Start To Finish: Larry Barnett Gets Limited Sportsman Win, Championship At Thompson

Larry Barnett celebrates victory in the Limited Sportsman feature Saturday at Thompson Speedway (Photo: Jim DuPont/RaceDayCT)

THOMPSON – Call it the perfect bookending to a season of redemption.

On April 10 at the Icebreaker at Thompson Speedway Larry Barnett triumphantly celebrated a return to victory lane in the Limited Sportsman division at Thompson Speedway.

The Icebreaker win was the first victory since 2017 for the division’s all-time winningest driver.

Saturday at the Sunoco World Series at Thompson Speedway Barnett completed his redemption season in perfect style, winning the season ending 25-lap Limited Sportsman feature to clinch his fifth track championship.

“This has been a very stressful week because I took a lot of gambles on the car,” Barnett said. “None of them worked. I had to backtrack with my tail between my legs after practice and do a little more adjustment. I did not have the confidence that I deserved to be here. But my crew stuck with me. My mom is my good luck charm, she’s here. Everybody just believed in me more than I believed in myself.”

Zack Robinson of Putnam was second and Troy Waterman of Danielson third.

Barnett led every lap and held on through six restarts.

“It’s pretty special,” Barnett said. “It just feels great to go out with a win and a championship. I believe it’s 11 years since I’ve [won a championship] and these don’t get any easier I promise you that.”

In addition to his two victories in 2021, Barnett had a second, a third and a sixth place to close out the season with an average finish of 2.6.

It was the sixth place finish in the Sept. 15 Limited Sportsman event at Thompson that was stuck in Barnett’s mind coming into the final race.

“This week I’ve been sick to my stomach with nerves because I wasn’t that good in the last race, so I made a bunch of changes,” Barnett said. “So my confidence was not real good. I know I can do it, but I showed up and I was like eighth and 10th fastest in practice. I was like ‘Oh crap.’, especially because the car felt good. I was like ‘Now what do you do?’ To win it this way, after this day when I was just in knots because I wasn’t good and took big swings and gained on it, it’s just totally different. The Icebreaker was like: ‘Holy shit, I’m fast’. There was no pressure. So it’s awesome. But this is like, ‘You kinda suck, you’re not going to do it.’ So it’s a total different thing.

“But the whole season has been so fun. Ryan [Waterman], Brent [Gleason] and Corey [Fanning], they were all a little rougher tonight, but it’s just so much more fun racing this year because there weren’t cars going off on the wrecker every [race] like past years.”

Barnett said he plans to return to chase another title in 2022.

“You know you don’t have too many more years doing this,” Barnett said. “… I’m trying to think about the whole race car, and work and it’s stressful and extra rewarding when you’re successful. I’m 59. Next year, 60 and I plan on coming back here because these people are great to race for.”


  1. I am a big Larry Barnett fan. Congrats Larry on winning the championship and finishing out the season as a champion should, by winning the season ending race. You are da man!

  2. Stuart A Fearn says

    Congratulations to Larry, one of the good guys

  3. Best division race in and race out at Thompson.
    Great article highlighting the emotional investment.
    Brent Gleason will have his perspective on the next Making Laps Youtube podcast. Brents show is still flying under the radar but he’s a sharp guy and hopefully the show will gain momentum. Bonssa Tufa and Mitch Bombard in the last show. The viewer must invest an hour and a half to get a half hour of real insights with the rest nonsensical banter. If Brent would tighten it up and be more disciplined it might be more attractive to those popping in to get a taste. As is it’s worth putting up with the mindless jocularity to get to the real insights. Tufa’s perspectives on the Speedbowl considering who his employer is are shall we say surprising. The brother with his disturbing imagery you could lose entirely since he brings little to the podcast.

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