's nerves a little. Our ideas clash a little bit at times, but we work together pretty good for the most part," Jay Barnett said. "But I'm gonna say this will be his last full year, unless something happens or somebody comes along that wants to (financially) help out."

Bob Barnett isn't ready to declare this his swan song just yet, though he is leaning that way.

"If we can get it lined out and everything goes good this year, we might do some more," he said. "If not, we may just try to run the big (races) if we get the car good enough and I feel that I'm still capable."

The team's sponsors include Bair's Sports Bar and Grill, Mac's Performance Powertrain Transmission, Midwest Sheet Metal, Schaeffer Racing Oil, Jet Business Solutions, Fujimo Race Bodies and Fabrication, Helling Tire, Christi Bukaty with USA Mortgage and R&R Graphics.

The Lucas Oil Speedway 2018 season begins April 7 with the Big Adventure RV Weekly Racing Series opener.

For ticket information, including season passes for all events, contact Admissions Director Nichole McMillan at (417) 282-5984.

Complete Lucas Oil Speedway event information, archived stories, ticket info and the tentative 2018 schedule can be found by visiting LucasOilSpeedway.com.

Lucas Oil Speedway is located at Highways 83 and 54 in Wheatland, Missouri. A campground with shower and bathroom facilities is also available. With its entrance located just outside the pit gate this sprawling scenic camping facility will continue to enhance the racing experience at the Diamond of Dirt Tracks.

Click LucasOilSpeedway.com for more information and detailed directions to the speedway or call the Track Hotline at (417) 282-5984.

In addition, fans can get social with Lucas Oil Speedway by following @LucasSpeedway on Twitter, clicking "Like" at www.facebook.com/LucasOilSpeedway and on www.youtube.com/LucasOilSpeedway