Life has always been a drag for Parker
Russ Parker has been drag racing for a long time. The Salem, Ore., resident started out with his family in the 100-yard sand drags. Eventually, like a lot of other racers, including NHRA Top Fuel competitor Gary Scelzi, they moved to the quarter-mile strip.
"We knew if we wanted to go anywhere in drag racing we were going to have to move to the asphalt," explained Parker. "There are quite a few of us ex-sand draggers in NHRA competition."
In 1991, the Parker brothers, Russ and Randy, began running a Super Comp dragster but running on the 8.90 index was not what they had envisioned. According to Parker, their experience in the sand drags was more suited for Federal-Mogul Funny Car competition where it is an all-out run, start to finish.
With their first Federal-Mogul Funny Car, Randy was the driver and Russ the crew chief, but in 1993 Russ earned his own license and has not left the seat since. They tried running a two-car team in 1998 but, as Parker says, it was a handful so they gave it up.
This year, the 36-year-old Parker has been in the top 10 in the Northwest Division points standings, and is currently in third place behind Tacoma, Wash., resident Pat Austin and Dan McGlone of Gladstone, Ore. His goal for the season is to stay in the hunt for the championship.
"This is a tough division for Federal-Mogul Funny Car. With guys like Pat and Bucky Austin and John Hyland running here, there is a lot of competition," said Parker.
In order to reach his goal, Parker intends to run about 14 NHRA national and divisional events. So far, he has scored runner-up points at the Federal-Mogul Drag Racing Series event at Firebird Raceway in Boise, Idaho, and reached the semifinals at the first event at Mission Raceway Park in Mission, B.C.
Parker will be continuing his quest for the title in his Dairy Farmers of Oregon-sponsored car at the Les Schwab Tires Challenge presented by Oregon's 12, a round of the NHRA Federal-Mogul Drag Racing Series, at Woodburn Dragstrip July 7-9.
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