BUSCH: Pikes Peak Hank Parker Jr. Preview

PARKER BEARS DOWN IN ROOKIE OF THE YEAR BATTLE FOUNTAIN, CO (July 21)- As the Summer sun bears down on the NASCAR Busch Series tour, one driver is bearing down on the competition in the chase for the "rookie of the year" title. Hank Parker...

PARKER BEARS DOWN IN ROOKIE OF THE YEAR BATTLE

FOUNTAIN, CO (July 21)- As the Summer sun bears down on the NASCAR Busch Series tour, one driver is bearing down on the competition in the chase for the "rookie of the year" title.

Hank Parker Jr., driver of the No. 53 B.A.S.S. Chevrolet, moved past Adam Petty to take over the second spot in the rookie points chase with an 11th-place finish in last Saturday's Myrtle Beach 250 at the Myrtle Beach Speedway.

Parker said of his run, "I couldn't be happier. I think we could have finished a little better, but we had to deal with lapped traffic all night. On one restart, I had at least 10 lapped cars between me and the guy I was racing for position. I'd have loved another top-10, but seeing what happened to Keller in lapped traffic, I'm satisfied with where we ended up."

The 24-year old says that his strong finishes of late have his team breaking out the calculator to determine what they need to overtake rookie points leader Tony Raines.

"We've got it figured that, if I can pick up 18 points a race on Tony, we can catch him for the title," says Parker. "We think that's definitely an achievable goal."

As the highest finishing rookie in the Myrtle Beach race, Parker will also pick up another check for $1,000, no small amount to a team that is running their operation 90 percent out-of-pocket.

"Those checks definitely help," Parker says. "The money goes right back into the race team. I see it as a circular deal. We need some sponsorship to really be competitive. The more money we can win, the better equipment we can buy, which leads to better finishes. The better the finishes, the more exposure we get, which gives us a better chance at getting a sponsor."

Parker and his team head to Pikes Peak International Raceway this weekend, looking to inch a little closer in the title hunt. This Saturday's Pikes Peak 250 will be Parker's first visit to the Colorado facility.

As usual, he plans to use one of his favorite pastimes to study the track before he turns a lap on it.

"I'll be driving at Pikes Peak tonight on my video game," Parker laughs. "I always try to turn some laps on the game before going to any new track. I know some people think it's kind of funny, but it really does give you an idea of what to expect."

And what does Parker say to those who scoff at the idea that his video racing exploits help him on the track?

"They can laugh all they want, I don't mind a bit," he says with a grin. "Just remember, he who laughs last!"

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Series NASCAR XFINITY
Drivers Hank Parker Jr. , Tony Raines