PORT ELGIN, ON – Unquestionably one of the most successful Limited Late Model racers of his generation, Jason Parker’s foray into Pro Late Model competition had brought the blue-collar favourite considerable success through the first two seasons of the upstart APC United Late Model Series in 2015 and 2016.
However, fast forward to his 2017 campaign, and it’s evident Parker has not enjoyed similar good fortune.
A string of mechanical issues have kept Parker from finishing within the top-10 in any of the opening 4 rounds of the schedule, and after having entered the season as a favourite to contend for the series championship, Parker presently sits 13th in the mid-season points standings.
“We’ve had enough of the bad luck this season – I don’t mind telling you that,” smiles Parker as he sits in his team’s Port Elgin, ON race shop. “I’ve been around long enough to understand that there are going to be nights like the ones we’ve had. There’s no escaping it”.
“Everyone that comes into this deal knows that. You’re going to have nights where you’re the hero and you’re going to have nights that make you question if you even want to do this anymore. There’s no sense in being mad about that”.
However, despite Parker’s worldly and measured view on his frustrating first half of the season, he leaves little to the imagination on the topic of what it’s like to have a good night turn bad.
“When you roll off the trailer with a fast car that you know can be a factor – and then DNF in the feature – you come away feeling like you’ve been punched in the stomach,” insists the multi-time Sauble Speedway champion.
“It’s just a frustrating feeling. We’ll do just about anything to try and avoid that from happening on Saturday”.
“If I can scratch and claw this car into the top-5 I think I’ll walk out as the happiest guy on the property,” adds ‘The New Age Punisher’ with a laugh.
When asked his thoughts on Flamboro’s demanding – and at times unforgiving – bullring, the former Oktoberfest winner notes that he hopes to draw on past experiences to guarantee present success.
“Flamboro has a pretty well-deserved reputation for being one of the toughest places the tour goes to all season,” says Parker. “We’ve had success there in the past so we’re heading in feeling pretty confident”.
“Patience is so important there,” adds the veteran. “If you get too ahead of yourself and start making stupid decisions, you’ll be sending your stuff home in a box”.
“We have a good baseline setup. Hopefully we can make some tweaks and adjustments all day that can really bring the car alive for those last 30-laps”.
Photo credit to Jim Clarke