BUSCH: Pikes Peak: Stanton Barrett preview

'Unique Race' For Barrett, DCT Motorsports Team coming off strong top-10 run SPARTANBURG, S.C. -- Saturday's NASCAR Busch Series stock car race at the one-mile Pikes Peak International Raceway might be the most unique in the sport's history,...

'Unique Race' For Barrett, DCT Motorsports
Team coming off strong top-10 run

SPARTANBURG, S.C. -- Saturday's NASCAR Busch Series stock car race at the one-mile Pikes Peak International Raceway might be the most unique in the sport's history, according to driver Stanton Barrett.

"This might be the only race in the series where it takes longer to say the race name than it does to run the whole 250 miles," he laughed.

The ITT Industries Systems Division & Goulds Pump Salute To The Troops 250 Presented By Dodge is scheduled Saturday afternoon at the speedway, located just south of Colorado Springs, Col. Barrett pointed out he is driving the #36 DCT Motorsports Chevrolet ("quick name, easy to remember") in the race for owners John and Nancy McGill of Cleveland, Ohio -- the only Cleveland residents to own cars in the history of NASCAR's top three divisions.

"I can't blame the speedway. Having a sponsor like that would be great for us, and we'd call it anything they wanted too," Barrett said, "but to get all of that on the side of the car, we'd need to race stretch limos."

Even with the incredibly long name, the race is one of the bigger ones in the NASCAR Busch Series, Barrett said. A minimal number of Cup drivers make the trek, making every finishing position key in the national points standings.

"You have all of these teams hauling out to Colorado for this race. It's a long trip and that in itself raises the bar a little bit for everyone. You want to do well. You want to do really well. It's horrible to go all that way and not do well," Barrett said. "One of the worst feelings in the world is hauling all the way out to a track like Colorado (from North Carolina) and having a bad weekend. It's an even longer ride home that you can imagine."

Barrett and the #36 DCT Motorsports Chevrolet team is coming off a strong 10th-place finish this past week at the 1.017-mile New Hampshire International Speedway. Barrett ran among the top five for a good part of that race. He ranks 19th in the NASCAR Busch Series national standings but is just over 100 points out of the top 15.

With little testing for any team prior to the event and practice sessions only Friday prior to qualifying -- the Pikes Peak race is an impound event -- getting a quick idea of track conditions and paying close attention to the weather forecasts will be key.

"You take your notes from last year and your notes from the year before, and you take your notes from tracks that are similar, and see what you can come up with," Barrett said. "Whether you test or not, you are still relying on notes - just more recent notes when you actually test. If somebody tests at a track, that can give them an advantage. If several teams test, that can give them an advantage over the ones who didn't. But if nobody tests, then nobody has that advantage. At Pikes Peak, that is normally the situation."

Temperatures can play havoc on the track surface as well. Cool nights and mornings, followed by very warm and sunny days, can cause changes.

"The temperature plays a major role in day races, and especially at a place like Pikes Peak," he said. "The heat and weight of the cars, coupled with the temperature changes, the track surface can turn into just about anything. But if you go into the race planning on making adjustment after adjustment -- and figuring it's your lucky day if you don't have to make many -- then you can have a good day there.

"That also makes track position pretty crucial. The track changes make it hard to pass a lot of times. So you are looking for every edge you can get, whether it is two-tire stops on pit stops or getting a really good restart or whatever. Every position is crucial."

Besides being one of the top younger drivers in the Busch Series, the 32-year-old Barrett is well known in other areas. An award-winning stunt man from Hollywood, Barrett has appeared in well over 100 movies -- including Dukes Of Hazzard (scheduled to be released in theaters nationally Aug. 5), Spiderman II and others -- as well as hundreds of television shows and commercials. Barrett, who is also running some NASCAR Nextel Cup Series events again this season, has been driving since he was 16 years old, and has competed on the highest levels of NASCAR racing. He is a native of Bishop, Calif.

DCT Motorsports is owned by the McGills, the only Cleveland, Ohio, residents to have owned a team full time in any of NASCAR's top three series.


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Drivers Stanton Barrett