Contributed by: ACT Staff
Parent Returns to New Smyrna World Series of Asphalt Racing
In 2011, Ray Parent from Tiverton, Rhode Island, decided to start his full-time American Canadian Tour (ACT) career at the inaugural event to be held at the New Smyrna Speedway (NSS) during the World Series of Asphalt Racing in February of that year. Parent had raced primarily at the famous D.A. Vendetti “Cement Palace”, Seekonk Speedway, a typical ¼ mile bullring that New England racing is known for.
Parent had been successful racing in what was known as a Pro Stock (Super Late Model) race car for years in the southern New England market. The ACT Late Model program, with its innovative cost-conscience crate motors, sealed Koni shock absorbers, and 8” restricted tire usage program, had booked a winter race at New Smyrna Speedway in Florida during the February race activities in the Daytona Beach area. Parent decided it was time for a change with his Amtrol sponsored race team.
“I knew this was a completely different racing move for me, but I had always had a goal to run somewhere during the traditional February Speedweeks in the Daytona Beach area. I had been to watch racing at the New Smyrna Speedway for many years and thought this might be my opportunity to take my race program in a different direction. I had a great time, but I also found out that there was a huge difference in driving a momentum type Late Model race car versus a higher horsepower Pro Stock or Super Late Model. It was pretty humbling, but it turned out to be one of the best decisions I have made in my racing career,” said Parent.
Ray Parent and his team have become one of the top teams on the ACT in a very short time. Without question, the turning point was the huge win for the team at the New Hampshire Motor Speedway in the Bond Auto ACT Invitational in 2012.
“That was certainly the turning point for our team. We gained confidence from the Invitational effort. It took a couple years of racing on tracks we had never seen, from Quebec to the high banks of Thunder Road, but we focused on being ready to compete at the highest level on ACT, the Invitational in 2012,” concluded Parent.
The seasoned Rhode Island team finished in the top ten during the 2012 and 2013 campaigns, and then in 2014 the team won their first race with a photo finish at Airborne Park Speedway in Plattsburgh, NY. They used that momentum to finish 3rd in the overall ACT Championship title chase in 2014.
“When I heard Ray Parent wanted to go to the first New Smyrna race back in 2011, I remember thinking about reading that he was a good Seekonk racer, but I knew it was in a Pro Stock type car. Both the victories at New Hampshire Motor Speedway and Airborne last year were emotional highlights for ACT and the team. I would guess that this trip to New Smyrna will see the Ray Parent team as serious contenders to win the event,” said Tom Curley, President of the American Canadian Tour.