Barnes hoping to hold off favourite in US
Scott Barnes expects to face a battle to protect his points lead at the top of the Shifter Master class as he heads into the final weekend of the Skusa Superkarts USA Pro Tour.
Barnes made an eye-catching start to the series, finishing second, first and second in the finals races, where points count for double, and first, second and fourth in the heats last weekend.
The series, which features the best karters in the United States, has been consolidated into back-to-back weekends as opposed to three because of Covid-19. All races are being held at New Castle Motorsports in Indiana.
Although Barnes was disappointed his class attracted only four karts, he said he was encouraged to have finished in the top 15 on several occasions out a field of more than 30 drivers.
“The goal was to finish in the top two overall [in the masters class]; that's still the goal,” Barnes said. “I was a little disappointed about the numbers in my class. There were 13 drivers when we went to Nola [Motorsports Park in Avondale, Louisiana] in March [when the series was suspended because of Covid-19].
“When we got here there were just four or us; I'm not sure if that's Covid-19 related. It was good that they put all of the Shifter classes together — pro 1, pro 2, masters and super masters — so you had a field of 31 drivers racing at the same time.”
Barnes, the new Bermuda Karting Club president, suffered misfortune in his heat race on Sunday when he was forced to retire because of a mechanical issue. However, his hopes of winning the series received a boost when Joe Ruch, the home-town favourite, was disqualified in a finals race.
“Joe Ruch is a guy I have raced against a bunch of times in Las Vegas and at Rock Island [in Illinois],” Barnes, 35, added.
“Indiana is his home track — he lives about 30 miles away — so unfortunately for me he knows this track like the back of his hand!
“Drivers are unable to drop a DQ if it's a finals race, so Joe will have to carry that over, which helps me a little bit.”
With rain forecast this weekend, Barnes may have to contend with unfamiliar conditions as he bids for victory in his maiden US championship series.
“Rain would certainly throw a wrench in the works,” he added. “I have some rain experience, I'm OK in it, but I feel like I drive better in the dry.
“Guys here are more experienced racing in the rain, especially on a track like this that has a lot of grip and rubber.
“It's totally different from racing in the rain back home. Whatever conditions they throw at us, we will do our best and see what happens.”