March 2, 1971 |
Robert "Bootie" Barker III (born March 2, 1971) is a crew chief in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series stock car racing series. Barker is the crew chief for the No. 13 Germain Racing Chevrolet SS driven by Ty Dillon. In the past, Barker has worked for Ashton Lewis, Bill Davis Racing, Jasper Motorsports, and Hendrick Motorsports. Barker was also a television co-host on NASCAR Performance a weekly program on the now-defunct Speed Channel.
Robert “Bootie” Barker grew up just next door to the famous South Boston Speedway, yet instead of dreaming about racing like so many youth in the area, he was a fan of "stick and ball" sports. He played football as a linebacker and loved the thrill of competition. He was paralyzed from the waist down after suffering injuries in a car accident while a senior in high school (South Boston, Virginia). Barker went off to college to study engineering and his focus was quickly redirected to the very technical and competitive field of motorsports. Barker graduated with a degree in mechanical engineering from Old Dominion University, in Norfolk, Virginia, in 1994.
As a junior studying Mechanical Engineering at Old Dominion University, Barker heard Benny Parsons on the radio talking about engineers that build shocks for race cars, and it clicked. Barker realized that racing would be the perfect industry for putting his engineering degree to use while still maintaining a high level of competition. Shortly after hearing that radio show, Barker became immersed in the infield at South Boston Speedway.
His first racing job was selling tires at South Boston and working for driver Ashton Lewis on his late model team. From these humble beginnings, Barker has become not just a crew chief in NASCAR’s highest level, but a voice for NASCAR, for crew chiefs and for the GEICO entry. Barker has written a variety of magazine columns over the years and has been a regular guest on NASCAR RaceHub on FoxSports 1.He began his motorsports career working in the Late Model Sportsman Series for Ashton Lewis while still in college. Barker has since overcome his injuries to be a respected crew chief and one of NASCAR's most brilliant minds.
For most of 2006, Barker was the crew chief for the No. 66 Haas CNC Racing Chevrolet driven by Jeff Green. His visibility to NASCAR fans increased in 2006. Barker wrote a weekly column for NASCAR.com titled "Urban Legends," in which he addressed myths and questions about various aspects of racing. Barker was also a frequent guest on NASCAR RaceDay, a preview show for weekly NASCAR events on the now defunct Speed Channel.
In August 2007, Johnny Sauter, Barker and the #70 team were featured as part of ABC's NASCAR in Primetime, a television show that gives a behind-the-scenes look at the preparation, logistics, drama and competition of NASCAR.
On October 1, 2008, Michael Waltrip Racing (MWR) announced that Barker would be the crew chief of the #55 Toyota driven by two-time Daytona 500 champion Michael Waltrip for the 2009 Sprint Cup Series season.
Barker is now the crew chief of the #13 Chevrolet for Germain Racing.