Greg Barnett Takes First Career MASS Win at Dillon Motor Speedwayby Jason Beck March 22, 2015 0 comments
Photo Credit: Hunter Thomas
By: Jason Beck
DILLON, SC – Greg Barnett may not have had the best car at Dillon Motor Speedway for the season’s second Mid Atlantic Street Stock (MASS) race, but he didn’t mind being presented the trophy in Victory Lane. Barnett took advantage of a late tangle between the race’s dominant players to collect the biggest victory of his career.
Barnett, of Goldsboro, N.C., held off fellow Wayne County native, Jonathan Kornegay on a green-white-checkered restart to claim the $1,000 prize. The restart was courtesy of a caution on lap 58 of the 60-lap race after leaders Jason Calhoun and Sonny Schoffen collided off of turn four.
“That is really all I had, I was doing all I could do, and even when they were racing each other I couldn’t gain any ground,” Barnett said in Victory Lane. “Then I got in front and knew we were restarting single file. They were going to have to knock me out to win this race.”
The victory was Barnett’s first at Dillon and first asphalt win away from his home track, Southern National Motorsports Park in Kenly, N.C.
“I wanted to win one of these big races and wanted to win at Dillon period,” he said. “These big ones, it is hard to get one of these and I’m just ecstatic.”
Familiar faces dominated the event. The first 30 laps featured a battle between New Year’s Bash winner, Jeff Melton and Jason Calhoun, who earned the lead a lap before the halfway break. Calhoun and Sonny Shoffen swapped the lead several times during the second half of the event, with Calhoun earning the top spot in turn three on lap 58. The two touched in turn four, sending Calhoun’s Camaro spinning and Schoffen’s Monte Carlo halting to avoid a crash. Both cars were relegated to the rear of the field.
Kornegay tried passing Barnett on the ensuing restart, but ultimately was happy with his runner-up finish. The driver was involved in a terrifying crash in the January event and his crew worked tirelessly to repair his Camaro in time for the second MASS race.
“If we could have got around him earlier, we would have been alright … he held us up some, but that is alright,” said Kornegay. “We were definitely faster than he was, but we are happy.
“We’ve done a lot of work – this thing was destroyed last race, and we really didn’t even think we could get it back together,” he said. “You don’t understand how much it means to have all of these people here with me, because if it weren’t for these people, none of this would have been possible.”
Melton finished third after last lap contact with Ricky Locklair Jr. Ted Somero finished fourth and Locklair Sr. fifth in the 20-car field.
The late model portion of the event continued the streak of first-time winners at Dillon, as Andrew Thomas of Monroe, N.C. made use of a starting position on the outside front row and a late-race restart to secure the win.
Thomas, who usually races at Motor Mile Speedway in Virginia, took the lead from pole sitter, Bobby Gower on the race’s opening lap and never looked back. His only challenge came on a restart with 16 laps remaining, when Dillon regular, Justin Hicks attempted an outside move. The two cars touched, allowing Thomas to pull away and Hicks to fall victim to last year’s track champion Randy Benson of Rockingham, N.C.
At the finish line it was Thomas, Benson, Hicks, Gower and Greg Peterson completing the top-5.
The Mini Stock Mayhem race was won by Kris Hetu, who passed A.J. Sanders shortly after the lap 30 halfway break. Sanders would go on to finish second over Brandon Clements, Neil Meredith and Will Smith. A.J. Jackson was the highest finishing front wheel drive car in the event, taking home an extra $200.