Norwich driver Daniel Parker looking to continue world domination
- Credit: Archant
East Anglia is regarded as the UK's hotbed of short oval racing – no other area has such a concentration of tracks or drivers.
This Saturday (5pm) Daniel Parker will be hoping to keep Norwich at the centre of this domination when he defends the 2L Stock Car world title at King's Lynn.
If he manages to do that the title will remain with a Norwich-based driver for the fourth consecutive season.
The 2L Stock Car World Championship is the biggest event in the sport and Saturday will be its 37th running, having started in Kaldenkirchen in Germany in 1982, with home driver Detlev Kalstein taking the crown, but only after he just managed to hold off East Anglia's Keith Jarman.
Norwich drivers have had a stunning run over the past three years, with Simon Welton winning at Mildenhall in 2015 and Skegness in 2016 before Parker pulled off the unthinkable at Cowdenbeath in Scotland last year when he beat the Scots on their own turf.
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Now, on his home track, can he do the same as Welton and become only the fourth driver in the sport's history to successfully defend the title?
Parker is one of the sport's youngest world champions – aged just 23 he is a third generation racer and when he won the title at Cowdenbeath was immediately joined on the track by his father and uncle who were both star grade drivers in the sport.
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'I hope it was a proud moment for them, as much as it was for me,' said Parker, who had previously won the English Championship in 2013 aged just 18.
'The amount of times I've looked at the trophy and seen the names on there – you just think, 'I've now been added to all of those names, and that's always going to be on there'. Hopefully future winners will look at it and think of you the same. To be on there, you're just speechless about it, because it's just such a great achievement.
'And as a third generation racer, from my granddad to my dad and my uncle, to then me having a go, if my grandad was still around, I'd hope he be proud about it. I hope he's up there and he knows that I've done it. It's a proud moment for our family that we've done it.
'When I won the English I was fairly new to it and I wouldn't have said I earned it as much. A lot happened on the night to help me win that championship. You've still got to be quick, but winning that so early on, I wouldn't have said I earned that championship as much as I did the world. We put a lot more effort in and had more understanding of the car for the world championship.'
Looking ahead to the world final he added: 'You've just got to take it like a normal domestic meeting.
'I would say there are nerves; you always get the butterfly feeling as you're going around. Once the adrenaline kicks in, that changes the game for you, even when you're sitting there before a race. You might have a bit of nerves but as soon as you start, that goes and you have to just concentrate on what you're doing. If not, you mess up a corner and you can lose it just like that.
'It is going to be a tough race, and for the crowd I think it's going to be a very good race to watch. I don't think you can write off anyone on the grid.
'Last year, I was said to be a shale racer and in myself I would have thought other people had a better chance than me, but as the race fell, that's how it went, and that can easily happen for anyone on the grid. Damage can happen, and racing incidents can happen, and if you fall through the gap and you've got a good bit of speed and knowledge about you, then you can do well. The Zetec engines have levelled everyone up.
'There are so many drivers who have had good results at King's Lynn. Anyone on that grid could have the set-up on the night or the luck, and it could be their race. But it's definitely going to be a good race to be competing in and even better to watch.'
It will be the fifth time the short oval racing's big event has taken place at King's Lynn. With the only two shale circuits used regularly by Saloon Stock Cars – King's Lynn and Mildenhall – being located in East Anglia, local drivers always have an advantage on the loose.
This does not deter travelling drivers, though, with an incredible entry of more than 70 2L Stock Cars booked in to race, including drivers from throughout England, Scotland, Northern Ireland and mainland Europe.
Racing also takes place at King's Lynn on Sunday (1pm) when the 2L Stock Cars are back in action along with the 1300 Stock Cars and both formulas will be contesting the Steve Newman Memorial with National Banger action in the shape of a Pre-1990 2L rear wheel drive meeting.