Parsons turns in another solid season By Shawn A. Akers BEVERLY HILLS, Calif. (Jan. 6, 1999) Phil Parsons can look at the 1998 NASCAR Busch Series Grand National Division season in either one of two ways. Yes, it was a year in which he failed...
Parsons turns in another solid season By Shawn A. Akers
BEVERLY HILLS, Calif. (Jan. 6, 1999) Phil Parsons can look at the 1998 NASCAR Busch Series Grand National Division season in either one of two ways. Yes, it was a year in which he failed to make it to Victory Lane once again. Or, he can say that he had a solid season, and finished in the top-10 in the points for the four straight year. Ever the optimist, Parsons opts for the latter. Not that he isn't disillusioned about not winning a race for the third straight season, but the driver of the No. 10 Dura-Lube Chevrolet refuses to tarnish an otherwise solid campaign that saw him post nine top-10 and five top-five finishes. "You can't be too disappointed about the year we had," said Parsons, who finished sixth in the standings and will make a fourth-consecutive appearance on stage at the series post-season awards banquet this week. "Don't get me wrong, we want to win, and we want to win badly. I don't think there's too many more drivers in this series that want to win more than I do. But we did have some good runs and we came close a couple of times. Maybe next year we'll get over that hump." Parsons' last NASCAR Busch Series victory came at Charlotte Motors Speedway in 1994, when he drove a partial schedule for Bill Papke. After securing primary sponsorship from Dura-Lube as late as January, Parsons began the year with a top-10 finish in the season-opener at Daytona. The next three races, however, were trying for the No. 10 Chevrolet team, as Parsons' car lost an engine twice and was involved in an accident as he finished 40th, 37th and 38th at Rockingham, Las Vegas and Nashville, respectively. After a 13th-place run at Darlington, Parsons went on a mini roll and recorded three top-10 and two top-five finishes in the following four events, including a runner-up finish to Joe Nemechek in the Touchstone Energy 300 at Talladega Superspeedway in late April, a race that was marred by several caution flags. "I don't know how we avoided all the trouble out there today," Parsons said after the race. "We had good spotters because there were two or three times we could have been taken out. We persevered even though we did not have the strongest car and we ended up with an awfully good finish. I knew I could not win the race from fourth or fifth so Joe (Nemechek) and I teamed up the last 20 laps. I also knew he had a strong car. I helped him get to the lead. "After that it was every man for himself. Then Mike (McLaughlin) came up and he was going to try and help me. But we both were flat out on the mat the last few laps. We just could not do anything with him. We could get to him but could not get around him. I tried everything I knew and just could not pull it off even with Mike's help." The middle of the season saw Parsons' team take a roller coaster ride. Another second-place finish, to Matt Kenseth in the inaugural Lycos.com 250 at Pikes Peak International Raceway, kept the team's confidence for victory in 1998 burning. But that would only provide a glimmer of hope for Parsons and the Dura-Lube team, who managed only three more top-10 runs in the final 16 events of the season. Parsons did post another runner-up finish, this time to Kevin Lepage in the Food City 250 at Bristol Motor Speedway in August, but he never led a lap of that event, chasing Dale Jarrett through most of it.
Source: NASCAR Online