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Busch Grand National

Making his biggest jump

Stanton Barrett is best known as a movie stuntman, but his dream is a Hollywood story in itself: a racing career.

By JOANNE KORTH, Times Staff Writer
© St. Petersburg Times
published February 14, 2003

CONCORD, N.C. -- Compared to driving through windows, off bridges and over buildings, competing in the Busch Grand National series likely will seem tame.

But Stanton Barrett is thrilled.

Barrett, who for several years made a living as a Hollywood stuntman, finally is making his other dream come true as the first-year driver of Roush Racing's No. 60 Ford.

"It means the world to me," said Barrett, 30. "I've worked at this for a long time. For 12 years I've been dedicated to two careers. I spent 100 percent of my time racing and 100 percent working stunts. It was extremely hard, and I had to make a lot of sacrifices.

"But that dedication is finally paying off in a big way. I can't ask for anything more than to be involved with a successful team like this."

The No. 60 team won the Busch Grand National series title last season with Greg Biffle, who moves to Winston Cup this year in Roush's No. 16 Ford. Roush, who prefers to groom drivers rather than pay big money to hire people away from other teams, picked Barrett.

Call it a leap.

Barrett has spent as much time crashing cars on purpose as steering them around racetracks. The son of stuntman and stock car driver Stanton Barrett Sr., Barrett got his first Hollywood job at age 15, doubling for Ricky Schroder in Terror on Highway 91. He has since performed stunts in Jurassic Park III, The Patriot, Batman and Spider-Man, often commuting from Hollywood to race sites.

"I love that industry," said Barrett, a California native. "I've been doing it 15 years and done over 100 films. I had a successful career. But my focus is racing. I'd like to do some directing, but that's something I'll have the opportunity to do maybe in a few years or in the offseason."

Barrett, whose hobbies include Motocross, snowmobiling and skiing, has broken 46 bones in various exploits. He counts among the worst of his injuries the time he broke 10 bones in his foot jumping a series of buildings in downtown Los Angeles on a motorcycle.

"I had a camera mounted on the back of the bike and the camera broke off the mount," he said. "I jumped off the third building and I was about 10 feet from the next building when I realized the camera was passing me, but still at the end of the cable. I crashed."

Barrett's racing experience includes 54 BGN starts since 1992, including 12 last year. He has one career top five and one more top 10, both in 1996.

About half of the No. 60 team went with Biffle to Winston Cup, but several key personnel remain, including Kevin Starland, who moves from car chief to crew chief. With the best ride of his career, Barrett believes his years of stunt work will serve him well as he tries to reach victory lane for the first time.

It's all about teamwork.

"In Hollywood, we deal with a lot of different personalities -- actors, directors, personal assistants, make up, hair, wardrobe," he said. "There's a lot of rigging involved, so you have a crew that works on that. Stunt work gets you in the mind-set of troubleshooting.

"Plus, you get in situations where everybody has an opinion and you have to work it out. It definitely applies to racing. You have to figure out your path to accomplish your goal for the day."

As for what stunt Barrett will pull if he wins a race, he's still scripting that move.

"I've been thinking about that," he said. "I don't know, but I'm sure it will be something unique."

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