Larry Barnett Unsure Of Future With Valenti Modified Racing Series

THOMPSON – The paddock at Thompson International Speedway was bursting with Limited Sportsman competitors Thursday evening for the first weekly show of the season at the track.

Larry Barnett

One of the 32 competitors readying for a night of racing was the division’s all-time winningest driver, Larry Barnett.

Barnett stopped running regularly at the track after the 2011 season, deciding instead to try his hand at competing with the Valenti Modified Racing Series in 2012.

Now the Moosup driver is unclear what the immediate future holds for him. Will it be in a touring Modified or will it be in a weekly Limited Sportsman ride?

“I don’t know right now,” Barnett said Thursday.

Barnett had a mostly frustrating first year with the Valenti Modified Racing Series. He said the struggles on the track were only intensified by his struggles off the track in getting his equipment competitive in the division.

Barnett ran the season opening Valenti Modified Racing Series event in April of this year at Waterford and was involved in a crash. In the process of repair he found that he had been racing a car that he said had a bent frame all of last season.

“That was frustrating to find that out,” Barnett said. “That might change everything for me.”

He skipped the second Valenti Modified Racing Series event at Monadnock Speedway on April 20 and was not on the entry list for the division’s most recent event, which was rained out on May 19 at Thompson.

He said he’ll back racing in the series for the division’s June 8th event at Seekonk (Mass.) Speedway, though he’s not sure how many of the 16 events remaining for the series on schedule that he will be competing in.

“I can only envision doing 5-7 more races with the Modified,” Barnett said. “If things go great that might go up a couple, if things go bad that might go down a couple. I’m going to probably do a few more of these. And in the end, whichever I’m having more fun doing I’m going to do.”

Last year Barnett attempted 11 events with the Valenti Modified Racing Series, qualifying for nine. He finished the season with three top-15 runs with a best finish of 13th. He said he has spent about $70,000 to compete on the Valenti Modified Racing Series and that if he had the chance to do it all over he would not have bought the car.

Barnett has driven a Limited Sportsman on and off since 1988. He has 65 career victories at Thompson and four division championships. He won the season opening event this year at the Icebreaker on April 14.

[The Limited Sportsman division at Thompson] got to be no fun at all two years ago,” Barnett said. “Zero fun at all. That drove me to try the Modified. If they could straighten out their [stuff] here this could be a blast again. There’s no reason it can’t be. But who knows, in three weeks if Moose Douton is up here having battles with Scott Cook and I’m getting caught in the middle of it, maybe it’s no fun again. [First year race director] Jeff Zuidema will do a lot better keeping things under wraps I think. And I like the way [competition director] Josh [Vanada] runs things upstairs.

“I’m going to probably do a few more of these. And in the end, whichever I’m having more fun doing I’m going to do. By the end of June I’ll probably have a stronger idea of where things are going.”

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  1. Brad Hamilton says

    He spent $70,000? Is that a typo?

  2. Brad,

    No, not a typo.

  3. It costs a ton to start from scratch.

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