POOLER — Imagine being a race car driver and seeing your competitors whiz around you on the track and rolling into victory lane with a car that you built. Meanwhile, you car keeps overheating and you can’t fathom why.
That was a weekly occurrence every Friday night for Guyton’s Daylon Barnard until last Friday.
Barnard and his crew bought a new radiator for the second time and he cruised to victory in his 1991 Ford Mustang at Oglethorpe Speedway Park in the mini stocks 10 mile race for the first time this season.
Fellow Guyton resident Bobby Morris, who also drives a Mustang worked on by Barnard, finished a few car lengths behind in second.
“Well, I’m racing against a lot of friends and I build their cars,” Barnard said. “We’ve been fighting a heating problem all season and we come to find out the radiator was bad from the get go. We bought a new one and had a wonderful time.”
Barnard said he works on eight cars that regularly race at OSP. That’s just in his spare time. His full-time job has him working on - you guessed it - cars for the City of Savannah as a master mechanic.
While the City of Savannah does not drive race cars, Barnard said in the long run it’s all the same type of work.
Barnard said he works from 7 a.m to 4 p.m. Monday to Friday with the city, then works in his shop with his crew and car owner Shelton Spence until about 10 or 11 p.m. most nights and weekends.
When asked why he puts in so much time and work to zip around the clay half-mile track at OSP to the roar of the crowds on Friday night, Spence interjected and said: “It’s written on the side of the car, ‘howdy folks, enjoy, have fun’, that’s what it’s all about.”
Barnes said they have a good time racing and working on the cars, but usually lose track of time.
“While, we’re working on the cars at home, four or five of us are around cracking jokes and cutting the fool,” Barnes said. “Next thing you know, you look at the clock and Oh Lord! Got to go in, it’s 12 o’clock and we got to get up and go to work in the morning.”
But for Barnes, he doesn’t mind not getting eight hours of sleep at night, as long as he’s spending time with his friends at OSP on Friday nights.
The top three finishers Friday in the OSP 440’s 10 mile race:
1. James Jones, Ridgeland, S.C., 1988 Honda Prelude.
2. Danny Harrington, Guyton, 2004 Chevrolet Cavalier.
3. Dan Simmons, Savannah, 2002 Nissan Sentra.
Top three finishers in the pure stock features 7-1/2 mile race:
1. Don Douglas, Richmond Hill, Chevrolet.
2. John Loomis, Savannah, 1984 Chevrolet Monte Carlo.
3. Timmy Dasher Jr., Hardeeville, S.C., 1975 Chevrolet Nova.
Top three finishers in the mini stocks 10 mile race:
1. Daylon Barnard, Guyton, 1991 Ford Mustang.
2. Bobby Morris, Guyton, Ford Mustang.
3. Josh Carter, Hardeeville, S.C., Ford Mustang.
Top three finishers in the street stocks 15 mile race:
1. Brian Barnes, Bloomingdale, 1978 Chevrolet Camaro.
2. Chris Litchfield, Guyton, 2006 Chevrolet Monte Carlo.
3. Jay Hendrix, Rincon.