CORNELIUS, N.C. – Audio and story by Race Chaser Online Mid-Atlantic Correspondent Marshall Gabell – John Davison photo –
It will be a season of change for Championship Auto Racing Series (CARS) Late Model Stock Tour rookie Stefan Parsons, who will open his season in the X-1R Performance Products 300 at Southern National Motorsports Park this weekend.
Following an impressive tenure in the Summer Shootout for the U.S. Legend Cars, the Cornelius, N.C. native will be making his debut at Southern National in a late model this weekend – a huge milestone for his developing career.
“I am excited for sure,” Parsons explained. “It looks like it is going to be a great event and great series with some amazing competitors. I have never been at Southern National, so I am excited for the challenge of racing at a new racetrack. I cannot wait.”
With the new opportunities in the late model ranks, there will be changes from the Legends and the new stock cars, one being his comprehension of tire management – a theory that varies between the two machines.
“One of the biggest changes for me is how on the Legends car the tires last for a long time,” Parsons said. “In late models, that is the exact opposite. New tires are better and old tires are worse, which is the exact opposite (between the two cars).”
Given the changes and his limited exposure to the late models, Parsons is keeping realistic goals for the opener at Southern National this weekend — simply hoping to turn laps and become more comfortable with the new machine.
“I just wanna finish all the laps,” Parsons expressed about his goals for this weekend. “Just getting some seat time and experience. I feel like we will have a great car. There are no real expectations; I just wanna do the best that I can.”
Despite his goals remaining moderate during the beginning stages of the season, once the season kicks into high gear and Parsons becomes more situated in the new cars, the rookie is looking to gather up some victories and continue to impress.
“It is going to be a learning curve,” Parsons said. “But I still hope to rack up some wins. I just think it is going to be a great experience with the CARS Tour and NASCAR Whelen All-American Series. I am just really excited to get it all kicked off this weekend.”
This season will be a little different, aside from just the new cars, then the past few though.
Parsons’ father Phil Parsons, who is a former competitor in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series and current Sprint Cup Series team owner, will not be able to attend his son’s races due to a conflict between their two schedules.
However, even though their relationship will be distant on race weekends, the developing driver is still looking to utilize what his father has taught him – whether he be with him or without him during the races.
“It is huge to have him (Phil Parsons) supporting me,” the developing racer said. “He has been there for me throughout my entire career since I started back in 2010 when I raced Bandoleros. It is going to be a little bit different this season because all my races are weekends, so he cannot come to any of the races.”
“It is definitely going to be different to not have him there, but I know if I have questions or ever need help then he will be a phone call away. Just the things that he has taught me have just stuck with me – that is really an advantage, I think.”
With the mentoring and support from his father and C.E. Falk, a short track competitor up and down the east coast, Parsons will be visiting multiple venues during the 2015 season as he hopes to continue marketing his name.
“I will race at places like Langley Speedway, South Boston Speedway, Motor Mile Speedway and probably Hickory Motor Speedway,” Parsons said. “We do not have a definitive plan though. We are just going to be going with the flow and see what races come up besides the CARS Tour.”
Parsons’ opening race at Southern National can be seen live on RACEFEEDX’s pay per view coverage starting at 7:00 p.m. Eastern on Saturday evening.
Listen in to an extended cut of Race Chaser Online’s conversation with Stefan Parsons by clicking on the player below: