BUSCH: Fontana II: Stanton Barrett race report

SKI MOTORSPORTS EARNS IMPRESSIVE FINISH IN CALIFORNIA Stanton Barrett races strong to secure impressive top-20 finish at California Speedway FONTANA, Cal. (September 4, 2007) -- Fearless Hollywood stuntman and NASCAR driver Stanton Barrett...

SKI MOTORSPORTS EARNS IMPRESSIVE FINISH IN CALIFORNIA
Stanton Barrett races strong to secure impressive top-20 finish at California Speedway

FONTANA, Cal. (September 4, 2007) -- Fearless Hollywood stuntman and NASCAR driver Stanton Barrett and the SKI Motorsports team were eager to get back on track this weekend for the NASCAR Busch Series race at California Speedway. Racing in Southern California was a homecoming for Barrett who had much to prove in the Camping World 300 presented by RVs.com. Among those supporting Barrett and the SKI Motorsports team was actress and friend Kathryn Morris, star of "Cold Case." After qualifying in the 34th position, Barrett methodically moved up through the field to secure a 19th place finish marking a solid finish for the SKI Motorsports organization and its family of sponsors.

With only 42 teams on the entry list, the pressures of qualifying on time were alleviated and the Smith and Wesson team focused on preparing the racecar for the race during practice sessions on Friday. During qualifying, Barrett posted a fast lap time of 41.600 seconds at a speed of 173.077 miles per hour. The effort placed the team in the 34th starting position.

As the field approached the green flag before an estimated crowd of 35,000 fans, Barrett motivated his team to stay on task during the race.

"Good luck to the pit crew tonight," radioed Barrett. "Stay focused and let's have good stops. Everybody's trying their best this weekend and that's all that anyone can ask."

The first of six cautions came out on lap four for an accident in turn 2. Barrett had wasted no time advancing through the field.

"That was a good start," radioed spotter Tom Busch. "All of that juking and jiving put you in 26th place after only a couple of laps."

Like many others, the team decided not to pit so early in the race. Barrett restarted the race in the 24th position. After several laps, he radioed that the car was tight in the middle of the turns. When green flag stops began on lap 38, the SKI Motorsports team prepared to make adjustments to the No. 30 Chevrolet. Barrett came to pit road on lap 43 for four tires and fuel, as well as track bar and air pressure adjustments.

Immediately after restarting the race, Barrett radioed that the Smith and Wesson Chevrolet was loose. Crew chief Mike Dalton reminded his driver of the drastic changes in temperature throughout the weekend.

"Just ride it out," said Dalton. "The track is 45 degrees cooler than when we practiced. Give it time to let the air pressures build up in the tires."

On lap 69, a spectacular yet frightening multi-car accident brought out the red flag as crews repaired the wall in turn 1. When pit road opened nearly half and hour later, Barrett pitted for four tires and fuel, as well as track bar, wedge, and air pressure adjustments. He lined up to restart the race in 18th place running one lap down to the leader.

Due to long green flag runs in the first half of the race, only 18 cars remained on the lead lap as the field took the green flag. Barrett was tasked with gaining as many spots as possible and positioning himself as the first car one lap down in order to be the beneficiary of the "free pass" in the event of a caution.

As lap 100 drew near, Barrett was running in the 23rd position. "I'm fighting hard," he radioed the team. "I think I made up some ground there. I'll keep trying."

Barrett continued to battle for position on track and the team used late race pit stops to fine tune the Smith and Wesson/SKI Motorsports Chevrolet Monte Carlo SS. Barrett and SKI Motorsports captured a solid top-20 finish taking the checkered flag in the 19th position.

"Nearly half the field for this race was comprised of NEXTEL Cup Series drivers," commented team owner Chris Lencheski. "We started near the rear of the field, posted lap times equal to those of the leaders and worked extremely hard to secure a 19th place finish. We finished solidly in front of many top Cup teams tonight and it is a direct testament to our improving the caliber of this team. We have proven that we can race with these guys and that Stanton will not give as evidenced by his not lifting when the leaders went 4-wide into the turn 1 late in the race and his extremely close "near miss" when the No. 88 car wrecked."

"We fought really hard this weekend to get the racecar where it needed to be," said Barrett. "We battled extreme heat and changing conditions but we never lost focus on our goals. We ran a smart race and finished inside of the top-20. I am so proud of everyone on this team. I am also grateful for the continued support of our sponsors that allowed us to show everyone the strength of this team."

-credit: sm

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Series NASCAR XFINITY
Drivers Stanton Barrett