PORT ELGIN, ON – Fan favourite Jason Parker capped off an impressive 2017 Ltd. Late Model season on Saturday night, holding off fellow division stalwart Josh Stade to clinch his fifth career Sauble Speedway championship.
“We’ve had to really grind this one out,” says Parker on his team’s fifth Sauble Speedway championship. “These other teams kept us honest all season long. Guys like Marvin [Freiburger] and [Josh] Stade were fast all season. They kept us guessing and kept us working.”
“Anytime you have a points race come down to the final night, you’re reminded of how tough of a season it was,” adds ‘The New Age Punisher’. “As strong as this roster is, I don’t think there’s much chance of one guy running away with a championship. You’re always going to have someone right behind you, chasing you until the last lap.”
The pair had battled all season long and entered September 2nd’s season finale with 5-points separating point leader Parker from Stade. For Parker, although his family-run operation had been pressured all season long, there was never any doubt his familiar No. 8 would stand tall at season’s end as the first champion under Sauble’s new regime headed by longtime racer Paul Gresel and lauded track promoter Mark Dilley.
“We really wanted this one,” explains Parker in reference to his team’s 2017 title. “I think everybody knew how badly we wanted it. I had sold off all of my Limited [Late Model] stuff this winter. Our team was finished with weekly racing until Paul [Gresel] and Mark [Dilley] made their move to buy the speedway.”
“Those two really pushed their chips towards the centre of the table to support the speedway and keep it going,” adds the Port Elgin, ON veteran. “As soon as they did that, I knew that our team had to do our part too. So, we stated putting something together to make sure we could come back and race for another championship.”
On the topic of what’s next for his operation, Parker admits it’s too early to tell what their 2018 season will include, but he makes it clear his Ltd. Late Model program will always have a home at Sauble.
“It’s a huge honour for us to represent Sauble as champions again,” says the fan favourite with pride. “It’s way too early to take a guess at where we’ll be next year or what our schedule will be like. But, if we have a Limited Late Model program, you can rest assured we’ll be at Sauble.”