John Barker had a special affinity for cars. Known as a master mechanic, he lived a multifaceted automotive career as an enthusiast, racer and business owner. It was no surprise when he first joined the SCCA back in 1959, racing both production and formula cars. Barker soon established a business, Performance Racing and Development, that he successfully operated until 1987. The same year he sold that business, and became involved as the track manager of Second Creek Raceway (SCR) in Commerce City. This was a period of tremendous growth in road racing and Barker’s tenure at SCR was part of that success. As a racer, Barker had been the local distributor for Lola Cars and his top finish at the SCCA Runoffs came in a Lola Formula Continental in 1978 when he finished 7th at Road Atlanta.
John Barker (second from left) at Aspen Raceway in 1976 (photo courtesy of Sandy Barker Okoren).
Barker remained active in Colorado Region for many years and was awarded some of the highest honors the region can bestow. In 1991, the Sid Langstrom Memorial Award for longstanding contributions to Colorado racing was given, and in 1998, Barker earned the prestigious Alex Keller award for outstanding service to the region. Beyond racing, Barker continued to develop his skills and restored classics and built hotrods when he wasn’t building race cars or engines. He eventually retired, sold his holdings in Colorado and moved to Kansas in 1999.
John Barker is survived by his wife Sheila, brother Jerry, sister Jane, daughters Linda, Vicky and Sandra, and many grandchildren and great-grandchildren. For 2016, Redline hopes to gather more facts and photos about John Barker’s life and times for a future issue.