The Big Payoff: Larry Barnett Back In Victory Lane In Thompson Limited Sportsman

Larry Barnett celebrates victory in the Limited Sportsman feature Saturday at Thompson Icebreaker 125 at Thompson Speedway (Photo:

THOMPSON – The king of the Limited Sportsman division at Thompson Speedway showed Saturday that the competition can call him old, but he’s not giving up his crown just yet. 

Larry Barnett, the all-time winningest Limited Sportsman driver at Thompson Speedway, returned to victory lane for the first time since 2017 Saturday in winning the division’s 25-lap lap feature at Icebreaker 2021. 

It was the 70th career Limited Sportsman victory at Thompson for Barnett, of Moosup, and his first since June 14, 2017

“Guys were teasing me saying ‘You used to win a lot, what’s wrong, getting too old?’” Barnett said. “It hurts your pride a lot. People don’t understand, they just think you’re old and slow. It’s old and slow when you don’t have the energy to do everything you need to do.”

Corey Fanning was a distant second and Brent Gleason third. 

An offseason of determined and focused preparation led up to Barnett’s return to the track for the Icebreaker. 

“Not a single person touched my car since last season other than me.” Barnett said. “My wife helped me put tape around the numbers. That hurts your pride a little bit too because it feels like nobody cares enough to help you. But it’s just because all my former help got busy doing other things. I outlasted all my help by doing this racing game so long. That’s kind of what happened. People go on to other things, move away or whatever. My crew guy that I was going to have this year just got a job in Utah and he’s moving in a week.

“I pulled an all-nighter to make it here on Friday because I did not want to miss this after all this work I’ve done. And then to have it pay off. I had to work so hard and go without doing anything else for a while. I’d have to win all six races [in 2021 at Thompson] for all this to break even in my head because you’re so mad. This is a long way to getting me back feeling better. People say ‘Wow, your car really looks nice.’ And you go ‘Because I took a lot of time to try to make it look nice.’ It just feels so good. I didn’t need to win to feel good, but it sure feels even better that I won.”

Barnett said the biggest key to the return to victory lane was the discovery of an issue by chassis specialist Barry Fluckiger. 

“I said ‘Something has got to be wrong with this car” and I brought my car to Barry Fluckiger who found that the frame in the back was twisted up in a way I couldn’t measure it at home. He said ‘I think it’s going to help you a lot.’ Three-eighths of an inch the rear end was off center. So it was always binding up. No matter what I did to the car the last three years it would never stay good. It was just kind of good.” 


  1. Great job Larry and happy to see you back in victory lane. Known Larry for a long time, super nice guy and great racing family.

  2. Now that’s a great story; admittedly I don’t follow this division much but I’m certainly in tune with seeing Larry’s name as the victor over many years. It would be great to see this guy get some help, both elbow grease and a sponsor on the rear quarter panel.. Good luck the rest of the season Larry!

  3. 🌈🦄2020 says

    So that’s his old car with the new Camaro body?

  4. Pequot Pete says

    Too bad a few of his old Mystic Missile buddies could not have pitched in a hand and helped Larry out after all he did for them through the years… Maybe they did and he just didn’t mention it. Regardless, LB has always been a showman in the Thompson Limited Sportsman ranks through the years and it was good to see him win again.

  5. Great story – hope Larry comes back to Stafford this year

  6. Fast Eddie says

    Nice to see the 73 back in the winnrs circle!

  7. Vintage Racer says

    I’ve watched Larry run for decades, and finally got a chance to meet him briefly last year at Stafford. He’s a class guy, and I see how hard he works to make that 73 run good. A well deserved win!

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