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McDonald Brothers Aim to Stay Among Sportsmen Elite; Mods, Outlaws, Crown Stocks also in Action
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5/8/2024

5/8/2024

Five Flags Speedway


McDonald Brothers Aim to Stay Among Sportsmen Elite; Mods, Outlaws, Crown Stocks also in Action

By Chuck Corder
5flagsspeedway.com reporter

Parker McDonald has a big Friday ahead of him this week.
In the afternoon, the 17-year-old will receive his diploma during Theodore (Ala.) High School’s commencement ceremonies. After he flips the tassel and tosses the hat, Parker will book it to Five Flags Speedway for Friday night racing where he looks to remain in the hunt for The Dock on Pensacola Beach Sportsmen points championship.

“That’s what I’m shoot for,” Parker said. “I know my mom will be happy. She’s been stressed out, making sure I’m walking across that stage and not focused so much on racing.”
Parker has certainly passed several big tests at Five Flags tough three Sportsmen features. He recorded his first career win last month and hasn’t finished outside the top-five. Parker sits second in the season standings, trailing James Patrick by 10 points. In third, four points behind Parker is his older brother. Daryl McDonald III, who trails Patrick by 14, finished runner-up on that monumental night that Parker brought home the checkered flag.

The McDonald brothers look to continue their momentum Friday night in another 25-lap Sportsmen feature. The Modifieds of Mayhem (50 laps), Faith Chapel Outlaws (35) and Story & Bleich Roofing Crown Stocks (20) all join the Sportsmen for edge-of-your-seat action.
Gates open at 5 p.m. Friday with opening ceremonies slated for 7:45. Admission is $15 (adults), $12 (seniors, military, students), $5 (children ages 6-11) and free for kids.

Both brothers acknowledged their share of growing pains but understand now what makes winning Sportsmen cars is the work you put into them during the week.
“It was a big jump,” the 22-year-old McDonald said. “It’s a big hill to climb to be able to run with the big guys. It can make you feel small when you’re struggling.
“We’re getting there, though. We put a lotta work in these cars. I’ve got mine tore down, redoing everything. Parker’s is, too. I do believe this year is gonna continue to be good for us.”

The boys grew up just miles from Mobile International Speedway, sounds of screeching rubber and crunching metal were the soundtrack of their youth. Every Saturday night, the family would pile in the car, head over to MIS and catch the races. Both D3 and Parker were mesmerized by the spectacle, their eyes darting with the cars through each turn before finally landing on their favorite for the night.
“You always had the one car you were pulling for. Always,” Parker stressed. “Even Dad got in on the action.”
D3 was all-in after getting an up-close experience as a youngster. He scored a ride-along in former driver Tommie Blocker’s car one night at MIS and couldn’t wait to hop in.
“They wanted me to sit in the back,” D3 said. “I said, ‘No, I want to be in the passenger’s seat.’ ”

These days, the McDonalds are synonymous with the close-knit racing community along the Gulf Coast. Working at the family business, McDonald Muffler, allows the boys to turn wrenches all day for customers and at night for themselves and a few friends.
They credit their father, Daryl McDonald II, with being the force and inspiration for pursuing their passion.
“He’s the reason we get to do everything,” Parker said.
The racing shop, which sits not far from the family home, hosts the likes of Patrick, Mason Johnston, Dylan Courtney and other local division drivers in the Mobile area.

Parker makes the most of those opportunities.
“They’ve raced way longer than I have,” said the teenager, wise well beyond his years. “I try and get some information from them.”
Both brothers know the recipe for their individual success this season and what needs to happen for a shot at a Sportsmen track championship come September.

“The longevity is not always there for me right now,” D3 said. “I’m fast in practice, fast in qualifying and when the race starts. But the car is not holding up. That’s what I’m trying to figure out.”
After tasting victory on April 5, Parker is hungry for more wins.
“We’re definitely trophy hunting,” he said. “and we’ll see if we can get some more wins to stay in the top-three.”

One wonders what would happen tonight if the brothers were running 1-2 coming out of Turn No. 4 on the 25th and final lap.
“I wouldn't move him,” D3 said. “I’d just race him hard.”
Parker answered: “I’m happy with finishing second behind him because I know we both have fast cars and I’m happy with that.”
One continues to wonder if it was the same scenario, but a Sportsmen Snowball Derby was at stake.
“It would both be our first Derby wins in a Sportsman car,” Parker said. “I would move him if it didn’t put him at risk of finishing out of the top-three.”
D3: “I would rattle his cage a bit.”


Article Credit: Chuck Corder

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