Barton defends Gainesville SAM Tech Factory Stock Showdown title

Engine-builder David Barton goes back-to-back at the SAM Tech NHRA Factory Stock Showdown season-opener in Gainesville.
19 Mar 2017
Kevin McKenna, NHRA National Dragster Senior Editor

David Barton is now a perfect two-for-two at Gainesville Raceway after winning his second-straight season-opener in the SAM Tech Factory Stock Showdown. Barton drove his Gary Wolkwitz-owned COPO Camaro to an 8.131 in the final round to defeat Chuck Watson, who followed with an 8.227 in his Cobra Jet Mustang. 

“I knew coming to this race is would be very tough; there are lots of hardcore racers here,” said Barton, who won three of the four Factory Stock events, held last season. “We had planned on coming here with a new car but it wasn’t done in time so we said, let’s bring out old faithful.”

Barton was the No. 1 qualifier in the quick eight-car field with a blistering 8.101. He reached the final with a pair of consistent 8.18 efforts against two-time Mello Yello series Pro Stock champion Erica Enders and Steven Bell. 

Watson, who has been at the forefront of the Ford Cobra Jet program since its inception, qualified on the bump with an 8.238 but managed to reach the final round with wins over Paul Gasko Jr. and Chris Holbrook, who broke his Cobra Jet entry in the first round and was unable to make it back for the semi’s. 

The SAM Tech Factory Stock Showdown attracted a field of 17 entries for the first events of the season. There will be four more races this year in Charlotte, Norwalk, Indianapolis, and St. Louis. For the first time, the series will also crown an overall points champion.