Kyle Barnes has finally made headlines after scoring his first career Late Model Stock Car victory on Friday night at Kingsport Speedway (Tennessee) and backing that up with a second career win the following evening at Lonesome Pine Raceway (Virginia).

The 20-year-old from Draper, Virginia has had a quiet but strong season so far in 2015 with six top-five finishes prior to Friday night’s race, but victory lane had eluded Barnes for his entire Late Model Stock Car career.  Barnes finally broke through and felt a confidence boost from doing so.

“It was unbelievable,” Barnes said of his first win.  “We went, unloaded fast, good in both practices.  To put it on the pole was unbelievable in its own right.  It was my first ever Late Model pole.  To lead every lap, that was absolutely astonishing.”

Following the race, Barnes was at the track until nearly 1:30am as officials thoroughly inspected the car in postrace tech.  Barnes was unsure if he would race at Lonesome Pine Raceway on Saturday and he had not decided that he would race there until mid-afternoon when the team loaded up.  He missed practice and got the track right before qualifying.  He ended up starting the race in fourth and prevailed in an epic battle with Kres VanDyke in the first of two races to score his second win.

“We qualified fourth which was respectable considering it was only my third time there at Lonesome Pine,” Barnes stated.  “We were able to use the high side to our advantage.  We were to pass Ryan Stiltner, Lance Gatlin and follow Kres VanDyke.  It was about seven or eight cautions where we were restarting side-by-side.  He took the inside each time the cone came out.  We’d come in the corners and smoke was rolling off the cars, beating, racing hard, door to door.  Finally, we had a late restart and we were able to clear him.  He gave me a few shots on the white flag lap but we were able to go on.”

For Barnes, the second win was sweeter than the first.

“The first Late Model win will always be special to me but to win at Lonesome Pine and put on a show like me and VanDyke did, I think that was bigger for me and my entire team to know how we were able to race against him.”

Barnes said the success of his race weekend still has not sunk in.

“To get a win at both tracks in one weekend, I couldn’t be any happier right now.  It’s almost been like, I’ve been on cloud nine about the whole thing.  I’ve really been in shock, not knowing how to react.”

He and his family and team did not know what to expect from the season.  Now, he finds himself in contention for the Tennessee state championship and possibly even the national championship in the NASCAR Whelen All-American Series.

“When the national points came out two weeks ago, and we saw were 10th in the nation, we were floored.  We never expected it and dreamed we’d be up there.  We really embraced it and it was a confidence booster for all of us knowing that we’re running against a lot of the best guys at Kingsport and Lonesome Pine.  On any given night, there are about 10 cars that could win depending on restarts, cautions and qualifying.”

Despite now being in contention, Barnes says he wants to win more races and is not focused on points.

“We’re really looking forward to the rest of the season.  We’re not even going to worry about points and go for wins.  To know we’re in the fight is huge.  This entire season, we’ve been able to put top-five finishes together.  We knew we had a car that, if we could put it in position, we could get a win.  To finally come through, it’s amazing.  I was focusing on college.  This year, we really went head-first into it and we’re committed to running the full season at Kingsport.  Now, we might travel around more than just Kingsport and Lonesome Pine.”

The race weekend was almost a sweep.  Barnes was denied the weekend sweep by Kres VanDyke in the second Late Model Stock Car race at Lonesome Pine Raceway.  Barnes finished third.