Parker Barnes didn't need much motivation coming into his race Thursday at Atlanta Motor Speedway.
A week after experiencing his first loss of the season in the Thursday Thunder racing series, coupled with a poor showing a few days ago in Charlotte, was motivation enough.
Barnes was able to pull into victory lane after taking the checkered flag in the Outlaws division for his seventh win of the season. Once the Roswell native passed Taylor Jorgensen on Lap 7, he was never challenged again for the rest of the race.
Because he is the points leader in the division, Barnes had to start in the eighth position.
"Yes, it is hard to come back each week from the bottom of the pole," Barnes said. "I wouldn't say I'm getting used to it, because you never do. I've been through it almost the entire season."
Barnes called this a big "mental victory" after getting a little frustrated with last week's loss to Madeline Crane.
That loss carried over to his race earlier this week in Charlotte where he finished seventh.
"Last week, the loss sort of got into my head," Barnes said. "I let it affect me some."
It was clear that both car and driver were prepared for Thursday's race.
"We made a few changes with the car," said Cody Haskins, Barnes' first-year crew chief. "He is progressing a lot throughout this season."
Barnes will be looking for some redemption next week when he heads back to Charlotte for a double-feature race Tuesday. He is the current national points leader.
He came into Thursday's race leading the Atlanta weekly series 53 points in seven starts. With two more weeks left in the season, Barnes and Haskins are looking for a strong finish.
"If he keeps doing the things that he has been doing all season, we will be in good shape," said Haskins, a former national racing champion.
"I told myself that I was going to make some changes, and grow up some," Barnes said. "People have been telling me that this is my track, and I had to prove it."
If he can hold it together for the next two weeks, Barnes will capture his first Thursday Thunder racing title. In his first season last year, Barnes finished third in the Outlaws division, including his only win in week eight of the season.
"I'm thinking a lot clearer now," Barnes said. "I'm looking forward to the next two weeks."