Story by: Corey Latham ~ [email protected]
Wilmington, NC(September 25, 2009) — This weekend will mark the inaugural race for the Limited Late-Models at Martinsville, and some heavy hitters are leading the list of drivers looking for the elusive win. In testing last week, to no ones surprise, Roger Parrish and Danny Willis Jr., two of the hottest Limited drivers around were at the top of the charts. But there was another name some might not be so familiar with right their with them, maybe even faster than they were. TJ Barron is a name that the entire field will have to reckon with this Sunday.
Barron may not be a household name in the Limited world like the others, but the Wilmington NC native has all the tools and is hoping to show he has the ability to get the job done. He has been racing for quite some time now, but has recently made the move over to full-bodied stock cars in the last two years running sparingly. And going into Martinsville driving the same car that Jason York won a UARA championship in can increase your chances greatly.
TJ started out running Bandoleros at the now closed Fireball Raceway in Leland NC, winning the championship in his first season behind the wheel. After the demise of the track the following year, he moved on to a traveling Bandolero series winning 4 races and setting the track record at the high speed Orange County Speedway. He also finished second in points at the Summer Shootout, before moving on to the Legends cars. He ran with stout competition such as Billy Gomez and current ARCA driver Craig Goess finishing second in points at Coastal Plains Speedway in Jacksonville, NC. It was then time to move up and the Limited car became available.
TJ and his father had went to see the UARA at Coastal Plains Speedway, and after becoming friends with the Jason York clan at the race, they bought his winning car in 2005. The car was used sparingly and only until late 08′ and for the season this year did the car hit the track with impressive results. With a handful of poles and a win this year they were ready to jump on the offer to run at Martinsville and the York’s were eager to help.
“If they hadn’t been helping me we wouldn’t be having this conversation right now”, Barron said of the York Motorsports influence. “They have been great to us since we bought the car. I remember one night a while back we were having trouble with it and we called Eddie York(Jason’s brother) and he told us what to do to it over the phone. We did it and sat on the pole and won the race that night. Their help is just unbelievable, they give 100% to anything they do.”
Going into a race of this caliber, one would think a driver with less experience than others would simply hope for a good run, maybe just bring the car home in one piece for a good finish. Not Barron, and he didn’t mince words.
“I’m going there with the mindset to sit on the pole and lead every lap and win the race”, said an excited Barron. “I’m not going all the way up there to finish second, I have the car to get the job done and the rest will be on me. With the equipment and things we have going for us, there is no reason we shouldn’t be a contender on race day.”
He also knows that qualifying is of the upmost importance, as many look for the race being a crashfest with only 50 laps and some very unexperienced drivers. But at the same time, just being there is as big as anything.
“I never in my wildest dreams thought I would be racing at Martinsville. You read the names of winners there, Earnhardt, Gordon, it just puts you in awe and to think I now have the opportunity to add my name to the list, I’m going for it as hard as I can and to the best of my ability.”
This race, and possibly the big Limited races at Tri-County and Caraway could be the last for the 19 year-old in the Limited division. Plans are still in the works for right now, but they hope to move to the Late Model Stock Car division for next year possibly at Myrtle Beach. But right now Martinsville is the top priority, and the combination of TJ Barron with direction from the York Motorsports team may just be the team sitting in victory lane when the dust settles.