Russell Barefoot has been drag racing for 31 years. While most drivers come and go or pursue other interests over time, the 50-year-old Mt. Airy driver has been a regular since he watched his first race in 1961.
Barefoot has become a fixture at the local dragways. He has been a consistent top finisher in points and won the track championship at 75-80 Dragway in 1985. While all of his wins and winning seasons have blended together over time, it is the 1985 season that stands out the most for the likable driver. In addition to the championship, Barefoot won the Top Dog race six times that year.
Barefoot also has been a regular on the bracket final teams that race at Maple Grove each fall.
Last year, he finished second in points in Class I at 75-80, but blew his motor during practice at the finals. This year, he is running 18th in points at Mason-Dixon Dragway in Hagerstown.
"I thought maybe I change this year," said Barefoot. "I still consider 75-80 my home track. I've been there about seven or eight times this year. That's where my friends are, it's like a family there. I just wanted a change."
Most competitors that have been around racing for any length of time have gone through several cars. Barefoot has raced the same car, a 1961 Camaro since 1981. That's probably one reason why year after year he is so successful.
"The car works pretty good," said Barefoot. "So why not stick with it. I have a 454-cubic-inch engine in it and usually have a spare. The fastest I have run the car is 9.70 seconds."
This year, Barefoot has been struggling to stay in the top 16 in points in the Super-Pro division (Class I) at Mason-Dixon. And his tTC lack of consistency has probably come from something he has rarely done over the years, that's make a change. During the off-season, Barefoot changed his motor from gas to alcohol.
"I've had better years," he said. "I have the car on alcohol because it gives the car more power and runs cooler. But sometimes it wants to overpower the track. I haven't quite figured it out yet. It runs a lot better in cool weather."
While most drivers his age are thinking about taking it easy, Barefoot isn't showning any signs of slowing down. He probably will be more involved next year, since his 21-year-old son Jeff will start racing later this season. The two have been working on a 1980 Chevrolet Malibu hoping to get it ready to run a few season-ending races.
Jeff is not new to racing. He has been going to the track with his father since he was 2. Now, he will be joining him on the track. Barefoot already has a plan for his son.
"I want to put him in a dragster after he gets a little experience," said Barefoot. "I think they are easier and more consistent than a full-bodied car. You don't have to put a big motor in it to go fast either. He'll do a lot better if he gets used to it while he's young."
With his son ready to race, it looks like Russell Barefoot is far from finished. Now, competitors will have two Barefoots to race against.
MD fund raiser
This weekend, the Muscular Dystrophy Association will conduct its annual fund raiser at Summit Point Raceway near Charlestown, W.Va. Today and tomorrow, with a contribution to MD, people will have the opportunity to ride the two-mile road course in a variety of sports cars.
For more information, call the track (304) 725-8444.
Last weekend's results
Cory Hess of Taneytown won Class II for the second consecutive week. Ed Talbert of Taneytown was a semi-finalist. In Class I, Matt Repp of Taneytown and Joe Henry of Mt. Airy were semi-finalists and Chuck Taylor of Westminster was a quarter-finalist. Tim Lippy of New Windsor won the motorcycle division.
$ Mason-Dixon Dragway:
Matt McCleary of Mt. Airy was runner-up in the Junior Dragster Class I.
Cris Eash of Woodbine finished eighth in the second super-sprint feature.
Manchester's Jesse Wentz finished third in the sprint feature. Judd Shepard (Finksburg) finished ninth in the Armacald sprint cars. Randy Zechman of Westminster finished sixth in the semi-late feature and brother Mickey finished tenth in the thundercar main event.
Micro-sprint driver Brad McClelland of Westminster was back in victory lane. Steve Owings of Westminster was third. Mark Shorb of Westminster was third in the 8-cylinder division and Nick Sholtes of Westminster was seventh. Larry Feeser of Millers was third in the street stock division and Steve Pollard of Westminster was sixth.
Pub Date: 9/01/96