By Dan Stillwell
Register-Herald Sports Writer
Even though he would be going up against the top names in dirt track racing in the East, Aaron Barley came into this weekend’s FASTRAK World Championships with a calm and collected attitude.
“You have to look at it like any other race. You can’t get worked up,” he said Thursday, before the start of the three-day event at Beckley Motorsports Park in Prosperity. “It might be (my) local track, but these guys race so much, it doesn’t matter where they go. They’re on top of their game everywhere.”
Not that Barley, a 24-year-old from Mount Hope, isn’t on top of his game as well.
He won eight races this season, competing at BMP and at Princeton, and finished fourth in the BMP Crate class standings.
Friday night he took 13th place in the FASTRAK Friday Night Fights and earned a spot in Saturday’s championship competition.
“We’ve had pretty good luck, but it’s been a learning year for us,” Barley said. “We got a new car, and the last few weeks I’ve been running it and getting it ready for this.”
He has raced at BMP since he was 18. He started out in Street Stocks, then moved to Crates, where he has won two track championships.
“I played football at Mount Hope High School until my junior year, and then I started racing,” Barley said. “It’s a competitive sport, and something me and my dad can do. He’s raced for 17 years.”
Barley and his dad, Bobby, work on cars together every night. Eddie wouldn’t have it any other way.
“It’s just me and him during the week, and it’s time we get to spend together,” Barley said. “That’s the thing I enjoy the most. Every accomplishment I’ve had, I have to credit him for it.”
While he’s all for protecting the car, he knows there are times when a driver has to go all-out, pedal to the metal.
“If you want to win, you’ve got to be aggressive,” Barley said, “You have to play it smart, and not tear your stuff up. But sometimes you have to do what you’ve got to do.”
He’s glad FASTRAK decided to hold its championships at BMP, a 3/8th-mile, high-banked oval in Prosperity.
“This is a great track to have something like this. It’s one of the most racy places around here.
“Last year they were 3- and 4-wide all night long. Tracks like this have more side-by-side racing. I think if it was at a bigger track, they’d be more stretched out.”
Barley had high hopes for a good finish Saturday.
“The good thing about it is you’re racing with the best of the best,” he said. “So if you run good and prove yourself, it makes you feel good.”
Results from Saturday’s racing were not available at press time.
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