Dick Barton aims for repeat of Little Valley Late Model title. Veteran late model driver Dick Barton, who authored 174 wins through two decades of racing through 2001, along with thirty-three points championships at various tracks and series,...
Dick Barton aims for repeat of Little Valley Late Model title.
Veteran late model driver Dick Barton, who authored 174 wins through two decades of racing through 2001, along with thirty-three points championships at various tracks and series, will be attempting to add another title, when he leads what promises to be a sterling field of late models to Little Valley Speedway this season. The classy Barton, who is a fierce competitor on the track and a consummate gentleman when he is not behind the wheel, has amassed an enviable record over his illustrious career, winning numerous track championships in the area surrounding his Asheville, NY, home. Along with his title in the ULMS series at Little Valley last season, he has multiple championships at his home track, Raceway 7 in Ohio, Stateline, Eriez, Sharon, and McKean County. In addition to his win total, he has 396 top threes, 512 top fives, and 686 top tens in 918 career starts. Any way you crunch the numbers, those are amazing statistics.
This season his success continues. He explains, "We've started off real well (as of May 4th). We've been out four times, had a flat last night and didn't finish, but in the other three features, I've won two of them and we were fifth in one. We're off to a real good start this year." I talked to Dick before the Nancy Bly Memorial Race at McKean on May 4th, in which he continued his fine start by finishing second to Chub Frank. The week before he and Bob Close from Eldred, PA, had the crowd on its feet in what was arguably one of the most exciting finishes that McKean has ever seen, with Barton edging out the hard charging Close, as the two, running side by side, had to split the lap car of Dutch Davies in the home stretch, with the margin of victory literally inches.
Barton, who will be running between 55 and 60 races this year, extending well into October, is in the auto parts business, serving as representative for four NAPA stores when he is not behind the wheel of the familiar orange and black Bolt Place No. 28B Ford Mustang.
He will be running at Little Valley Speedway on the Cattaraugus County Fairgrounds in Little Valley, NY, in the much-anticipated Tri-State Championship series on Sunday, May 26th and Sunday, July 14th. The series will be running in conjunction with Raceway 7 in Conneaut, Ohio, and McKean County Raceway in Smethport, PA, and will feature three consecutive nights of racing on two weekends, paying $3333 for thirty-three laps each night. To add a little spice, on the second weekend the cars will run "topless." I asked Dick what he thought of the unique concept. He responded, "I think it's excellent. It gives everybody an opportunity. The very first thing that's pretty neat is to see promoters working together (Gary Montgomery- Little Valley, Dennis Shutt- McKean, and Ron Neilson, Raceway 7). In years past there seemed to be promoters who don't want to participate with anybody else, but it's good too see guys get together and agree on stuff."
Little Valley has always been kind to Barton and he explained why the track has become a premier racing facility. "The folks that are preparing the race track have listened to the racers and they've made it racier, and that's all we as race drivers want is a race surface that we're able to pass on. Little Valley is just that. The place seems to promote a lot of passing and good racing. That's ultimately what people come to see and what racers want to do." Barton will be running at Little Valley a total of six times this year, as late models will be featured in all but two of the speedway's eight race special events schedule.
Barton and many others will be gunning for the championship in the series which, in addition to the generous nightly purse (a total of $72,000 over the two weekends), will include an additional point fund of $6000, which will see $3000 going to the winner, $1000 for second, $500 for third, $400 for fourth, and $200 each for 5th through 10th. Points will be awarded for finishing positions in each of the six 33 lap main events, with a sliding scale of 100 points for first through 40 for last (24th) finishing position. Ten points will be awarded to any driver who attempts to qualify but fails to make the race. In order to qualify for the point payoff, a driver must attempt to qualify in five of the six events.
Little Valley Speedway is located on the Cattaraugus County Fairgrounds in Little Valley, New York. Little Valley is on State Route 353 eight miles north of Interstate 86 Exit #20 [Salamanca] westbound and twelve miles northeast of Interstate 86 Exit #16 [Randolph] eastbound. From the Buffalo area LVS is accessed off State Route 242 10 miles southwest of Ellicottville / Route 219. The Speedway office phone is 315-536-3728 or 716-938-9146 [race day]. The World Wide Web address is www.littlevalleyspeedway.com