Thompson’s teammate at Cape Motorsports with Wayne Taylor Racing and his primary championship competition won the race, which was a huge hit to the young Canadian’s title aspirations. Parker fought back in the second two races with a pair of runner-up finishes, and he will now head to the season finale in California in early September with a 21-point deficit. The battle is on for the title and Parker is focused on coming home with the crown.
“Mid-Ohio was one of the hardest racing weeks I've had in my career,” Thompson admitted. “At the end of the day, racing is one of the most difficult sports in the world because of the fact that some things are out of the teams’ and drivers’ control. I came into Mid-Ohio with a 20-point lead, and I leave Mid-Ohio with a 21-point deficit after a flat tire in Race 1 and two second place finishes. You can be guaranteed, however, that I'll be coming out swinging at the USF2000 Championship Finale in September! I know first hand how fast 20 points can disappear on you. Now I just need some lady luck on my side!"
Thompson was quick out of the trailer during Thursday’s test day at Mid-Ohio (July 28), as he and the team worked to develop a fast set-up for his #2 Weyburn Energy Van Diemen. Parker turned in a strong run in qualifying on Friday morning, laying down the second fastest lap of the session to secure an outside front row starting spot for all three races of the weekend’s tripleheader.
In the opening race on Friday afternoon, Parker got a strong start and slotted in behind his teammate Anthony Martin to sit second, beginning what he expected to be a race-long battle for the win. However, midway through the 30-minute timed race, Thompson felt the handling on his car go quickly awry, the result of track debris puncturing his right front Cooper tire. Thankfully, Parker used his tremendous skill to keep the car on-track, although he was forced to limp back to pit lane to replace the damaged Cooper tire. The Cape Motorsports team changed the tire as quickly as possible, but Parker lost a lap in the pits and returned to finish 17th. The level of competition in the USF2000 is incredibly high, and a result such as this was extremely damaging to his position in the points. Parker has been the model of consistency all year, and this fluke damage has put him in a tough spot heading the season finale.
The second two events of the weekend saw Parker challenge his teammate for the race wins, but they were so evenly matched that Thompson was not able to get close enough to seriously challenge with an overtaking attempt. Wisely, the Canadian did not risk a low-percentage move and posted a pair of second place finishes. This will now put the spotlight on the USF2000 season finale on September 9-11.
Ahead of that important weekend, Parker will get a five-week break before heading to Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca in Monterey, California, the spiritual home of Mazda, for the last race on the schedule for the Cooper Tires USF2000 Championship Powered by Mazda. The race is a doubleheader and with the current point standings as they are, Parker will have a laser-focus on scoring every point possible to win the series championship.
Parker is thankful for the opportunities provided to him by his valued partners, including Weyburn Energy, Uber, Sylvan Lake RV, Bell Helmets, OMP Racing, Lapizta Watches, Openhwy, Mazda and Cooper Tires.
PARKER THOMPSON – SOCIAL MEDIA ACCOUNTS:
About Parker Thompson:
Parker was born and raised in Red Deer, Alberta and got behind the wheel of his first kart at the age of eight. He went from being a weekend warrior rolling a kart and toolbox in the back of a family half-ton in Calgary, to a championship-winning fixture in many of the world’s top karting events. In 2012, Parker was the first ever North American to make it to the podium in the Junior Rotax category at the Rotax Max Challenge Grand Finals in Portimao, Portugal where he was awarded the third ranking in the world. At the age of 14, Thompson went on to live in Italy, leaving family and friends behind to race in Europe full-time with the Energy Corse Factory team. This move helped accelerate his dream of becoming a professional racecar driver. He had a record-breaking season for a Canadian, producing results yet to be seen by a North American competing at the world stage in Europe. Currently, the accomplished 18-year-old looks to make it one step closer to his dream of a professional racecar driver and make the jump to racing formula cars. After finishing fifth overall in the Cooper Tires USF2000 Championship Powered by Mazda last year, for 2016, Thompson has signed a deal with championship-winning Cape Motorsports with Wayne Taylor Racing.