by Scott Kindberg
August 25, 2013
Champ ... Again
It was there that he would watch his heroes - guys like Bobby Schnars, Squirt Johns, Jay Plyler, Skip Furlow and Ron Blackmer - battle it out in the feature races while dreaming about one day doing the same.
But, really, how many times do kids fantasize about being just like their athletic heroes and then actually accomplish it when they become adults?
Less than one percent?
That hardly deterred Barton, the kid from Falconer, who learned to go-cart race with his father, Clarence, and later built his first car with his uncle Rod, who raced sportsman cars at Stateline.
"Rod showed me what it took to successfully race a car," Barton said of his uncle in a 2005 interview. "And that meant everything, from the hard work ethic all the way to on-the-track performance."
Fast-forward more than four decades, including the last 30 as the premier Super Late Model driver in the area. During that span, the 58-year-old Barton has won 10 point championships at Stateline, including last night's 2013 title, which put him two in front of Schnars. No one else has more than three in the track's 58-year history.
"I never, in my wildest dreams, ever imagined that the young kids today would look up to me in the same light as my heroes," said Barton in 2005. "I just secretly hoped, somehow, someway, I could maybe get out there and race."
Man, has he ever.
Beginning with his first SLM title in 1986, the Ashville resident's other championships came in 1987, 1990, 1991, 1993, 1994, 1996, 2000, 2006 and, finally, this year.
After Barton and Schnars, drivers with multiple SLM titles are Dan Armbruster and Johns with three apiece; and Blackmer, Dutch Davies, Furlow, Rod Maloy, Plyler, Hyle Russell, David Scott, Matt Urban and Johnny Whitehead with two apiece. Sixteen other drivers have one championship each.
Barton's No. 14B is owned by John and Charlie Lacki.