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Lyle Barnett Steps in for Russian Pro Mod Driver Dmitry Samoroukov at NHRA Route 66 Nationals

The 2023 FuelTech NHRA Pro Mod Drag Racing Series will witness an unexpected change in the upcoming Route 66 Nationals at Chicago’s Route 66 Raceway. Owing to pressing business commitments, Russian Pro Mod driver Dmitry Samoroukov will not be behind the wheel for the third stop on the tour. However, the team, managed by crew chief Adam Flamholc, has made swift arrangements by bringing on board veteran racer Lyle Barnett to pilot their supercharged first-generation Camaro.

Dmitry Samorukov, NHRA Communications Photo

Lyle Barnett, a fan-favorite driver, expressed his excitement and gratitude for this unique opportunity.

He said, “I’m pumped to have the opportunity to compete this year. With the implementation of the substitute driver rule in NHRA Pro Mod, it allows international drivers, like Dmitry, to continue to obtain points with me in the seat. A huge thank you to [crew chief] Adam Flamholc, Dmitry, and the whole team for trusting me to pilot their hot rod. It means a lot to me, and I plan to make the most of the opportunity.”

Recalling his reaction to Flamholc’s proposal, Barnett shared, “Adam called me a month or so ago about subbing for Dmitry and it took me about two seconds to say, ‘Yes, I’m in.’”

In light of this unexpected turn of events, Barnett acknowledged the honor of being considered and ultimately chosen. “Of all the possible drivers to fill the seat, just to be considered is an honor. To be chosen is icing on the cake. I know what it takes to run these cars – the time, energy, money, etc. – so it’s not lost on me what this means. I put in a lot of work to be an elite driver and be the kind of person and driver that gets called on for opportunities like this. To have it happen…it’s just bad ass.”

Barnett also took a moment to reflect on the current state of the Pro Mod class.

He said, “I think the class has tons of momentum right now. Getting time on the main NHRA television broadcast, the effort that basically everyone involved is putting into the class right now – it’s an exciting time for Pro Mod drag racing. The NHRA is paying attention to what’s going on and I think that in itself is a big step. It’s huge, actually.”

The Route 66 Nationals marks the NHRA’s first return to Chicago since 2019, a development that has been met with great enthusiasm from racers, teams, and fans. The forthcoming race, with the addition of Barnett’s participation, promises a thrilling and action-packed event for all Pro Mod enthusiasts.

This story was originally published on May 12, 2023. Drag Illustrated

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