Late Model Stock Cars
In The Zone: Florence IceBreaker 125
Feb 10, 2023
Maryland native Doug Barnes Jr. looked right at home in Timmonsville, South Carolina during Saturday’s eighth annual Icebreaker 125 at Florence Motor Speedway. Starting from the pole, Barnes’ No. 88 dominated the event, scoring the victory to kick off the Super Late Model season.
While Barnes led the majority of the event, Matt Cox was able to use a lapped car as a pick to take the top spot with 39 laps to go. That did not last long, as Barnes stayed on the back bumper of Cox’s No. 51 and retook the lead with 24 laps to go.
Cox fell to third when Barnes took the lead with 24 laps to go, as Connor Hall slipped under the No. 51 for the second spot. As Barnes drove away with the lead, a series of cautions stacked up the field for late-race restarts.
Despite the pressure on the restarts, Barnes never looked back as he drove away from the field to score the win.
Barnes credited his victory to a well-handling car that had a lot of grip and was overall easy to drive.
“It just seemed like no matter what pace I was challenged to run I was able to run it. It never really felt like I was pushing the car,” he said. “The 51 (Cox) made some runs at us, and I knew I wanted to hold onto the track position, and then he kind of picked me with a lapped car. I knew at that point I would really see what I had, because it was the first time I was going to run at not my pace. I picked it back up and got by him. Of course it could never be easy enough to just run that out, we had to have a caution. I was pretty sure we were going to have one at the end.
I don’t want to say it was easy, it’s never easy, but we executed and put ourselves in a position to make things happen. We got to set the pace.
Hall would finish the day second, followed by Kaden Honeycutt, Mason Diaz and Cox.
Coming home in the runner-up spot, Hall felt he could have pressured Barnes for the win but instead wanted to show some respect to his fellow competitor who had a better-handling car.
“Right when I kind of hit the ‘time to go’ button, I just kind of noticed that Doug was turning a little better than I was. I’ve seen that same song before and I knew what it was looking like,” said Hall. “I thought I could have maybe given him a shot but after the Fall Brawl and some other stuff, he and I had a couple of run-ins. I thought it would be good to kind of wipe the slate clean for 2023 and build some respect back. Even though they were all accidents, I still don’t ever like being part of that stuff.”
Hall's second-place finish was thrown out by race officials after it was discovered his car was light on the scales during post-race inspection, according to Matt Weaver.
NASCAR Hall of Fame member and JR Motorsports team owner Dale Earnhardt Jr. also competed in Saturday’s Super Late Model event, but the veteran was not pleased with the team’s overall performance. Both his No. 3 Mom & Pop’s Chevrolet and teammate Carson Kvapil’s No. 8 Bass Pro Shops Chevrolet struggled throughout the day, finishing 17th and 19th, respectively.
Earnhardt Jr. started 15th and worked his way to 11th at one point, but struggled in the second half of the race as the tires wore out. He was also caught up in a late-race incident when Kade Brown and Jeb Burton got together entering Turn 3, causing Brandon Pierce to check up. Earnhardt Jr. had nowhere to go and got into the back of Pierce, damaging both cars and bringing out the caution.
“Man, it was a handful,” said Earnhardt Jr. “I thought we were safe just riding around with everybody, and when it came time to go we just didn’t have anything left. Burnt the rear tires up on corner exit and just couldn’t go anywhere, couldn’t make any time. Both our cars struggled for whatever reason. We’ll try to figure it out and come back and have more fun next time.
“I had fun driving the car, but definitely want to run better than that,” he said.
Brandan Queen, Ryan Mllington, Jacob Heafner, Jeb Burton and Zack Miracle rounded out the top 10.
Image courtesy Doug Barnes Jr.