Hickory Motor Speedway issued a bizarre statement explaining why they disallowed NASCAR Weekly Series National Championship contender Doug Barnes Jr. from competing in the second of two twin races after he was involved in a crash on the first lap of the first race. On top of that Barnes alleges the track threatened to arrest him.
Doug Barnes Jr. made it clear he planned to compete for the National Championship after sweeping twin races on opening weekend at Hickory. He looked to try and repeat this past weekend, putting his car on the pole for the first of the two twins.
However, he was involved in a wreck with Kade Brown after Charlie Watson went three-wide coming off turn 2 and into the back stretch. Also involved in the aftermath of the wreck was Landon Huffman, who was run out of room and hit the wall on the back stretch significantly damaging his car.
Doug Barnes Jr. and Kade Brown wreck after Charlie Watson attempts to go three-wide down the back straightaway on the second lap of the race at Hickory. pic.twitter.com/0TKDkn1gR1
— Rosary Warrior John F Trent (@jftrent) March 13, 2023
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Brown, Barnes, and Huffman would park their cars for the first race, but would try and get them repaired for the second race believing they would be able to compete.
Barnes posted to Twitter, “Just got royally screwed tonight at Hickory. Got wrecked in race one and couldn’t continue. They let us fix our car and go up to the grid before telling us we were only allowed to start and park. They had 2 hours to relay that info. I will make a video on this when I get home tom.”
The driver shared more details on his YouTube channel saying, “We qualified on the poll and taken three wide on the first lap. … We got wrecked. A lot of cosmetic damage. Didn’t have any damage to the tires, but the duct work was all smashed. We came in. We tried to fix it, but I went out there and within three laps of being on the track, I was at 250 and spitting water. I can’t continue at that point.
“We tried to fix it. We did everything we could. No fixing it. Nothing,” he asserted.
Barnes then detailed his team got the car raceable for the second race. However, the track intervened. Barnes explained, “We are sitting on the grid ready to go. I’m getting myself hyped back up. I have no idea how this car is going to handle at this point. I don’t know if it’s gonna be good. I don’t even know if you can associate good with the race car when it goes back out on the track. And it doesn’t matter because I never had the opportunity to.”
He relayed, “Because after they commanded us to start the engines they told us that the 75 of Landon Huffman, myself, and the 23 of Kade Brown were only eligible to start and park.”
Barnes then explained what the track told him, “They said that you had to have a minimum of 20 laps on your tires to be eligible to race in the second race. They did give us the option to start and park and I told them when they make their Facebook post — because they’re going to address this too — to not state race because in my eyes there’s a big difference between race and start and park. It’s not the same thing in my eyes.”
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Barnes then goes on to reveal that the track never detailed the rule in the driver’s meeting that was being enforced on him and Huffman. He even notes Hickory “threatened to him lock him up because I wouldn’t stop talking.”
After the Late Model race finished, Barnes was invited to an office to discuss the ruling and he reveals the track admitted the rule they enforced on him was not written in the track’s rules. However, the officials claimed it was said in the driver’s meeting despite the pace car driver previously telling Barnes that it was not discussed in the driver’s meeting. In fact, Barnes notes the pace car driver has now switched his tune and is claiming it was addressed in the driver’s meeting.
Barnes admits that he bit his tongue believing to trust in the track officials at the time, and went on to detail that the track also informed him he could have purchased scuff tires at the time. However, Barnes notes, “There was absolutely no communication in between races. They didn’t come up to us and tell us that if you don’t go buy you’re only eligible to start and park. They didn’t even tell us that we could buy scuffs. I had never even heard the scuff thing until I got into the office.”
He goes on to note that he watched a video of the drivers’ meeting three times and he never once heard them address a rule about the tires.
As the video wound down, Barnes said he doesn’t plan to return to the track after this, and will be looking at another track to race. However, he seemed to be open to returning if the track issues an apology.
It doesn’t appear that the track will issue an apology. It posted a bizarre explanation as to why Barnes and Huffman parked their cars to Facebook.
Hickory Motor Speedway General Manager Kevin Piercy said, “During the first event for the Late Model Stock Cars, we had multiple cars (3) that were in a 2nd lap incident and did not complete the event. Unfortunately, this situation would give these (3) cars an advantage of much fresher tires for the second event. With the abrasive surface of a track like Hickory Motor Speedway this advantage can be quite substantial.”
He continued, “The drivers meetings are intended to go over any individual particulars for each event including, but not limited to sponsors, fuel, tires etc. This tire situation which occurred on Saturday has been addressed in these drivers meetings and prior drivers meetings for YEARS. The competitors in Late Model (Twin Events) are told if they do not complete 20 laps of the first event, their tires will not be eligible for the second event. This would also apply for a flat or cut tire before 20 laps are complete.”
“The solution for this issue is the competitor is expected to purchase scuff tires for 1 or more tires (based on how many tires did not make it 20 laps) which would help to equal the tire situation with all of the other competitors. Although Hickory Motor Speedway officials could have re-iterated the rule to these (3) teams, it does not take away the responsibility of the teams to know and understand the rules, whether conveyed in the rule book or at the drivers meeting.
“Since the (3) teams outside of the 20 lap minimum tire rule were not in compliance, our decision Saturday Night was to allow all (3) teams to start and receive last place points and monies, however they would not be able to advance their positions with the tire advantage. One team elected to take advantage and start while the other two teams ELECTED not to start,” he concluded.
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Of note Piercy does not claim that the rule is actually written in the track’s rulebook. He also does not specify if this rule was discussed during this race. It’s quite bizarre to claim that a driver who does not race often at Hickory would expect to know a rule that was discussed during a previous drivers’ meeting that said driver more than likely did not attend.
Also, trying to claim Barnes and Huffman elected to park when given the option of starting the race and parking it or not racing it altogether isn’t really a choice. You aren’t racing either way.
Huffman responded to the ruling writing on Twitter, “I assumed this would be the response. Completely evading the fact that it’s on the track to enforce a rule that isn’t on a rule book.”
He continued, “1. Not mentioned in drivers meeting (on video) 2. Never a word said to any team while thrashing on cars for second race 3. No options given to teams to choose tires, or run scuff laps 4. No rule written in any rule book by HMS that states said rule. 5. All track staff admitted this said ‘rule’ was not mentioned in the drivers meeting nor was it addressed to teams.”
He concluded, “This is a COMPLETE failure to communicate and a chicken s**t response. A simple ‘yes we screwed up’ would have been enough. But naturally we get this.”
What do you make of Hickory’s explanation for why they disallowed Barnes, Huffman, and Brown from racing?
NEXT: Fight Breaks Out After Big Wreck At Hickory Motor Speedway