Barry Paton has been involved with race cars since the mid-1950s. As a teenager, he took a turn at stock car racing but soon found out that “turning left” was not for him. In 1964, he began running a ’58 Plymouth Fury at the drags, honing his driving skills. In 1969, Barry ordered a new 1969 Chevrolet Nova with a powerful 396 big block. With his wife Lynne’s encouragement, Barry began racing the Nova, which he quickly named “One More Time.” “One More Time” quickly became one of the most-feared Super Stockers of its time. Running in SS/IA trim, the Nova obliterated the NHRA record of 11.08 with an unreal 10.83 and won hundreds of trophies. In 1978, Barry felt the urge to go a little quicker. After a brief search, he found the old “Fighting Irish” Nitro Funny Car which fit perfectly into B Econo Altered in NHRA’s Competition Eliminator, with a de-stroked 383 cu. in. Chevy for power. This allowed him to move into the 8-second range at over 150 mph. It also seemed to whet his appetite for funny cars. In 1986, Barry took delivery of Paul Smith’s “Entertainer” nitro funny car and outfitted it with all the running gear from the Vega. At a Division 2 Points Meet in Warner Robins, Georgia, his fourth event behind the wheel of his new Camaro, Barry eliminated Bogie Kell, Terry Mullins and then-Division 2 champion Steve Group to claim his first title in Alcohol Funny Car. In 1989, Barry became the first Canadian to qualify #1 at the Molson GrandNational in Montreal, Quebec, where his 6.06 paced the 16-car field. During the winter of 1990, Barry put Todd, the older of his two sons, behind the wheel of the family funny car. Barry tuned Todd to a run of 6.01 seconds at his very first national event, the 1991 Gatornationals. They went on to win the Can-Am Nationals that year in St. Thomas, Ontario. The following year Barry, along with Todd’s younger brother Tony, tuned him to a runner-up finish at the IHRA Winternationals. In June of that year, just three months later, the Paton family earned their first national event win when Todd defeated Scott Weis in the snow-delayed(!) IHRA Summer Nationals. In 1993 the team won the IHRA World Championship despite missing the season-opening Winter Nationals. In 1995, the team again used record-setting performances to return to their winning ways, and became the only Canadian team to capture two IHRA World Championships. In 1996, Barry and his family shifted their focus to the NHRA. Using a new combination designed around a screw-type supercharger, the team became the first alcohol funny car to break into the 5.70’s at Indy, and used a string of consistent 5.8-second elapsed times to eliminate the likes of former world champions Pat Austin, Randy Anderson and Tony Bartone to win the biggest drag race of them all: the U.S. Nationals. 1999 was the team’s best season in the NHRA’s Alcohol Funny Car division. The team won the Mac Tools Gatornationals. They quickly followed that victory with another win at the Lone Star Nationals in Dallas, Texas and a divisional victory in Reynolds, Georgia, earning them a top 5 finish in the NHRA’s season-long points chase. Barry has since kept himself busy guiding the career of son Todd in a nitro funny car. But just before the season-ending NHRA World Finals last year, Barry climbed back in the cockpit of a funny car for the first time in 12 years and the first time ever in a nitro funny car during a test session at the Strip in Las Vegas. He made two perfect 300-foot checkout passes, leaving his future plans wide open. Maybe he’s ready to go quicker “One More Time”.
Image via Lynn W “Mort” Morton on Drag Racers Reunion