(Stafford Springs, CT)—The 2021 season at Stafford Speedway saw 15 year old Tyler Barry make the move from Legend Cars to the SK Light Modified division. The 4th generation driver with a name familiar to many modified fans had an up and down year but he ended his rookie season on the highest of notes by taking his #18 Clearcom I.T. Solutions / Pro Systems Integration Chevrolet to NAPA Victory Lane. For the season, Barry posted 1 win, 4 top-5, and 10 top-10 finishes to carry him to R.A.D. Auto Machine SK Light Rookie of the Year honors.
“It means a lot to be the Rookie of the Year because Stafford is a really tough track with a lot of competition,” said Barry. “It was definitely tough having never driven the track before. I raced Wild Thing Karts but there’s a big difference going from the mini-mile to the big track. That was a big step to make for my first time racing on the half-mile but my Dad helped make things a little easier for me. We didn’t expect to win Rookie of the Year but that’s something that we all really wanted to win. Being new to the track, we didn’t really know what to expect, we just kind of did the best we could every week trying to get our first win of the season and we were able to win the Fall Final, which really helped us win Rookie of the Year. I have to thank Pro System Integration, Lathrop Vending, Stebbins Stump Grinding, T.A.S. Construction, Darrin’s Electric, HVAC Unlimited, and everyone who’s helped me out and contributed to the car, my Dad, my Grandfather, and SPAFCO Chassis.”
Barry was driving the same SPAFCO Chassis that Andrew Molleur drove to 4 wins during the 2018 season, which gave him a big boost of confidence prior to the start of his rookie campaign. Barry came close to winning several times during the 2021 season, posting a 2nd place finish on June 11 and a 3rd place finish on July 30th, but it wasn’t until the season ending NAPA Championship Night feature event on October 1st that saw Barry finally break down the barrier to NAPA Victory Lane.
“The car I drove this year was the car that Andrew Molleur drove a couple years ago in the SK Light division, so I expected the setup in the car to be pretty similar and I thought we could be a fast car this season,” said Barry. “It came down to me as the driver to see if I could be as quick as Andrew was. It was definitely a confidence booster knowing that the setup in the car was good and that the car was able to win races. It was nice to show that we proved we could win as a rookie driver and now we have good notes to work with for next season and we can try to chase down a championship.”
While Barry couldn’t find NAPA Victory Lane until the end of the season, he and he #18 team showed that they had good speed and would be a contender for a win but circumstances didn’t allow for Barry to notch a win until the final night of the season.
“It was a little disappointing that a couple of late cautions took away a win from us on restarts, but it was really good to get that first win,” said Barry. “We were all very proud of that win and it was still a lot of fun to get a couple of top-3 finishes and run with some of the guys at the front of the field and earn some of their respect.”
Barry ended the 2021 season in 10th place in the SK Light standings. His goal for the 2022 season is to be among the contenders for the championship and he will also be looking to make his Open Modified debut driving a team car to Tommy Barrett, Jr. owned by Michle Davini.
“That win gives us a lot of momentum for next season,” said Barry. “We were really fast towards the end of the season so we want to start off next season right where we left, in victory lane. With a year’s experience to work with, we’ll know what to expect. My goal for next year is to be a contender for the championship. The night that we won and the couple of nights we finished in the top-3 I was really aggressive and I was thinking correctly and giving good feedback. So continuing to work on my communication with the team and being aggressive will help us maybe get some more wins next season and help us challenge for the championship. I’d also like to have a very consistent season and maybe we’ll try to have some fun in a couple of the Open Modified races at Stafford.”
For more information, visit www.staffordspeedway.com, checkout Stafford Speedway on Facebook or Twitter, or contact the track office at 860-684-2783.