Dan Parker didn’t quite produce the numbers he wanted in his first time driving a racecar in almost nine years.
But it’s a start.
Parker, who was blinded by a crash in his Pro Mod car at Alabama Dragway, made two runs at Spaceport America in New Mexico over the weekend. The East Coast Timing Association sanctioned the event, and Parker’s second pass — livestreamed by motorsportsmaniatv.com and competitionplus.com — produced a speed of 153.8 mph.
That makes him the fastest blind man to wheel a racecar without any human assistance, the Columbus, Georgia, driver said. His goal was to make at least four passes in pursuit of hitting at least 201 mph.
The record-setting run, made in a modified 2008 C6 Corvette, came Sunday with ECTA owner/president Steve Strupp riding in the passenger seat. The pass also came despite a 15-mph crosswind, Parker said.
Parker’s car was limited to one pass Saturday — at 120 mph, per the livestream’s feed — due to off-course excursions by other racers that held up the program. Strupp was along for the ride on that one, too.
Parker was able to drive the car relying solely on a guidance system built by Patrick Johnson. The system gave him audible instructions on how much, and by how much, to correct to keep the car on its targeted course.
The next ECTA event is April 26-28 in Blytheville, Ark. Parker said he wasn’t sure if the team will make more attempts with the car at that event, citing the need to test before his next outing but needing the sponsorship funds to pay for such practice runs.
A source close to the situation said Parker gave ink pens he made in his shop to the other participants at the invitation-only event in New Mexico. Fans interested in supporting his racing efforts by purchasing his pens can visit theblindmachinist.com. Parker can also be followed by searching for “Tragedy To Triumph Racing” on Facebook.
We continue to be inspired by Dan Parker, the Pro Modified driver who was blinded following a 2012 crash. This weekend at the East Coast Timing Association event, he will attempt to run 200 miles per hour. #DragRacingNews https://t.co/rf2G9gDREV pic.twitter.com/wAEaRYn6K4
— Competition Plus (@competitionplus) February 21, 2020