Friday, September 1, 2023

1975 – ‘Mickey’ Wins Again

Ralph Parkinson Jr. 

Lincoln, Neb. (September 1, 1975) - For a guy with a cartoon character for his mascot, Ralph Parkinson, Jr., takes his auto racing pretty seriously.

Parkinson, who became a member of the Phoenix, Arizona, Mickey Mouse Racing Team a couple of years ago and then adopted Mickey for his mascot, captured his second main event in three days of spring car racing at the Nebraska State Fair on Monday.

He won Monday's race by starting on the front row outside, acing out pole sitter Roger Rager for the early lead and then holding off the challenge of IMCA point leader Bill Utz for the checkered flag.

“Roger (Rager) is a friend of mine in a very good racer,” said Parkinson. “I was very fortunate to get by him because it's a real disadvantage to start on the outside.”

“But when you're racing you got to take care of yourself,” he added. “When you're racing…. That's where the money and the points are. Roger’s ahead of me in the points and that's worth money, too.”

Parkinson's serious about Mickey Mouse, also. He's got a figure of Mickey on the top of his roll cage and shirts embossed with Mickey’s portrait.

“It's something to identify me by. It's like Columbo's trench coat, “said Parkinson. “I especially liked it because it helps the kids identify with me. And I like little kids really well.”

Parkinson have big challenge from his father, Ralph Parkinson Sr., in the early going until the senior Parkinson's steering malfunction and forced them out of the race.

“I was set up to run low,” Parkinson Jr. said. “If somebody pass me up high there wasn't anything I can do about it. I just hoped I could get enough lead to hold them off.”

Utz tried just about everything in his bid to get around Parkinson Jr. Like Parkinson Sr., he tried running high until the track dried out and just before we start late in the race brought on by a five-car pile up, Utz change tires, even putting his left rear tire in the lake in the infield to cool off.

The latter move by Utz seemed to help, for on the restart he gained ground on Parkinson, but not enough to pass him.

“I'm really happy to win,” said the Kansas City driver. “I don't when very many races and winning twice here - it's a real thrill.”

Results –

Time trials – Bill Utz, Sedalia, Mo. (24.91)
Heat #1 – Jan Opperman, Noxon, Mont.
Heat #2 – Dean Ward, Grand Island
Heat #3 – Dick Forbrook, Morgan, Minn.
Match – Bill Utz
Consolation – Ralph Parkinson Sr., Kansas City
Feature –
1. Ralph Parkinson Jr., Kansas City
2. Bill Utz
3. Eddie Leavitt, Kearney, Mo.
4. Jan Opperman
5. Dean Ward
6. Roger Rager, Mound, Minn.
7. Dick Forbrook
8. Daryl Dawley, Sioux Falls, S.D.
9. Rich Montgomery, Denver, Colo.
10.Sonny Smyser, Glenwood, Mo.

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