Barfield more determined after '98 By Shawn A. Akers
SAN FRANCISCO (Dec. 7, 1998) In 1998, five drivers went to victory lane for the first time in the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series. Disappointingly for Ron Barfield, he wasn't among them.
But then that setback just makes Barfield a bit more hungry, and determined, heading into the 1999 NCTS campaign.
Not that Barfield didn't have a solid year this past season. He earned two top-five finishes and ten top-10 efforts in 1998 and wound up finishing ninth in the overall series point standings. It's just that the 27-year-old native of Florence, S.C., wanted more than anything to put earn his first career NCTS win in the No. 35 Ortho Lawn and Garden Chevrolet of Charles Hardy.
"We had a lot of really good runs, and the crew of the No. 35 Chevrolet did a great job and gave us some great trucks," Barfield said. "I felt like we were ready to win a race, but the circumstances just didn't allow us to do so. We'll take a top-10 in the points, but I know I'm going to work that much harder next year to get my first win and get a better finish in the points."
Next year he'll be doing that in a different make of truck for a different owner and a different sponsor. Barfield recently signed on as the driver of the No. 55 Icehouse Beer Ford, owned by Tom Gloy and Bobby Rahal.
Rick Crawford, Stacy Compton, Andy Houston, Terry Cook and Jimmy Hensley all posted their first career NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series victories in 1998. Barfield's best finish of the year was fourth at New Hampshire International Speedway in the Pennzoil/VIP Discount Auto 200.
Barfield didn't exactly start the year with a bang. In his first five races, he did have a pair of top-10 finishes, including a fifth-place run at Metro-Dade Homestead (Fla.) Motorsports Complex, but in the other three events, he didn't finish higher than 18th.
Beginning with the Cummins 200 at Indianapolis Raceway Park in late July, however, he and the No. 35 Ortho Chevrolet team began to find a bit of consistency, and put together a modest string of four consecutive top-10 runs, including his best result of the year at New Hampshire.
That was about as good as things would get for Barfield, however, as he would manage only two more top-10 runs for the rest of the season, a sixth-place finish in the inaugural event at Memphis Motorsports Park, and a ninth-place performance in the season finale Carquest Auto Parts 420K at Las Vegas Motor Speedway.
Driving for Gloy and Rahal, Barfield said he believes next year will be his year to break through the barrier and get to victory lane.
"That team is focused and is intent on winning," Barfield said. "I feel like I'm the same way, so I think it's going to be a great combination. We'd like to get a couple of wins and a top- five finish in the points. If we can show some consistency on the race track, I think we'll be able to do just that."
Source: NASCAR Online