From Retirement To Celebration: Ray Parent Wins Late Model Title At Thompson

Ray Parent celebrates the 2017 Late Model championship Friday at the Sunoco World Series of Speedway Racing at Thompson Speedway

THOMPSON – At the conclusion of the 2016 racing season Ray Parent made a tough decision.

After more than 25 years in competition locally, the Tiverton, R.I. driver decided it was time to hang up the helmet.

And then team owner Don Parsons talked him out of it.

Friday that decision to come back and compete in the Late Model division this season at Thompson paid off hugely for Parent and Parsons.

Parent captured his first career Late Model division title Friday at the World Series of Speedway Racing at Thompson Speedway.

The 43-year old Parent used a ninth place finish in the 25-lap Late Model feature to secure his first title at the track.

“It’s my first NASCAR championship,” Parent said. “I’ve won a lot of big races and a lot of races. But it’s been a long time since I ran for points. To be a NASCAR champion for the first time, and here at Thompson, it’s pretty surreal. I grew up coming up here. I’m at a loss for words.”

Said Parsons: “It’s huge. We put a lot into this this year. I told Ray from the beginning ‘We’re going to win the championship.’ We set our plan early and we accomplished it today. … It feels awesome.”

Parent won two of the first three events this year to set the tone for his championship run.

“They’ve done such a great job with this place,” Parent said. “Our goal has always been to be professional and bring sponsors to the table. It’s hard to do that a certain venues. But the seven races that are here, it’s just a great venue. You come here, every race is just ‘Wow, this is the real thing.’ That’s impressive to me.

“From last year to being almost done, for Don Parsons to put this together and come here and win a championship, it’s incredible.”

Parent started 14th in the field and tiptoed through a number of ugly battles in front of him before settling in. He needed to finish 12th or better to secure the championship.

“I felt bad racing like that,” Parent said. “That’s unlike me to ride around in ninth and leave that much distance between the car in front of me and the car behind me. That was not easy to do. But I knew what I had to do.”

Matt Lowinski-Loh of Milford, Mass. won the feature with Walt Sutcliffe of East Haven finishing second. William Wall of Shrewsbury, Mass., Parent’s competition for the championship, was third.

For Parent and Parsons, even with the championship secure, goals still remain for 2017. The sported the Make A Wish organization on their car for the second half of the season. The group is trying to raise funds to make grant two separate wishes for children. Those looking to help them reach their goal can visit a special Make A Wish website for the race team.

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  1. Congrats to Ray And Don Parsons Anytime Realty late model team !!!!!

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