Catching Up With: Barry Robertson, 3-Time Red River Valley Speedway Champ
The Robertson racing name is well known in eastern North Dakota racing. First there was Sam who started it all. His sons Kevin and Barry got into racing in the 1980s. Now, Kevin and his son Erik, run late models while Barry’s son Travis, drives an IMCA Stock Car.
Barry’s career began in the late 1980s and ended in the early 2000s — and while his career wasn’t as long as some, it was plenty successful, especially in the Wissota Super Stock class. The #10 car could be found towards the front frequently at Red River Valley Speedway in West Fargo and other tracks locally.
Barry drove his brother Kevin’s car one year at the Jamestown Stampede in the 1980s, and that was the start of his racing career.
“I raced his car at the stampede one year, and then I started racing the next year,” Barry said.
He started out in the hobby stocks, and in 1989, picked up his first feature win against two top runners — Leo Burkhardsmier and Bob Sagen.
In the 1990s, the Wissota Super Stocks were added to the weekly show at Red River Valley Speedway, and Robertson found a home in that division. He liked the affordability of the class and allowed him to race at his local track.
“That’s the class that West Fargo had. You want to race close to home and support your home track,” Barry said.
Robertson’s #10 super stock was plenty fast. In 1996, Barry was sixth in the Wissota national points which was his highest finish. Robertson won 31 features and three track championships at Red River Valley Speedway in West Fargo. He also won point titles at Jamestown and Sheyenne River Speedway.
He also got a chance to race against his brother Kevin in the super stocks.
“It’s always fun. You had dad there and your brother there, both pit crews — it became a big family affair,” Barry said.
He won some bigger races locally — the Budweiser Nationals at Red River Valley and the Memorial Day Show at Lisbon among them. But it was some wins during the World of Outlaw Sprint shows when the supers were a support class that stand out.
“The grandstands were packed; there were no seats to be had,” Barry said. “I won a few races against John Seitz during the outlaws shows. It’s fun to win in front of a big crowd.”
Barry raced until the early 2000s when he elected to devote time to his family.
“I had three young boys at the time that were starting to get active in school events — baseball, football, basketball,” Barry said. “It just took too much time for me to concentrate on racing.”
Years later, however, his son Travis got the urge to start racing. The Robertsons bought a street stock from central Minnesota driver Tiffany Maus, and the Jamestown Stampede was the first night behind the wheel for Travis. Barry still serves as Travis’s crew chief and maintains the car weekly in Grand Forks.
“I enjoy helping him out now,” Barry said.
Travis raced in the Wissota Street Stock for three years and won 47 features. He was in a late model for a short time and now has settled in as a top competitor in the IMCA Stock Car class at Red River Valley and Norman County Raceway. Barry isn’t driving himself anymore but enjoys being part of the racing scene.
“It’s just a thrill. It gets your heart pumping,” Barry said. “It’s fun being at the race track. We consider ourselves one big family out there.”