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Grant Parr is Best at Travelers Rest

3/29/2021
Grant Parr is Best at Travelers Rest

TRAVELERS REST, S.C. (March 26) — Grant Parr became the third different winner in three races on the 2021 Thunder Bomber Shootout Series, reaching victory lane Friday night at Travelers Rest Speedway after a thrilling, race-long battle with Blake Bentley at the 3/8-mile facility.

Considered two of the division’s stalwarts, the pair squared off in a tense, tight-fisted duel at the high-banked track, and were never separated by much during the highly-competitive event. They ran side by side and nose to tail for most of the distance, and Parr was rarely able to open much distance on his challenger.

Parr, who started from the pole in a 22-car field after a redraw among the top four qualifiers, consistently held off persistent low-side restart efforts from his front-row mate Bentley, who is one of the touring circuit’s three different winners after claiming the checkered flag in the season opener held Feb. 27 at Carolina Speedway in Gastonia, N.C.

Turning back every effort from Bentley during a race slowed a whopping nine times by caution flags, Parr earned a $1,000 victory over Bentley, while last year’s series champion Benji Knight returned to action on the tour with a plain black car carrying no graphics, and finished third over Timmy Smith and Dwight Smith.

Repeated caution flags slowed the pace of the event, hampering the efforts of Bentley. Despite Bentley’s efforts to overtake the leader on each restart, Parr was able to fend off his challenger, and was helped by the yellow flag-induced interruptions of Bentley’s efforts.

“Cautions were killing me, man,” Bentley said. “He knew I was there, and we had a good car. He washed out on the first lap and got into me a little bit, but there was mud down there and that stuff happens. I gave it all I had to pass him tonight, but every time I got the momentum and a rhythm going, another caution would come out.”

One instance in particular was frozen in Bentley’s mind. He took a clear lead from Parr on the race’s fifth restart during the middle stages of the event, but another caution appeared before the lap was completed, and series officials declared Parr as the leader on the subsequent restart.

“I figured they were using the split-scoring procedures, so I was hoping that lap would count,” Bentley said. “We rolled around the track, and the voice came over the Raceiver to tell us that he [Parr] was still the leader because he’d led the last-completed lap. I had him there on that restart, but I guess it didn’t count because we didn’t finish the full lap.”

Bentley closely trailed Parr almost the entire distance, giving a solid crowd an entertaining main event to watch, and it capped off a weekly racing program that featured several close finishes in all divisions.

“It was a long race with all those cautions tonight, for sure,” Parr said. “There’s a little more pressure on me as the leader with all those restarts, but to beat a really good driver like him makes it feel a lot more like a true accomplishment. Him and I—we’ve run first and second a couple times—and last year one time I blew a motor running second to him.

“I could definitely see him out there running below me on the racetrack, but I knew I couldn’t give him the line he wanted. There was a little cushion out there on the top with all the rain that fell here overnight, and I could catch it sometimes and get a little boost to stay ahead of him. I definitely respect him for the way he raced me clean out there. Overall it was fun, and definitely an action-packed race.”

Bentley said his own car’s handling characteristics caused him to run lower on the racetrack, and basically that was his only strategic choice.

“I just couldn’t run the top at all,” Bentley said. “Even if I’d gotten the lead at the start, I’d have still been scrounging around on the bottom looking for traction. No matter how it turned out, we had a really good race out there.”

Parr’s machine was sponsored by Parr 3 Automotive, Parr’s Quality Car Wash, Keith Pearson Racing, PAR Racing Engines, M&M Upstate Drywall Co., Upstate Body Shop & Towing, Race Tech Performance Engines, Carolina Driveline, Interstate Wrecker Service, Complete Turbo Service, Mechanical Edge, Inc., Little Caesars and Advance Auto Parts.

Mattison Hoots, Juston Truitt, Luke Doggett and several others were among the top competitors at various stages of the race, but mechanical failures and involvement in various incidents cost them all.

The next event on the touring circuit’s 12-event schedule is Sat., April 17, at Laurens County (S.C.) Speedway. It will be the fourth event of the season.

Thunder Bomber Shootout #3: 1. Grant Parr, 2. Blake Bentley, 3. Benji Knight, 4. Timmy Smith, 5. Dwight Smith, 6. Preston Dimsdale, 7. Brandon Satterfield, 8. Juston Truitt, 9. Bailey Hipp, 10. Justin Barber, 11. Danny Edmonds, 12. Mattison Hoots, 13. Jonathan Hinson, 14. Kyle Guice, 15. Tyler Guice, 16. Danny Hurly, 17. Jason Edmonds, 18. Dylan Montgomery, 19. Shane McDaniels, 20. Hayden Adkins, 21. Seth McBrayer, 22. Luke Doggett.

Thunder Bomber Shootout Series (current points): 1. Mattison Hoots, 136; 2. Jonathan Hinson, 135; 3. Luke Doggett, 118; 4. Preston Dimsdale, 109; 5. Dylan Montgomery, 108; 6. Blake Bentley, 99; 7. Hank Taylor, 97; 8. Grant Parr, 82; 9. Juston Truitt, 78; 10. Hayden Adkins, 73.

Article Credit: Brian McLeod
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