IndyCar dream still alive for Red Deer driver

A Red Deer racer’s goal to compete in one of the world’s biggest open wheel series will continue on, for now.

In March, Parker Thompson joined Abel Motorsports in the Indy Pro 2000 series, the middle rung of the Road to Indy ladder.

Thompson would win the first two races of the season at the Grand Prix of St. Petersburg, but with a lack of sponsorship funding, he spent the past two months raising money to keep his ride running.

The 21 year old acquired funding from across Alberta, Canada…and even England.

“It wasn’t even like they wanted (a sponsor) on the side of the car. It was just a guy who was following my career, I’ve stayed in touch with him over the years, and he decided to come forward”, Thompson said.

Parker was able to get enough cash to keep his ride for the month of May, guaranteeing him three races in Indianapolis, known as the “Racing Capital of the World”.

Red Deer's Parker Thompson (8), leads a couple of drivers during the Indianapolis Grand Prix.

Red Deer's Parker Thompson (8), leads a couple of drivers during the Indianapolis Grand Prix.

Parker Thompson Racing

Last weekend, Thompson recovered from disappointing qualifying performances at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway road course to finish fifth in two straight races. However, he fell to second place in the championship standings.

In the Indy Pro 2000 series, there is a significant difference between winning the championship and finishing second. First place receives more than $750,000 to advance to the final step of the ladder before IndyCar, the Indy Lights series. Second place, meanwhile, receives no funding.

Opportunities in other series

While he was waiting for sponsors to come forward for his open wheel career, Thompson was offered a ride in sports cars, in the Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge USA. It was the first time he raced a car with a roof over his head, and in just his second race weekend, Parker would win his first sports car race.

Red Deer's Parker Thompson (middle) celebrates after winning Race 3 of the Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge USA at Mid-Ohio. The victory was Thompson's first in a sports car.

Red Deer's Parker Thompson (middle) celebrates after winning Race 3 of the Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge USA at Mid-Ohio. The victory was Thompson's first in a sports car.

Parker Thompson Racing

He now has a ride in the Canadian version of the series, but the focus remains on getting to IndyCar.

“I’ve always said, I’ll drive anything with four wheels and a motor,” Thompson said.

“If I can take advantage of (these opportunities), hopefully I can prove to a team owner I’m not just an IndyCar driver, I’m an all-around driver.”

Thompson will be racing in next weekend’s Indy Pro 2000 race at the Lucas Oil Raceway, the day before some of the world’s best open wheel racers compete at the Indianapolis 500.

While it’s exciting for Thompson to be racing in one of the world’s premiere racing cities this month, he’s still focused on getting the funding to keep racing this season.

“Every next track is the most important track.”

© 2019 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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