Augusta’s NASCAR Team

 Barry Dodson Returns to NASCAR

Barry Dodson has been absent from the NASCAR spotlight for many years but, on Thursday he announced his plan to return with a new team and a new mission.

Dodson has been a winner at all levels of NASCAR competition. He holds the 1989 Cup Series Crew Chief Championship title and has played a vital role in developing many of today's stars. However, after tragedy struck his family in 1994, Dodson realized that winning at NASCAR's premier level didn't seem as important in his life as it once had. Slowly he disappeared from the NASCAR weekly scene and set a course to get his life straightened out and back on track. Sure, he maintained his connections in the NASCAR community and had many offers to return, but declined to make a comeback until now.

Dodson has decided to join forces with Free Pennington and his Free American Racing team out of Augusta, Georgia. "For us to come together in this way is a dream come true for me," commented Pennington. "Barry is one of my heroes and to think that I could drive for him is such a blessing to me."

Dodson and Pennington have developed a relationship over the last few years through Pennington's outreach ministry called "Driven Ministries". "My wife asks me all the time why I'm not racing," continued Dodson. "My life changed in 1994 and I realized that I was racing in the wrong arena and it was not for me anymore. This is the right arena for Barry Dodson. The tragedies that I have gone through changed me but I missed my ministry through Motor Racing Outreach and the competition of the sport. Free American Racing and Driven Ministries gives me a change to get that back and return to racing again."

Dodson sees Pennington as a raw talent that under the right leadership can be a NASCAR winning driver. "I've known him without really knowing him," said Dodson. "I've known his name for many years and only heard good things about his talent behind the wheel. There are many drivers out there that can drive but, not all of them know how to race. Now drivers, don't take that the wrong way but, Free Pennington knows how to race. He took an outdated car at Rockingham several years ago and raced it to the front when he shouldn't have been able to do it. He drove it a little too hard to close the deal but, maybe that is where I can help him."

So, what are the plans for this new team going forward? Pennington says, "Barry Dodson is the leader of this team and is controlling where we go from here. We plan to run 2 to 3 Truck Races and 2 to 3 Nationwide Races in 2012. We're looking for some additional sponsorship now to determine where we go after that. Barry's put the deal together and our mission is to take Driven Ministries and plant some seeds at these race tracks."

You can see the gleam in Dodson's eye as he talks about his new adventure and his new driver. Many teams judge success by counting how many marks they can put in the win column at the race track. It is obvious that Dodson and Pennington want to win races but, they will judge success just as much by what they win off the track as they do on the track.