Drag Illustrated Issue 110, June 2016 | Page 42

Dirt Sportsman Spouses Jeffrey & Lindsey Barker keep things interesting By Ainsley Jacobs 42 | D r a g I l l u s t r a t e d | DragIllustrated.com 2015, the Atlanta national NHRA event three times, and the NHRA Cajun SPORTSnationals in 2009.” In 2015, however, Jeffrey won his most prestigious title when he claimed the inaugural 2015 NHRA Top Sportsman national championship. He accomplished the feat by scoring wins at four events along with three runner-up finishes. It’s hard to top a national championship, but Jeffrey’s most memorable win was actually at a divisional race in Gainesville, Florida, in the late 2000s. “It was the first time me and my dad [Jerry Barker] raced each other in the finals,” he reminisces – a matchup Jeffrey wound up winning. “We wound up racing a few times over the years, but he never beat me. I’m not saying he couldn’t beat me, he just didn’t. We both always went all out for it, and it was a lot of fun.” The husband and wife Barker duo’s legacy is comprised of more than just Jeffrey’s successes, however. Lindsay, too, has quite an impressive résumé, including multiple wins. “I won a lot of divisional races when I was younger, and won the NHRA Gatornationals when I was 17 or 18,” she says. “When you’re young and it happens so quick, you think it’s easy peasy. Then you realize it’s not.” She did a quick stint racing alcohol dragsters around 2007, and won the NHRA Southern Nationals for Top Dragster in 2015. “It was so exciting when I won last year,” exclaims Lindsey. “Jeffrey was in the finals at that race, too, but he lost. Then we went to Bowling Green, Kentucky, for the divisional race at Beech Bend Raceway Issue 110 PHOTOS: NHRA / NATIONAL DRAGSTER, PRO SPORTSMAN ASSOCIATION T he couple that races together stays together. Sometimes sharing a passion with a spouse can cause conflict, especially when both are highly competitive and seeking success. For Jeffrey and Lindsey Barker, however, their mutual love of drag racing not only keeps them close, it’s what brought them together in the first place. Back in the early 2000s, the two crossed paths at Silver Dollar Raceway in Reynolds, Georgia. “I had a friend there who knew Lindsey, and we wound up meeting. Over the next year or so, I’d go to divisional races and I’d go snoopin’ around her pit area,” admits Jeffrey, who was immediately smitten with Lindsey. “I didn’t want anything to do with him at first, but he wouldn’t stop calling and we finally went out on some dates,” she adds, glad that she eventually gave in to Jeffrey’s persistence. With two distinctly different personalities – she’s quiet while he’s outgoing – the two complimented each other perfectly, and in 2010, they said their vows and committed their lives to one another. Jeffrey came from a drag racing family, as his parents once owned the now-defunct WarnerRobins Dragway in Georgia. He started with junior dragsters when he was just nine years old, but once his family’s track closed, he took a hiatus until high school. At that point, Jeffrey picked up where he left off. “I did some street car stuff and some grudge racing, and when I turned 16, I got my license in Super Gas and was doing bracket racing as well,” he recalls. Meanwhile, Lindsay also had family ties to racing as her father had been involved for years and piqued her interest as a child. She started racing when she was ten, also in junior dragsters, and began bracket racing and Super Gas racing when she was about seventeen. Based on their pasts, it’s no surprise the two wound up together. Jeffrey ran his first NHRA divisional race in his late teens in Gainesville, Florida, and made it all the way to the Super Gas semifinals. In 2003, after picking up a win in Super Gas at a national event, he moved to Top Sportsman and immediately found success with a win during the Citrus Nationals at Palm Beach International Raceway in Florida. Jeffrey was named Rookie of the Year that season for the NHRA Southeast division. Over the years, Jeffrey racked up an incredible number of championships, including seven total NHRA Division II Top Sportsman titles in 2007, 2008, 2009, 2011, 2013, 2014, and 2015. Although he’s not quick to boast, Jeffrey readily admits, “I’ve won roughly seventeen Top Sportsman divisional races, one in Super Comp and one in Super Gas. I won the JEGS All-Stars race in