NORTHFIELD, Vt. — Mike Parks doesn’t just race in the Granite State Pro Stock Series. For him, racing isn’t just a hobby, it’s a way of life.
Parks drives the No. 66 Black Rock Steakhouse Chevrolet in a series he created, but he takes his love for the sport much further than that. When he is not behind the wheel, Parks can be seen helping Mike Bruno on a Friday at Vermont’s Devils Bowl Speedway, race directing at Monadnock (N.H.) Speedway on Saturdays, or when needed, being a crew member for fellow racers. Sometimes he will just grab a seat in the stands when nothing else is going on.
“I’m still a fan first and foremost,” Parks said. “My friend Nathan Kelly and I attended between 70-80 races one year. I have a unique devotion to the sport.”
The 51-year-old racer got his start in racing by working on cars in his junior year of high school. Parks built a street stock in the mid-1980s, but put his racing career on hold while his son was growing up. He and Kelly built a super street in the mid-’90s, and finally jumped into the pro-stock ranks at the turn of the millennium.
Parks has worked with dirt track star Brett Hearn since 2001 and has learned a lot from the man who has 76 championships under his belt. “Brett is as good as they come,” Parks said. “He has shown me the mindset and patience for long distance races. He’s a great person to learn from.”
Parks sees youth racing from a different perspective. As much as Parks loves the sport, his advice to youngsters is conservative. “Follow your dreams, but don’t rush,” Parks explained. “Play the hand you are dealt and keep it in perspective. Don’t let your childhood go away; you have your whole life to race.”
Parks’ search for a championship starts at Thompson (Conn.) Speedway Motorsports Park April 5-6.
Park’s goal is to win races. “We gave one away at Monadnock last year,” Parks said. “Our goal is to win races. We aren’t going to race for points, we are going to race for wins.”