Tommy Barrett, Jr. of Millis, MA has found a lot of success since moving up to the SK Light Modifieds 2 years ago. 14 wins in 2 Stafford seasons places Barrett second in the division’s all-time win list. For Barrett, his first win was the biggest of his career. “After we got the first one out of the way we just kept on winning.” The 2010 season saw Barrett finish second in points despite missing a race due to minimum age requirements. Barrett won 8 times in a 9 race stretch to gain the points lead by 6 with one race left. A crash in the season finale dropped him to second in points. He was crowned the NASCAR Whelen All-American Series Division III champion.
2011 for Barrett found him racing less than expected. “I wasn’t very happy about the 2011 season,” said Barrett. “Not racing as much as we planned and (after) having 10 wins in the 2010 season, I just wasn’t satisfied.”
2011 started off productive with back to back wins in May at Stafford. All that changed on Memorial Day weekend when Barrett was injured in a single-car accident after attending a race at Thompson Speedway. Barrett underwent surgery to stem internal bleeding and spent a week at Brigham and Women’s Hospital. Just two weeks after the accident, Barrett returned to Victory Lane. “With a bad injury, I was able to recover fast and get back into the car and get a win right away, but I didn’t really think I wasn’t going to be racing at all,” said Barrett.
“I think the series is awesome for the experience of driving a modified,” said Barrett. “All the drivers that are in the division have really improved over the last 6 years. I think that the series will just keep getting bigger and bigger now running at Monadnock, Claremont and Thompson.”
Barrett also has competed at Thompson Speedway. Thompson has added the division full-time for 2012. “I believe this is a great idea,” said Barrett. “I really think they could draw some cars over there. (The) 2010 season was a low car count at Thompson, it could be a great help. It would also help some SK Light drivers get some more seat time at another track.”
Last season Barrett tested the waters a limited schedule of Valenti Modified Racing Series races. “We feel MRS is the right path to go. … “Being at so many different short tracks in the Northeast allows you to gain a lot of seat time and experience,” said Barrett. Barrett struggled with a best finish of 7th in the season opener. "I think the 2012 season is going to be a lot better for us.”
In 2012, Barrett will focus on running as many VMRS races as funding permits. If additional sponsorship can be found, he will compete full-time. “My expectation this season is to be competitive in MRS,” said Barrett. “There’s a very different approach, when running 20 laps you drive right to the front but with the long races you gotta worry about tires and other factors that have no meaning in the short races.” “I would like to thank Victory Lane Bar and Grille, my Dad, my Mom, Randy, and Billy and everyone who has helped me throughout my career.”
"The drivers that I look up to most are Teddy Christopher and Keith Rocco. They both have a very aggressive driving style.”
During the winter, Barrett trades in his firesuit for a pair of hockey skates. A Junior at Catholic Memorial School in West Roxbury, he plays forward for the varsity team. “From fall to spring is all about hockey and it’s just another way to stay busy and have fun during the off-season,” said Barrett. He enjoys “the competition and just the whole game itself.”
Last month, Barrett played in the Frozen Fenway series during Fenway Park’s centennial season. “Fenway Park was an experience I’ll never forget,” said Barrett. “Getting there with all the locker rooms, stepping onto the field, all the people we met. My favorite memory was definitely going onto the ice for the first time and seeing the whole crowd surrounding you on ice.”
Sources: Nicholas Teto/YankeeRacer.com
Photos: Nicholas Teto & Dave Arnold Photography