By Joe Chandler
Director, Public Relations
South Boston Speedway
South Boston, VA…..Jason Barnes is immersed in one of the toughest, labor-intensive occupations there is – farming. For fun, Barnes tackles one of the toughest sports there is – auto racing.
When asked which is tougher, Barnes said they are about equal.
“Neither one is easy,” Barnes remarked with a smile.
“But I would say I get more pleasure out of racing. I love farming, but it’s a hard, hard profession this day and time.”
Farming has been a way of life for Barnes for many years.
“I’ve been farming on a family farm in Dinwiddie (Virginia) since I graduated from college,” Barnes explained.
“We farm around 2,500 to 2,800 acres on a diversified farm. Our biggest crop is tobacco, the second-biggest is cotton, peanuts, soybeans and corn. We’re pretty stretched out.”
Farming takes up most of Barnes’ time and attention. He manages to squeeze out time to race in the NASCAR Advance Auto Parts Weekly Series Late Model Stock Car Division.
“I do this (race) on a part-time basis,” Barnes pointed out.
“We work on the car out of a farm shop. It feels pretty good to run with these guys on a week-in-week-out basis.”
Due to time constraints or other circumstances Barnes, at times, has to cut some corners with his racing. When those times occur, they are an uncomfortable prospect.
“It’s disturbing because guys don’t cut any corners,” Barnes said.
“We try to cut corners just to get here. We don’t always put the best tires on in practice and we don’t always have the best-of-the-best, but we try to make do with what we’ve got and be happy with what we have.”
Barnes has had success at South Boston Speedway in the past. In 2018 Barnes finished sixth in the South Boston Speedway NASCAR Late Model Stock Car Division point standings. He was one of 15 drivers that led laps in the division that season.
“In 2018 I finished in the top six in points and almost won a couple of races,” Barnes noted.
“I feel like if we could pull off a win, maybe two, or run Top-Five week-in and week-out and get back like we were, I would really be happy.”
Barnes has two Top-10 finishes in his four starts this season at “America’s Hometown Track.”
He had hoped for better results at this point but notes he is still working to dial in his new car.
“With the new chassis we’ve got and a new motor, if we hit our marks and get our (chassis) setup pretty decent we will be pretty good compared to everybody else,” Barnes remarked.
“We’re running a brand-new car this year, and to come out here with limited practice I feel we’re pretty decent for what we’ve got and the technology we’re running against.”
Barnes has been racing at South Boston Speedway on-and-off for the past five or six years. He says he keeps returning to South Boston Speedway because “America’s Hometown Track” is a great place to race.
“The racing atmosphere here at South Boston Speedway is better than anywhere in the country,” Barnes said.
“This is where my mom and dad grew up coming to races, where I grew up coming to races. I feel like this is home to us. There is a lot of racing history and atmosphere here.”
Barnes likes the various cost-cutting measures the speedway has implemented to help competitors.
“The two-tire deal is hateful at times when you’re trying to figure out the (chassis) setup, but then it’s good because you only have to buy half the tires,” Barnes pointed out.
“The purse is better here at South Boston Speedway than anywhere else. Basically, you cover your tire bill if you finish pretty decent. It’s very respectful of the track to do that for the local guys, small guys like me who have no sponsors. We sponsor ourselves. We have a couple of small silent partners, but it’s like everything else, you’ve got to run well, get some eyes on you, and find somebody that is willing to help you.”
South Boston Speedway’s Celebrate America Campaign continues Saturday night, June 12 with the Halifax Insurance NASCAR Late Model Twin 75s racing program. Twin 75-lap races for the NASCAR Advance Auto Parts Weekly Series Late Model Stock Car Division will headline Saturday night’s event. A 50-lap race for the Limited Sportsman Division, a 30-lap race for the Budweiser Pure Stock Division and a 15-lap race for the Budweiser Hornets Division are also included on the night’s five-race card.
Saturday’s race day schedule has registration and pit gates opening at 2 p.m. Practice starts p.m. and grandstand gates will open at 5:30 p.m. Qualifying will begin at 6 p.m. and the first race will get the green flag at 7 p.m.
Advance adult general admission tickets are priced at $10 each and may be purchased online on South Boston Speedway’s website, www.southbostonspeedway.com, through Friday night, June 11. Adult general admission tickets at the gate on race day are priced at $15 each. Kids ages 12 and under will be admitted free when accompanied by a paying adult.
The latest news and updates about South Boston Speedway and its racing events can be found on the South Boston Speedway website and through the speedway’s social media channels.