When we caught wind that David Barton won the Factory Stock Showdowns at the 2017 NHRA Gatornationals in Gainesville, Florida, we weren’t surprised. After all, this is a man who’s built a reputation of being one of the fastest people in a COPO Camaro. In fact, last year, he recorded a run of 8.256 @ 168.58 MPH landing him in NHRA’s record book as the Quickest Stock Eliminator Elapsed Time in history.
With a track record like that, it’s easy to understand why we weren’t surprised that he won. We were able to get on the phone with him to ask a few questions and congratulate him on the win. As it turned out, what we learned was quite surprising.
David Barton entered the 2017 season with a new sponsor logo on the side of his 2015 COPO, GM Parts Now, which made for a nice addition to the side of his recognizable black, white and red livery. However, he almost brought another car to the race track that day, a Gen 6 COPO. But, after the timing didn’t work out to acquire the car and prep it in time for the Gatornationals, David opted to bring his 2015 COPO, owned by Gary Wolkwitz.
That’s not a scary idea for those of us who know about the success he saw with the car last year, but the problem was the fact that David and his team expected to race a Gen 6, so they did little to no maintenance or tweaking on his 2015 COPO over the winter. “I think I changed the injectors, but nothing more than that,” David told us as he described how nervous he was about entering that car into the race.
“We were crossing our fingers for a 7-second run, but didn’t really know what to expect,” he said. It was also, come to find out, his first time behind a Pro Tree which added to the list of reasons he was a little nervous. But, at the end of the day, David’s experience and the legendary performance of the COPO Camaro combined to perform a run that was not only good, but capable of winning the entire weekend, and that’s just what he did. He ended up running an 8.101 @ 169.91 MPH during qualifying and an 8.131 @ 168.47 in the final!
We would like to offer a sincere congratulations to David and his team for their win and a great start to the season. Before we hopped off the phone with him, we gave him a chance to thank the folks that have helped him along the way and he gave us the following list.
Gary Wolkwitz - Team Owner. Without Gary, there's a good chance I wouldn't be in this position.
Ray Barton – My Father who started “Ray Barton Racing Engines” over 40 years ago and works hard every day to keep searching for more power
Samantha – My Wife, the glue in our operation
Todd Hoven – My crew guy that keeps everything running smooth so I can focus on tuning and driving
VP Racing Fuels
Mickey Thompson Tires
SAM Tech (For having the race)
American Racing Headers
Joel's On Joy Transmissions
Stay tuned to The BLOCK for more about David’s 2017 season and more drag racing coverage along with news, coverage and happenings in the world of Chevrolet Performance. Also, be sure to follow @theblockdotcom(link is external) on Instagram to keep up with what we’re doing on a daily basis.
Thanks to David Hakim for the images of David Barton and his COPO.