It didn't take long for driver Jason Barrett to find his way to the Richmond Raceway.

He was just two days old when he first laid eyes on the track.

"I was born on a Thursday and my mom took me to the races on that Saturday to watch my dad compete," Barrett said. "I have literally been on that track my whole life."

The multi-time track champion said early encounters like that helped forge his passion for racing and while other kids in his class were focused on sports like football and basketball -- Barrett was waiting for Saturday so he could return to the grandstands of the Madison County dirt track.

"I knew I always wanted to (race)," Barrett recalled. "It's kind of crazy how much time I've spent there. I have so many great memories of growing up around that track. I remember being that little kid running around the grass and the fence, waving and cheering on my favorite drivers. My cousins and I were always running up and down those same bleachers. It's great that same family atmosphere is still there."

Attendees this weekend will be able to experience that atmosphere for themselves and meet Barrett and other local drivers when the Richmond Raceway hosts its Meet the Drivers night on Saturday at the track.

Barrett said people will not have to look far to find his family members.

"Yeah, there are quite a lot of us at the track each weekend," the driver joked. "I'm so fortunate that a lot of my family -- aunts, uncles and cousins -- still come to the track and watch me race every weekend."

That support and connection has been there since day one, Barrett explained.

His father is former track champion Clarence Barrett and many of Barrett's uncles and cousins have raced also.

That long family history is apparent in the number on the car that Barrett drives -- B5.

According to the driver, Barrett's father and grandfather used to build cars for other drivers and eventually his father decided to climb into the driver's seat himself.

"He said he thought he could tear them up just as good as anyone else could," Barrett said with a laugh.

That particular car was the fifth the Barrett's had built as a family.

"B stands for Barrett and five is for the car," Barrett explained. "When my dad decided to quit racing after my grandfather passed, it was an honor for me to put his number on the side of the car I drove. I've been so fortunate to represent him in my own racing career."

Barrett was 18-years-old when he first drove his dad's car.

"I had never driven a V8 before in my life. It was exciting," the driver recalled. "I started in the super late model class and that's my class -- that's what I race. I have driven modified before, but super late model is what I love."

Barrett has racked up more than 30 wins so far during his career and said that nothing compares to racing.

"It's really hard to describe. I've not done anything else that comes close to it. It's my stress reliever. I've been lucky to do something that not a lot of people get to experience," Barrett said.

The driver said he's also fortunate enough that his long history with the track hasn't stopped and there are echos from his childhood still there.

"We're a local team and proud to be so. Nothing is like the passion for dirt track racing. The drivers and the fans are so into it and excited. I'm so lucky to have been able to grow up around that and to continue to see it every weekend. I not only get to compete against some drivers who were racing when I was younger, I also get to see a lot of drivers who have stopped racing but still come out to support the sport," Barrett said.

The driver said he is especially grateful for three special fans in the stands -- his wife, Erica, and their daughters Brynlee and Brylee.

Barrett met his wife at the track -- where her father also raced.

"My wife is very unselfish and she is the biggest supporter of mine. My girls support me at the track and cheer me on. They are proud of me and that means so much to me," Barrett said.

The driver said he can count on his family, even when things don't always go as planned on the track.

After a particularly rough night last season at the Butterball race, his girls presented him with a special trophy they had made to honor their dad.

"As always, they we're able to put a smile on my face after a bad night," Barrett said.

The driver said he is fortunate to also have continued support from his non-blood family.

"I have some really good sponsors and crew behind me. I tell everyone that if their name is on the car, they are pretty much family as well. I have had some great sponsors that have stuck with me all these years," Barrett said.

The driver said he is honored to have been able to fulfill a childhood dream and credits all those that made it possible.

"Every time I go out there, I think about all the little kids running around and having fun. I was that little kid. I try to make it fun for them and everyone. I try to go out there each weekend and put on a show for the fans. My hope is that it will continue and grow, so that others will be on the track one day," Barrett said.

Even though Barrett has had racing in his heart since almost the day he was born, the driver said the sport continues to bring him joy.

"It doesn't get old. I have raced a lot and raced in different states on different tracks. Richmond is my home and it is still just as fun today as when I was a kid," Barrett said.

React to this story:

2
0
0
0
0