By John Manzi
MONTICELLO For many years at Monticello Raceway or “The Mighty M,” Billy Parker Jr. was nearly invincible, garnering 14 driving titles.
The last of those championships was back in 2004.
Maybe the 57-year-old reinsmen is looking to again be on top. On the Monday, March 21 card, “Zeke”, as Parker likes to be known as, reined four winners on the 10-race program.
Now for Parker, who has recently had other four-win days and even a five-bagger, winning races is nothing new. It wasn’t too many weeks ago that Zeke would sit-out days when the weather was inclement, arguably because the salt in the racing surface would play havoc on his sensitive eyes.
However, low and behold on the March 21 card the track was a quagmire. It was safe enough for the drivers and horses, even with the rain falling and the racing surface quickly becoming wet and gooey.
Parker not only decided to honor his drives, but in the process visited the winner’s circle enough times to find himself just one victory behind the recent perennial driving leader, Bruce Aldrich Jr., who has 76 wins.
To say that it must have been unpleasant for all the drivers to compete over the muddy racetrack would be an understatement. One just has to look at a photo of Parker winning races to understand the difficulty that the drivers endured while negotiating the 1-mile race distance.
But a question now remains.
Is Parker looking to retake command as top gun at the Mighty M?
That query was posed to Parker after the racing program held a week ago yesterday. As usual, Parker remained aloof and let a wry smile be his answer.
But one has to wonder if that in fact is his goal since he drove on a day when the weather was far more than inclement. There’s no doubt that Zeke, even at 57, has the goods to retake command.
After all, with 10,309 career driving victories he remains ninth on the list of drivers who have won the most races in North America.