Scott Barnes has hailed his chequered flag at the fabled Daytona International Speedway as one of the greatest triumphs of his decorated karting career.
Barnes sealed the victory in the Stock Honda class in his final race at the World Karting Association Daytona Kartweek last month to cap off a superb season on the international stage.
His achievement was all the more remarkable as he was racing in a borrowed kart, having damaged his own vehicle in the previous Stock Honda race.
With a pair of second-place finishes already under his belt in the 125 Sprint Shifters, Barnes fully expected to watch the final race from the stands before being presented with an opportunity to join the grid.
“One of my friends Alex Laughlin [who won the Stock Honda race in which Barnes crashed out] had a kart I could use as he had to fly back to Texas. He was like, ‘Take it!’,” Barnes said.
“I had to put some weights on the kart as he is heavier than me, but I jumped in and was able to win the race. It really capped off my weekend; I thought I was done and was ready to head to home.”
Barnes, the island’s top driver, said it was an incredible thrill to claim a win at the legendary track, which is the home of the Daytona 500, the most prestigious race in Nascar. The Bermudian racer also thanked his friend Brian Hall, the Bermuda cricketer, who accompanied him to Florida in the absence of his engine tuner who he could not make the trip.
“Daytona is one of the top three tracks in the United States,” said Barnes, the former Bermuda Karting Club president. “When you think of Daytona you think of Dale Earnhart Jr, Jeff Gordon ... all of those famous racers. To be able to get a win at Daytona is one of the top two wins in my career, the other being my first win at the Rock Island Grand Prix in Illinois in 2007.
“Racing in two classes by yourself is hard, so my mate Brian Hall came along and was a huge help. He doesn’t know a lot about karting, but I couldn’t have done it without him.”
Barnes, who had a best finish of third at the WKA Daytona Kartweek in 2017, enjoyed plenty of overseas success last year, finishing runner-up in both of his classes in the Triple Crown of Karting.
He won the L206 Margay Ignite final and placed fifth in the Shifters at the Rock Island Grand Prix in September, the final race of the series, to place second overall in each class.
The Triple Crown, a street-race series, also included the Quincy Grand Prix in Illinois in June and the Thor Industries Elkhart Riverwalk Grand Prix in Indiana in August.
Barnes also competed in the Battle of the Brickyard at the iconic Indianapolis Motor Speedway in July, which was not part of the Triple Crown.
“I did five races in the US in 2018 and podiumed in all of them in one class or the other” Barnes added.
“It was a pretty good 2018 and to cap it off with a win at Daytona was the icing on the cake.”