Bruce Barnett and Shane Roberts explain what led up to the dramatic scenes during hot laps
A.J. Tollison and Bruce Barnett were escorted from the speedway by the Laurens County Sheriff – The video below shows what happened during hot laps at Laurens County Speedway on August 11, 2018
This started two weeks ago at the 3/8-mile dirt track in Laurens, South Carolina…
Bruce Barnett, driver of the X enduro car got into the #42 in the left rear. Clay Crowder was driving the car that night. Call it a racing deal, Barnett admits fault in that incident.
“I made contact with his left rear wheel and spun both of us out he tried to hit me head on,” Barnett explained to RacingNews.co . “I let that go.”
“A few laps later the #42 car was passing the #3 car coming off turn four. The #42 got in to the wall and came down across the nose of the #3 car, cutting his tire down. The #42 car made a tire change and came out and ran over the #3 car”
After that race, Bruce Barnett and Eric Caughorn [#3] were talking in the pit area. Barnett is the driver of the X and the builder of the #3. According to Barnett, Tinker Roberts [father of Shane Roberts] pulled by in the passenger side of a truck and warned that they were coming the next week to total all of Barnett’s cars.
On his way out of the race track, Barnett stopped by the #42 pit area to confirm. That’s when Barnett was told by the #42 crew, “Put your big girl panties on. We’re f***ing you up next weekend.”
Barnett was threatened again in the week leading up to the incident on Saturday night. Barnett was told the #42 crew was, ‘bringing two new cars to destroy y’all from the mouth.’
Barrnett provided proof of that mid-week threat via a screenshot of a Facebook conversation with the former #42 car owner Rickey Phillips. That threat on Barnett and his cars was now made for the third time.
“So I bought my big girl panties,” Barnett explained of the unique car he brought to Laurens County Speedway.
Bruce Barnett showed up to Laurens County Speedway with a full line of defense. The enduro racer usually drives the X machine at the track. This time, he made an appearance in what appeared to be, give or take, a demo derby car. The #36 car titled ‘The Flash’ is pictured above.
A.J. Tollison was placed in the X car that Barnett usually drives. Tollison has raced thunder bombers and is the cousin to Barnett. Meanwhile, the two new cars that Barnett was threatened with by the #42 crew leading up to the hot lap incident never made an appearance.
“I havent been to a race in 3 weeks till last week and the word was sent to me, ‘If Shane dont wanna get hurt stay out of the #42 car.’ But thats the car I drive weekly,” Shane Roberts told RacingNews.co . “I got in the car and went to race told them to race me clean or we would have problems he insisted on bringing that flash piece of shit out.”
‘The Flash’ that Barnett appeared with came off as fishy to the track promoter. Danny Hurley of LCS stated his concerns in the drivers meeting and issued a warning to Barnett.
“It was brought to my attention before the drivers meeting that the X [A.J. Tollison] and #36 [Bruce Barnett] was coming to take out the #42 [Shane Roberts],” Lauren’s County Speedway promoter Danny Hurley explained via Facebook.
“We told the #36 at the drivers meeting that the car was not allowed to run and he brought it out anyway just to wreck him. And choose to take action after I told him to take it to the pits,” the LCS statement concluded.
August 11, 2018
This is only practice…
As hot laps got underway, the unscheduled demo derby began. From the evidence of several videos that surfaced, the #42 [Shane Roberts] ran into the left side door of the X machine driven by Barnett’s cousin AJ.
“After him and AJ in the X car continuously tried to get me to go around them so they could wreck me and I didn’t. He put it in reverse on the back stretch and tried to hit my car, he missed,” Shane Roberts explained.
“So what was I gonna do hit the demo car he had built? No, that is stupid I hit the car he races. But, not until being messed with after 3 laps and continuously being provoked. Im not a bad person and have ran them clean all year but that wasnt called for.”
It was on from there. AJ Tollison immediately turned his wheel to the left and made contact in return as the scrapped along the inside retaining wall. The two driver separated briefly then came back together like magnets.
The demo derby was in full effect. Cars chased each other all over the front straightaway as the grandstands erupted.
During the course of the demo derby, the point leader of Eric Caughorn [#3] was hit by Shane Roberts. Remember, Bruce Barnett also built the #3 car. Caughorn retaliated by running into Roberts as well.
People from the infield began running onto the race track from the pit area as the demo derby heated up. Just as that happened, Shane Roberts was spun around near turn 4 by Caughorn. Roberts rotated his wheels rapidly in the dirt but he struggled to get going on the wet slick track.
As he did that, the X machine driven by AJ Tollison was already on the gas and using the length of the front stretch to get a run at Roberts. Boom! He ran into him, nose first and a plume of smoke appeared from the engine compartment.
Just as this happened, Bruce Barnett pulled onto the racetrack with ‘The Flash’. However, the track was blocked and the target [#42] was pinned behind one of Barnett’s own cars [X]. In addition, ‘The Flash’ wouldn’t turn on the wet surface. Officials and security reached in to kill the ignition of the demo car. Plug wires were pulled and the engine died.
Security put a stop to the whole thing before it got any worse. They pulled the drivers from the cockpits. A.J. Tollison and Bruce Barnett were escorted from the speedway in handcuffs.
“[The] #42 done what most would have done when backed in a corner and felt threatened,” track promoter Hurley stated of Roberts.
I understand how the #42 crew threatened you first and even appears to be the one that made the initial contact in hot laps. So, you came prepared the following week. But, do you regret any of it? Or do you wish things turned out differently.
“Yes, I didn’t get to drive my car up his ass,” Barnett stated.
“I was done with the track 8 weeks ago when they changed the rules. l came back last weekend to do a lap for my wife’s grandmother who had passed away Friday and was not planning on coming back until the bs started.”
“Everyone one was at fault. On both sides,” Barnett concluded.
Shane Roberts has a similar response…
“No, I dont regret it on my end. The only thing I regret is the other people that have those cars dont get to race anymore,” Shane Roberts explained.
“He threatened me by saying if I didnt wanna get seriously hurt dont get in the car and thats not called for. Hell, I wasnt even there the week before. I told him in drivers meeting stay away from me. They didn’t, they kept on trying to get me to pass them by waving me around.”
“So no, I dont regret what I did. I was provoked over and over again. I did what anyone would have done, I stayed behind them the whole time so I could see them. As the guy on race monitor told him to exit the track, he didn’t. He waited and tried to hit me. If you look in video on back stretch you can see is flash car facing the wrong way.”
Entire enduro class removed
Laurens County Speedway wants nothing to do what any of this. Their solution has been announced. Bruce Barnett has been banned from the race track. In addition, the entire enduro class has been removed for the lineup.
“Due to the unfortunate events that happened last night, the Enduro class will NOT be running this Saturday! Drivers that initially started the confrontation are banned from competing at the speedway for future events and the future of this class will be discussed,” Laurens County Speedway announced.
“We apologize to our fans, families and drivers and we will do our very best to keep the speedway a safe and family oriented place for you to spend your Saturday nights. Thank you for your continued support,” the announcement concluded.
“Barnett, he’s here on a weekly basis, and he will lose all his points and he will not be racing the rest of the year for that,” Hurley stated to the Laurens County Advertiser. “The other driver (Tollison) is running Barnett’s car and I hadn’t decided on him yet because it’s his first time driving, but I think he won’t be driving either.”
Barnett isn’t sure why he was the only driver banned from the speedway. However, he has attempted connect a few dots.
“The reason I quit 8 weeks ago, the tech man and Shane’s father are best friends,” Barnett explained. “The tech man went on a witch hunt every week on my car because they cannot out run it. It is what it is.”
Shane Roberts see’s it another way.
“And as far as his car being picked on weekly… He has won five races. Three of which, my car wasn’t there and the other two was cause I broke axles on both nights. It wasn’t cause he was fast. He was thrown out cause he was running a full blown race engine in a stock car class,” Roberts stated.
The reaction from the fans following the demo derby is somewhat mixed. Some fans want more of it. Others are race fans. One fan boldly pointed out that the speedway might loose some attendance due to their stern reaction in this situation.
“We are a business but our main concern is everyone’s safety,” Laurens County Speedway responded.
Laurens County Speedway
Hot Lap / Demo Derby
August 11, 2018
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