Lyle Barnett was involved in one of the most violent fires to ever occur in a door car during the 2015 edition of No Mercy at South Georgia Motorsports Park. After numerous surgeries, months of physical therapy and getting back to the sport he loves as a spectator, Barnett made some test laps in a few cars to end the 2016 season and prepare for a return to racing.
A few weeks into the off-season, a classic first-generation Chevrolet Camaro popped up on social media for sale, located in North Carolina, fairly close to their home. After striking a deal with the owner, Lyle and his father, Mark, got on the road to pick up their new rolling chassis. The classic Chevrolet looks to mean business with it’s gold paint scheme and real vinyl top, keeping with the times and the look that made the Camaro brand so famous.
The plan for the well-liked and upbeat young gun racer is simple: complete a full-blown race car and come into one of radial racing’s hottest classes and run up front. Simple, right?
Barnett is relying upon a huge supporting cast, including RJS Racing Equipment and Simpson Racing Products, who have partnered with the team to showcase their safety equipment and keep the North Carolina runner safe in his new machine.
Next up on the list was horsepower. Pete Harrell from Harrell Engine & Dyno was ready for the call and had a plan already in place. Barnett mentioned, “the most renowned high performance race engine is the HEMI — they don’t put them in NHRA Top Fuel dragsters for nothing. Why mess with what’s proven?”
The Corvette that the team campaigned during their time in Radial vs. The World before the fire also boasted a HEMI punch under the hood, so the team certainly has a history with the powerplant.
“Dad and I have decided to go back to our ProCharger roots where we were very successful during the X275 days with an F1-X platform. We hope to rekindle that magic with the huge F3 out front of the HEMI.” Barnett also mentioned that the new Camaro would be equipped with the Quick Drive/Liberty transmission setup, featuring unlimited gear ratio setups to completely fine tune this monster.
With the help of Eric Yost from Customs By Bigun doing all of the fabrication work and a huge Harrell Engine & Dyno powerplant between the framerails, Mark and Lyle Barnett are bringing a purpose-built hot rod into the Limited Drag Radial category and they mean business. The team is expected to be out in force a few months, so look for them to make a strong statement once the combination is lined out with a very tough young gun behind the wheel once again!