Ron Barfield Jr. is loving his role as the promoter of Dillon Motor Speedway in Dillon, SC, an ASA Member Track. The veteran driver also cannot wait to get back behind the wheel of a stock car in an event that will happen on another continent as he has signed on the compete in the ASA Transcontinental Series Free State 500 at the Phakisa Freeway Oval in Welkom, South Africa on Sunday, January 31, 2010.
The 38-year-old driver will be making his second trip overseas to compete in a stock car event as he traveled with Dennis Huth, ASA President, to an event in Japan back in 1999 where he finished 12th. It was a trip that he will remember for the rest of his life, and now he gets to experience this all again on a different continent. "The drivers that get to go on this adventure to South Africa will look back and say to themselves, man this was an experience," Barfield exclaimed. "I'm looking forward to it."
When he was approached about being part of this event, he was surprised by the location, "When he (Dennis Huth) told me the race would be in South Africa, I said there ain't no way there is a track over there and he said yeah there is. There is a mile and a half track just like what Las Vegas is," Barfield recalled. "So he gave me the website and I started to look it up and by golly here we go. You know what, he might be working on somewhere else to go after this but I don't know how in the world he got into this deal."
It didn't take long for Barfield to get on board, in fact, he has cars in a container on its way over to Phakisa, Free State, South Africa as of this writing, "We have already sent over a couple of cars so the fans over in South Africa can see the kind of cars that we are going to be racing over there," Barfield announced. "They are floating as we speak."
"Ron is a unique individual that is 100% behind motorsports," Dennis Huth, ASA President said. "When I approached him and asked if he wanted to go, he was already loading cars on the dock before I finished the sentence. It is great to have him on board. His enthusiasm is infectious and he will help make this a memorable event."
Barfield is familiar with featuring a new style of racing to race fans in another country, as he recalled from his trip to Japan where it was not just the car that gave the fans a favorable impression, but the drivers as well. "For the Japanese people, this was a different style of a race car that they have rarely seen," Barfield recalled. "Just doing the drivers autographs and other things, the fans just appreciated it and I think that is what this is going to be the same in South Africa. The participants in this event will definitely see things in a different way once they get over there."
He got his start in racing by competing at the local short tracks. He was competing in a Pro Cup Series televised event when he got noticed by a famous driver, "I've had a chance to make a living at doing what I love to do. I was running a Pro Cup Series race that was on television, when they were running late model cars, and I gotten into a wreck," Barfield explained. "It happened that Bill Elliott was watching television, and I got crashed late in the race and Elliott called me Monday morning after that race. He saw how I handled myself after being taken out by another driver, and offered me a research & development deal."
From there he was able to live his dream to making a living by racing full-time. He finished 22nd in the 1997 Brickyard 400 at Indianapolis Motor Speedway driving for Elliott. He has 29 starts in the NASCAR Nationwide Series where he has two top-ten finishes and has 71 starts in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series where he has four top-five and 17 top-ten finishes.
Today, he owns and operates the 4/10-mile oval in Dillon, SC with many family members helping him. It's an opportunity for him to help mentor the young drivers that compete weekly at his track.
He is also excited by the diversity of competitors who will be competing at the Phakisa Freeway Oval, "Dennis is taking some experienced drivers that have ran a lot of big track stuff and going with drivers that are still trying to make a career in racing," Barfield said. "We are going over there with a group of young drivers and experienced drivers to put on a race because this is a chance of a lifetime. I'm planning to have a great time with the whole experience, and its up to all of us to put on a great show."
For more information on Barfield's Dillon Motor Speedway, please visit, www.dillonmotorspeedway.com.
The American drivers invited will not only get a chance to compete on one of the finest racetracks outside of the United States, but will enjoy many off-track opportunities to see the various sights of South Africa; this includes a private tour of "Savannah" the wildlife preserve that holds the distinction of being just one of three accredited worldwide breeders of the Cheetah.
To learn more about Phakisa Freeway, visit www.phakisa.com.
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