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09132017 bartontsrWords Phil Hutchison/Photos V.A. Atkins & Phil Hutchison

David Barton and Barton Racing Engines had a NHRA U.S. Nationals that was one for the books. Not only did the Robesonia, PA, driver win the School of Automotive Machinists Factory Stock Showdown, but Jimmy Daniels driving a Barton-powered ’68 Dart, took the win in the Hemi Challenge.

Barton won the Showdown behind the wheel of the Gary Wolkwitz-owned COPO Camaro over Steve Bell from Shreveport, LA; while Daniels beat the Barracuda of Wendell Howes.

“It was great, I won the biggest race of the year,” Barton said. “It was nice to have my dad there to see me win. He wasn’t at my other Factory Stock wins so this was special. It felt like a giant weight was lifted off me after the win. I was so proud, we had the two quickest cars in the Hemi Shootout and I qualified No. 1 in Factory Stock.”

The School of Automotive Machinists & Technology NHRA Factory Stock Showdown at Indy was the fourth of five events in 2017 and had a record 22 drivers qualifying for the elite final 16 spots. Trying their hand at the Showdown were two-time Pro Stock world champion Erica Enders racing her Omaha Track COPO Camaro and Top Fuel championship contender Leah Pritchett driving a Mopar-backed Dodge Challenger Drag Pak entry. Both racers qualified in the tight field but neither driver made it out of round one.

After qualifying No. 1 in the Showdown, Barton had the most consistent car during eliminations except for a slight stumble in round one. “The engine kinda bogged and burped causing me to spin but it recovered for the win,” Barton added. “One of the things that makes our program so good is that we build our own motors and I personally tune them myself. I drive the car and set up the chassis so there is just one guy looking over everything. When you have somebody building the motor, another setting up the car, and another driving, it’s not the same and you’re more prone to make a mistake.

“We had five of the 16 qualified cars in the field and I tuned all their cars too so I was very busy during qualifying,” Barton said. “After each run I had our customers downloading all their info and bring me their computers. After the first round all five were still in it. We were very proud of that.

“At Indy I felt that every round a lot more pressure than in the past and I had to be on top of my game and get as much as I could out the car. I have customers that are just as competitive as me and they like to win. In the second round Dan Condon, who is one of our customers, had lane choice and he decided to take the left lane. He had the option to be aggressive and try and beat me or run a conservative setup. He went to the aggressive side and spun the tires, but it was his decision.”

In round three Barton beat the ’16 Mustang of Kevin Skinner with an 8.199 to Skinner’s 8.331 setting up the final against Steve Bell’s ’17 COPO.

During qualifying Barton set low ET of the event with an 8.109 with Bell just a tick behind with an 8.126. Barton added,” On Thursday conditions were much better than the rest of the weekend. Monday conditions got a lot worse. After qualifying we were about 0.015 seconds quicker than Bell and in the finals it was the same so we were both consistently just moving up and down a bit.”

Barton’s 8.181 defeated the close 8.214 of Bell. As Barton kept Low ET of the event, Bell got the distinction of Top Speed with a 168.39 MPH run during qualifying,

After the Indy win Barton said, “I thought with the Indy win I would be the SAM champ with the extra round but Chuck Watson could tie me with a win in St Louis. I haven’t heard what the tiebreaker is but I am hoping it is low qualifying during the year as we had the better qualifying record.

“I would like to thank my mom and dad, Shirley and Ray along with my wife Samantha and my kids Jax and Felicity for their support,” Barton said. “And the guys at the shop, car owner Gary Wolkwitz along with my crew chief Todd Hoven who was busting his ass all weekend. And my sponsors GM Parts Now out of Berger Chevrolet along with Mickey Thompson Tires and VP Fuels.

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