latemodelamerica.com - Apr 24 - Canyon Speedway Park
LateModelAmerica.com by Sam Holbrooks

 
 

Parker Keeps Wheels Down For Return To Canyon SWDRA Victory Lane

Ryan Neuharth

PEORIA, Ariz. - April 24. “It’s certainly a lot better than last time” said an excited and somewhat relieved Lonnie Parker, Jr. Saturday at Canyon Speedway Park. After nearly ending up on his lid on the first lap of the season opening main event six weeks ago, the perennial Total Seal SWDRA champion returned to his winning ways, overtaking race long leader Mike Tahtinen on lap 17 of 25 and cruising to his 59th career SWDRA win.

Parker is certainly no stranger to seeing the checker flag first, but the win marked the first time in almost a calendar year that his Parker Concrete, Clark’s Septic Service, C&G Performance, Torco Race Fuels, GRT was in the winner's circle. The previous venture came May 9th, 2009 at USA Raceway in Tucson.

After his heat race win, Parker drew the fifth starting position for the 25-lap main event and quickly started making his way to the front. As Tathinen lead from the pole Parker was up to third just four laps in when the first of five cautions appeared for teammate Brad Whitfield and Tommy Hussek III, as the two made contact in turn two.

On the restart Anthony Madrid and Parker, Jr. battled side by side for the runner-up spot, swapping the position several times between laps four and six when yellow number two appeared for Frank Waschiewicz. Parker took second on the restart, just before Madrid stopped with front suspension failure for caution number three.

The race behind Tathinen and Parker, Jr. was a good one as Cory Hemphill, Joey Moriarty, Ricky Thornton, Jr. and Keith Noyes all wrestled for positions three through six, before the nexyt caution appeared on lap nine as Brad Williams pulled up after making hitting an infield tire barrier The left front damage ended Williams’ night prematurely after gaining eight spots to run sixth at the time of the incident.

Two drivers on the move early where Keith Noyes and Karl Tipton. After slipping back early from the outside pole, Noyes was back up to fifth with 11 complete while Tipton, who had a mechanical gremlin in his heat race, ran ninth after starting dead last in 21st. With Parker continuing to stalk Tathinen up front, Bruce Duckett and John Cornell produced caution number four when the two became entangled.

With a restart at the halfway point, Parker was beginning to apply heavy pressure to Tathinen as the handling on the leader's #24 began to go astray. Parker stole the point on lap 15, but before the lap could be completed, the final yellow of the event blinked on as Waschiewicz again was pointed in the wrong direction. At the same time, Noyes retired from the event, relinquishing his top-five position.

The caution negated Parker's pass for the lead, but it was just a matter of time before the #8 car would be back out front.

“I knew that if I stayed low and bided my time I would eventually slide by,” said Parker. “Mike’s car was moving off the bottom and I just waited for an opening and took advantage.” That opening came on lap 17 and Parker pounced quickly before distancing himself from the rest of the pack.

Hemphill and Moriarty both took advantage of more Tathinen misfortune in lapped traffic as the early leader bounced off a couple of slower cars and slipped back to fourth. Up front, no one had anything for Parker, as he not only broke the long winless drought, but also unofficially catapulted six spots in the points from eighth to second, just four points behind leader Ricky Thornton, Jr.

Finish - Canyon RP SWDRA

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