Winston-Salem’s Slade Parsons has dream weekend at World Short Track Championships in Charlotte
Concord, NC- (October 29, 2018) Two years ago 18-year old Slade Parsons won the biggest race of his rising career at the inaugural World Short Track Championships at the Dirt Track at Charlotte Motor Speedway in the crate modified class…a class designed for drivers with not as much experience as the more regional and national class known as the UMP modifieds. Last season he finished 4th in the same crate modified event and when the 2018 season rolled around Slade and his Dad Tony thought it was the right time to make the move up to the UMP modifieds.
In February Parsons, now a senior at RJ Reynolds high school was introduced to a driver named Kyle Strickler through Slade’s marketing director, Rolfe Schnur. Strickler is the winningest UMP modified driver in the country over the last few years…and a partnership was developed where Parsons would become a teammate of the driver who is known nationwide as “The High Side Tickler” for his love of racing near the fence at the top of the race track.
This season has been a true learning experience for Parsons racing at the famed Eldora Speedway in his third race ever in the 850 horsepower machines…and when you add in two Top 5’s Slade has shown that he has the ability to handle one of these open wheeled machines.
“It’s been a really cool deal,” said Parsons. “Kyle has helped me so much this season and when we became teammates he knew the one race that meant the most to me…the World Short Track Championships.”
Friday’s entire schedule was rained out moving everything back one day and Parsons knew that the key to a great weekend was to qualify well. With over 50 UMP racecars in attendance the field was divided into three qualifying groups with Slade first to go out in Group A. With tremendous pressure Slade guided his No. 96 Longhorn Chassis machine around the track…lap one Parsons turned a 17.761 time, a time that would best the 17 other cars in Group A…and the 4th fastest time overall in all three groups.
“Rolfe told me that I was number one in my group and 4th overall, “stated Parsons. “I actually thought he was kidding…I can’t thank Kyle for his mentoring and my crew chief Alec…and my Dad and buddy Mason.”
Parsons lined up on the pole for his eight-lap heat race and the track was slick going into turned one and that cost him the top spot. After that first corner Parsons drove a flawless race finishing second and giving him the 7th starting spot for the 30-lap Sunday main event.
On Sunday Parsons drove a steady race with a rash of yellow flags…and some very aggressive driving that had the Winston-Salem native on his toes the entire race. After getting bumped back to tenth with less than ten laps to go Parsons charged back to seventh with the 3rd through 6th cars right in front of him when Dave Farney waved the checkered flag.
“I am so happy,” beamed Parsons. “Having a fast car is not always going to get you a great finish. Everyone was being really aggressive so half the time you were just racing to not get wrecked. My car was awesome and being able to finish as well against this competition is unbelievable. We showed that we can race with the best and if we had five more laps we would have finished on the podium.”
Slade Parsons was unofficially the top rookie of the race at the World Short Track Championships.