Canyon Speedway Park
Parker sweeps Canyon, tallies 50th series victory
By M.J. AndersonDirtonDirt.com correspondent
PEORIA, Ariz. (May 24-25) — Lonnie Parker Jr. of El Mirage, Ariz., swept the KDG Memorial at Canyon Speedway Park to reach the 50-victory milestone on the Arizona-based tour that is now called the Southwest DirtCar Late Model Series. Parker edged Mike Tahtinen on the last lap to win Saturday's opener, then fought off Mark Fowler in Sunday's finale in leading all the way. Parker earned $2,000 on the weekend.
In the opener, the third-starting Tahtinen took the lead at the outset with fifth-starting Brad Williams and Joey Moriarty in pursuit. Moriarty moved past Williams to challenge Tahtinen, but he slid off the track in turn three, giving second back to Williams and allowing the seventh-starting Parker to grab third.
Tahtinen stayed in control through the race's middle stages while Parker, after a side-by-side duel, worked his way into the second spot on lap 18. Tahtenin's high groove, however, seemed to be slowing as his pursuers narrowed his lead in the closing laps. On the last lap, Parker drove hard into turns one and two, and he ran door-to-door with Tahtinen on the backstretch as they came upon traffic. Parker edged away to beat Tahtinen to the checkered flag, duplicating a feat from earlier this season.
“That’s the second time he’s done that to me on the last lap," the runner-up said. "I had him, but then when we caught lapped traffic, he was already on the bottom beside me."
In the finale, Parker led all the way while Fowler did his best to challenge from second. California visitor Nick Bartels was third followed by Joey Moriarty and Brad Williams, who started 12th. Tahtinen was running among the leaders early, but he spun out on the fifth lap with Randy Anderson and never moved back into contention.
May 24: (1) Lonnie Parker Jr., (2) Mike Tahtinen, (3) Brad Williams, (4) Mark Fowler, (5) Tommy Hussak III, (6) Jerry Fincher, (7) Joey Moriarty, (8) Dean Moore, (9) Lonnie Parker Sr., (10) Randy Anderson, (11) Randy Carder, (12) Jason Davis, (13) Wayne Noyes, (14) John Romero, (15) Mike Brigner, (16) Andy Rudy, (17) Keith McKinney, (18) Wes Hall. Heat race winners: Tahtinen, Moriarty, Parker Jr.
May 25: (1) Lonnie Parker Jr., (2) Mark Fowler, (3) Nick Bartels, (4) Joey Moriarty, (5) Brad Williams, (6) Dean Moore, (7) Randy Anderson, (8) Jerry Fincher, (9) Tommy Hussak III, (10) Mike Brigner, (11) Mike Tahtinen, (12) Keith McKinney, (13) Lonnie Parker Sr., (14) Wayne Noyes, (15) Jason Davis, (16) John Romero.