Two former champions and one very fast driver who has battled for a title at Dominion Raceway before have emerged as early championship favorites at Dominion Raceway in Thornburg, Virginia.
Dominion’s “big three” consists of 49-year-old Jeff Oakley, 22-year-old Tyler Hughes, and 21-year-old Doug Barnes, Jr. Oakley is the reigning track champion and Barnes won the title over Hughes in 2017. Now, all three once again set their sights on a track championship.
“There is certainly good talent there this year,” Oakley told Race22.com. “We have to stay on our A-game to win races and stay up front. All year long, Tyler and Doug are going to be tough to beat. The big thing is, we can race and hard and clean and it’s a real racing war and not knocking each other around.”
Oakley started out the 2019 season in victory lane, holding off Philip Morris in a thriller before a packed crowd on Dominion Raceway’s opening night back in April.
“To me, it validated what we did last year with the championship,” Oakley said. “It really wasn’t some fluke. He was on my bumper for 75 laps. I never had a chance to pull away because the cautions kept coming.”
Hughes, who competed at Old Dominion Speedway when it was still open in the early part of this decade, was the first driver to win a race at Dominion Raceway. On April 20th, he made a statement when he swept twin races at Dominion Raceway and propelling himself into the championship picture.
“I’m pretty happy with the way our season has started even though we’re only three races in,” Hughes commented. “We worked really hard this offseason and really did our homework and I feel like it’s paying off for us already. We’ve had a lot of solid test sessions and it showed when we swept. I felt like, night one, we had the car to beat in practice and got a bad tire because the car just went crazy loose on us. Even then, we drove back to fourth after pitting twice in two cations. Unfortunately, we had a mishap on the final restart which only got us a 10th place finish. The sweep [on April 20th] showed the hard work we did over the winter.”
While Hughes respects Oakley and Barnes and knows those two drivers will put up a fight all season for the championship, his main focus is on himself and making his car as fast as he can get it. In 2017, he came up just short of the championship to Barnes. This year, he hopes to avenge that loss and win a championship.
“They’re just another competitor to me,” Hughes remarked. “I know they’re gonna put up a good fight like they always do, but I’m focused on me at the moment. I’ve learned how to come up short and lose one. I want this championship more than anything this year and I’m going to do whatever it takes to get it. I know they will too, so it should be a fun season.”
Barnes has not yet won a race, but he does not anticipate being winless on the season for long. He has scored three top-five finishes in all three races so far and is in the thick of the championship points battle.
“I’d consider three top-fives to start the season pretty good for us,” Barnes explained. “We’re points racing so I can’t be disappointed with that. However, we’ve been lacking motor the past few races. I feel like we’ve been setting ourselves up well every race this season, but we didn’t quite have the car to get the job done. Now we do. There is no reason we shouldn’t be able to get a win this weekend.”
Barnes expects to be battling with Oakley and Hughes all season and, like them, Barnes has respect for his main championship rivals – but he’s focused on himself and his car as well.
“I really enjoy racing against Tyler and Jeff,” Barnes noted. “It’s awesome that this season is going to have the same competitors running for that championship that it did in 2017. They’re both tough to beat, but I’m only going to focus on myself. I’m going to put myself in the best position possible every race and, hopefully, we’ll have a second banner hanging up next January with my name on it.”
Oakley currently leads the point standings six points over Barnes while Hughes sits in third, four points back from Barnes. The trio of competitors will be in action in Saturday night’s Late Model Stock Car doubleheader at Dominion Raceway.
Dominion Raceway in Spotsylvania Virginia
May 3 at 2:30 PM ·
Let's meet our 2017 Dominion Raceway in Spotsylvania Virginia NASCAR Whelen All-American Series Late Model Track Champion, Doug Barnes Jr. After a season away from Dominion, Doug is back and ready to try to score a second track title. Doug is apart of our very own "Big Three" along side Tyler Hughes and Jeff Oakley. If anyone remembers the battle for the 2017 title, it came down to the very end. We expect this year to be just as exciting!
Follow Doug here👇👇👇 #followfriday www.dougbarnesjr.com
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/Barnes-Racing-222822917763689/ Twitter: https://twitter.com/DougBarnesJr88
By Andy Marquis
April 5, 2019
After spending a year on the sidelines, 2017 Dominion Raceway track champion Doug Barnes, Jr. is back behind the wheel of a Late Model Stock Car at the Thornburg, Virginia track.
Barnes, 21, from Forest Hill, Maryland, was able to come away with the track championship in the final race of the 2017 regular season after a thrilling duel with Tyler Hughes. However, Barnes did not have the opportunity to compete much in 2018. Despite that year-long absence, Barnes is confident he can still run well.
“It’s been almost a year since I’ve raced, so I’m just excited to get back on track,” Barnes told Race22.com. “We’ve had so much success at Dominion in the past that I’m still really confident. I’m in the best shape of my life and I know what it takes to win a championship. I just need to shake off a little rust, then we’ll be back in the swing of things.”
Last season, Barnes intended to race often at Dominion Raceway and Langley Speedway – but plans fell through and he found himself on the sidelines.
“We had a lot of plans last year but most of them fell through,” Barnes said. “Before we knew it, it was September and we had only raced once. I made the decision to sit out the rest of the season so we could fully focus on this upcoming season.”
Right now, Barnes is not sure if he will contend for the track championship at Dominion Raceway, but he plans to be in championship form on Saturday either way as he will compete against the likes of Philip Morris and Peyton Sellers.
“I’m not 100 percent sure if we’re running for a title yet,” Barnes explained. “We’re going to run with a championship mentality. Even though it’s been a while, I need to be on my A-game all day. You aren’t going to stand a chance winning against them if you aren’t at your best. I expect us to be up to speed and a threat to win.
“Hopefully the race will go our way and we can be in a spot to win at the end of the day.”
Barnes began his career racing karts in Maryland. Throughout the years, he progressed to Legends, and then Late Models in 2014. He has also competed in the X-1R Pro Cup Series, scoring two top-five finishes, before the series was relaunched as the CARS Late Model Stock Tour.
4/6/2019- What a roller coaster ride today at Dominion Raceway. Doug qualified 10th out of the 24 car field. After multiple cautions and a try at a green, white checker finish... Doug finished 5th. We'll take it....not too bad for being out of the car for a year....
Many thanks to Race 22 and Andy Marquis for the nice write-up (see full article below) on Doug before his first race back at Dominion on April 5, 2019 and also the Big Three article from May 10, 2019 (see full article below also)
Thank you to Late Model Digest for the nice article on Doug's twin wins at Dominion on 6/1/19 in their 6/14/19 issue. (see below)
Barnes Takes Dual Wins and Points Lead
After the “full moon racing” that went on two weeks ago at Dominion, Saturday’s Kids Night at the Races was a little tame, but it did see two double feature winners and a driver come from last to first to take a checkered flag. It also saw kids of all ages racing bikes on the front stretch before the features thanks to sponsors County Waste, Mullins Racing, F.O.E post 4123, Grover Gaming and Ferry Farm Repair.
After taking last year off, Doug Barnes has been a force this year at Dominion capturing three top fives in three races and sitting only six points out of the points lead coming into the weekend. He qualified second and started third in the field after the invert and wasted little time getting to the front. Barnes was out front by lap eight and never looked back, leaving Tyler Hughes in second and Timmy Phipps in third for the first feature.
Barnes started the second 60 lap twin P8 after the mandatory invert, but again, it took him just over half the race to get back out front. A contributing factor to Barnes being able to get back out front with only 24 laps to go, was an incident that took out, or crippled, three of the top contenders on the night. On lap two, Sergio Pena, Hughes and current track champion and points leader Jeff Oakley were involved in an incident coming out of turn two that saw Pena have to retire and both Hughes and Oakley make stops in the pits to repair their cars in order to continue. Hughes would come back out 27 laps down, but Oakley was able to get back out in 14th spot due to the cautions not counting yet. Oakley would charge from 14th and finish sixth while Hughes would come home 16th. Barnes would take his second checkered flag on the night followed by Michael Hardin, Phipps, and Alex Brock. “We are more than happy, to say the least about taking both features, but more importantly I think what really happened in the second was starting halfway through the first one we had a lead and knew something was wrong with the 8 car so we figured to save out stuff a little bit, keep the tires on it, we had a decent enough lead and if he got back to us we still had more in the car to give,” Barnes said after the second twin. When asked about coming out of the weekend with the points lead he said: “ It’s awesome!”
Doug qualified 2nd in the 21 car field and after the invert started 4th. Doug settled into the 2nd place position about 1/2 way thru the 100 lap feature. He took the lead at lap 72 and led for about 10 laps until a late caution bunched the field together and he unfortunately got wrecked with 27 to go before they started counting cautions. Doug still finished 6th.... on to the next race at Dominion on July 13th....
Fun day at Dominion and we had our pits full with company for the twin 60's at Dominion...Doug qualified 7th out of the 17 car field and went on to finish 3rd in the 1st race. After the mandatory invert in the second race, Doug started 6th and finished 2nd. Great finishes since it's only his second time back in the car after a year break.... Next race is Saturday May 11th back at Dominion....