JACKSONVILLE, NC – T.J. Barron will be returning to competition this weekend in the NASCAR Advance Auto Parts Weekly Series at New River All-American Speedway after taking a year off from racing.
Barron, 33, from Wilmington, North Carolina, began his racing career at the Jacksonville track when he was 12 in a Bandolero, before moving up to Legends, Mini Stocks and eventually Late Models. In 2010, he won the track championship at New River, then called Coastal Plains Raceway. When the track reopened in 2021, Barron competed semi-regularly, scoring multiple wins throughout the season.
“I was excited when it opened back up a couple of years ago,” Barron said. “I think Anthony and Tonya [Goodyear] have done a great job of promoting it and making it what it is. I’ve called that place home, always will.”
This weekend, he’s hoping to return to victory lane.
“Winning is the goal every weekend,” Barron commented. “Every time we go racing, the goal is to win. That means a lot. Gratification for yourself, your guys, and your family. Anytime you get to victory lane is satisfying.”
The Late Model division will be in action for a doubleheader as the division headlines Saturday’s National Dodge Chrysler Jeep RAM (DCJR) 185, with an invert in the second race. The twin race format sometimes alters strategy for drivers who look to save in the first race, but Barron’s goal is to sweep both races – something he did on two occasions in 2021.
“Some guys will save in the first race,” Barron explained. “Where we stack up is going to determine how much we save. If I’m out front, I’m going to set the pace with how comfortable I am with my car. I want to win both races. I don’t come to run second, I come to win it all.”
Barron will have familiar company on Saturday, racing with track veterans and champions, such as Rusty Daniels and Brandon Clements.
“I’m looking forward to racing Rusty,” Barron stated. “I’m just looking forward to seeing what my car will do against his car and the rest of the field. We’re running the same car we’ve always dominated there, and we’ve dominated races there plenty of times. Same car and same setup that we won with two years ago.”
When Barron competes at New River, he races in a 2001 Townsend chassis, a car Jason York won a championship in the UARA-STARS, a Late Model Stock Car touring series that preceded the CARS Tour.
“Out of the four cars we own, that’s the best one we have,” Barron added.
While Barron doesn’t intend to race for points, he is intrigued by the Race for the Championship playoff format which was announced earlier this season. The veteran racer also plans to run a majority of the races throughout the season.
“I’m getting older now and I’ve raced for so long that I’m not really chasing championships anymore,” Barron remarked. “It would be nice, and I’ll probably run the whole year since we didn’t run last year. The playoffs are pretty cool though. I don’t know of any other tracks doing it.”